”Written byKerryn Hopkinson
No matter what social media tells you, you are allowed to age
You are allowed to age. You don’t have to stay young forever. No matter what social media tells you. No matter what the tabloids say. No matter how many videos you see trying to convince you that you should get baby botox or buccal fat removal or 17 steps in your skincare routine or jade facial rollers. You are allowed to get older. And it is okay if that age is visible within your appearance. Getting older has become extremely demonized – staying young is the goal. Which is understandable to an extent. I mean, no one wants to look 50 when they’re 35 right? But what is so wrong with getting older? And looking your age?
Why is anti-aging the aim? To have the skin of a newborn baby? Why are we obsessed with “aging well”?(AKA: Looking like you haven’t aged a day since your 19th birthday). It’s not like anti-aging is a new thing but now with social media, we’re surrounded by content constantly telling us to stay young and influencers with flawless skin showing us how. And I don’t know if it’s just me but this anti-aging trend reeks of privilege. We’re surrounded by content trying to convince us that we can look young forever ( or at least, an extra few years) as long as we have enough cash to spend. Don’t let them fool you – the media makes youth feel appealing and aging terrifying just so that they can sell more products.
Why the fuck does it feel like I only have my twenties to live and then it’s all over? I’m only nineteen and I already feel the pressure to try stay young.
Everyday I battle content trying to convince me that I only have value when I’m young. My life doesn’t end once I turn 25. The only time that life is worth living isn’t just before my 30th birthday. Why the fuck does it feel like I only have my twenties to live and then it’s all over? I’m only nineteen and I already feel the pressure to try stay young.
This obsession with anti-aging can mean that I often spend too much time staring in the mirror worrying about how I already have down lines. So much time is spent here that I’m worried that I might miss out on the rest of my life. My weight might fluctuate. Laugh lines may begin to appear around the sides of my eyes. My knees may start to get creaky. That’s normal and a part of life! But somehow, we’ve been convinced that it’s not.
Shouldn’t our aim be to stay youthful in spirit instead? A pretty, smooth face is nice but living life like when you were a child may be even nicer. Yes, life will begin to get us down (I mean, we have to pay taxes and the world is crumbling around us) but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have some of the joy and naivety that makes childhood so beautiful.
Maybe instead of focusing on appearing young, we should shift our focus to acting and thinking young. Having no wrinkles is cool, but adventure, curiosity, hope, and optimism are more important. When we were children we didn’t spend hours in front of the mirror staring at our flaws and what we can fix. Hell, when we were children most of us weren’t that aware of our bodies, we were only focused on them when we scraped our knees and stubbed our toes. We were too busy using our bodies to play tag and climb trees and hug our moms.
So many people spend their lives sacrificing time and money to the altar of the youth. Worshipping an ideal of everlasting beauty and life and no matter how much you give, you will not be rewarded for that.
We’re not going to stay young forever, it’s an unfortunate fact of life. And we can’t escape it. I don’t care if you use retinol every day or ensure you do your daily facial massages and drink chlorophyll, you will get older. That really isn’t such a terrible thing, is it? Our lives don’t lose value as we age. I truly believe that our youth has simply been marketed as the best time of our life and then we just wait for the grave. We’ve been told if do enough, we can stay young forever: perfect skin, no wrinkles, a body that moves freely and easily, and a face that never gets saggy. That’s the dream but it’s not going to happen.
It doesn’t matter what you do so why are you stressing about trying to appear young whilst you age? You can’t stay in place whilst life continues to move forward. So many people spend their lives sacrificing time and money to the altar of the youth. Worshipping an ideal of everlasting beauty and life, but no matter how much you give, you will not be rewarded for that. Instead of devoting your life to trying to stay young, appreciate that you have gotten the privilege to get older.
Aging and death are what give value to our lives. Aging isn’t a flaw – we all know people who would have wished they were given the privilege to grow older. Instead of trying to stay in the past, appreciate where you are and where you’re going. I’d like to be de-influenced. I want a social media that doesn’t try to convince me that I need to break my bank account so that I can look like a baby-faced influencer. I would like to be surrounded by media that tells me to be grateful for where I am and reflect on how lucky I am to age and grow.
Instead of TikToks promoting anti-wrinkle creams and baby botox and all the anti-aging trends, I want to see videos showing how beautiful it is that we have lines around our eyes and mouth. That doesn’t mean we’re ugly or old, it means that we’re living lives filled with smiles and laughter and joy. Let us enjoy the lives we’re living. Let us embody the spirit of childhood – focus on what our bodies can do and the beauty of living. When we die, no one will speak about whether or not we have wrinkles or if we aged well. So why should we care?
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