Remember how much more you used to care how you looked to others? We fussed over the littlest things; a hair out a place, a pimple too big or skin not tanned enough. If we didn’t reflect the latest fashion fad by current celebrities we would worry ourselves silly. The need to be noticed when you’re an adolescent and a young adult is perhaps as strong as it ever was. So when do such concerns tend to evaporate?
Even as we get into middle-age we want to maintain a certain physical appeal with our peers. The drive is so compelling researchers have found that we will spend a large percentage of our budget to enhance our appearance through cosmetics, clothes, or diet and exercise programs. And then you age.
One of the many gratifying aspects of age is that our egos and vanity become diminished. Nature has altered our appearance enough to where all the cosmetic products on the market are not going to make enough of an impact to fool anyone. Once we have that settled within our self-consciousness, we begin to feel at ease with who we really are at long last.
We may have pain in joints, thinning hair and excess body fat but we no longer have to be slaves to fashion and cosmetology. I realize that a segment of the geriatric crowd will dispute this and we’ll see them going out kicking and screaming when confronted with this reality. But for those who accept it, there is a peace that only comes when worry no longer clutches at your humanity.
Time is weighing in on us but what time remains can now be used more productively. Instead of spending precious time, energy and money on maintaining the appearance of beauty and youth, we can focus on more meaningful endeavors that will hopefully leave a legacy for us with our children and grandchildren. We are now more free to give of ourselves as much as we can that helps future generations so that they may gain from our experiences; whether it be volunteering to assist with community needs or simply passing on how best to by-pass the foibles and roadblocks that are commonly shared by each generation.
I realize that in today’s modern society, “looks” tip the scales of social acceptance in one’s direction and age is a take-away. How we perceive ourselves however is more important and sustaining than how others do. That was true when we were hormonal adolescents but culture being what it is, especially in this country and most western civilizations, made us blind to such truths at that age. People, I think, are more receptive to genuineness than they are to those who put on airs about themselves.
We may not turn heads as we did when our youth was at full bloom but then our self-esteem is no longer shattered as it was then because we have accepted what time inevitably does to everyone – and that is a relief for many in subtle ways. Now, if only memory will not rob us of this solace our remaining years can be spent enjoying the many things we over-looked in our youth wasted on vanity.