Friday, September 24, 2010

Embracing age

This is a photo I took of myself in January this year. It's just one of many. The really great thing about having a digital camera is that you can take multiple photos of yourself and immediately trash the ones that you don't like. I liked this one primarily because of the strange little dots that appeared on the image and the small amount of beautiful green hue in the background. I've posted this photo here this morning because I've been thinking about the whole concept of aging and my own attempt to embrace my age by deciding eighteen months ago to stop dying my hair and to just leave it white. I've had a number of comments during the past year, some are outrageously funny, like 'you look hot!', to more conservative and thoughtful remarks like 'you are an elder', or 'are you a senior?' The really good thing about aging, and I know we women are particularly afraid of the whole notion of getting older, because we live in an ageist society in which the young are the flavour of the month and none of us want to be seen as 'past our use-by date', which, by the way is the most horrible comment I've ever heard in relation to a person. Are people only seen as worthy because of their usability or what they can do for us? Getting older is OK. It demands a certain respect, people know that if you have lived this long you must have been doing something right and people listen to what you have to say. Being mature aged means that you can eat what you like whenever you like. In fact, if you feel like cereal at dinner time that's OK too, you've eaten enough healthy dinners in your life to make up for those few times that you simply want to eat a Vegemite sandwich followed by fresh strawberries. You don't worry anymore that you can't wear skinny jeans and you don't give a toss that you feel really sleepy at 10pm because you have nothing to prove by staying up or out late at night; you did all that when you were younger. No, getting older means going to bed when you are tired and getting up when you are good and ready (unless of course you have an early appointment). I can still sprint for the bus though try not to so that one of my knees doesn't buckle under me, but generally I'm fit and don't walk much slower than the average bear (boo boo), and if you are under 25 years old you won't even get what I just said. Mostly though, getting older and embracing your age is an acceptance of who you are and knowing your strengths and weaknesses. It's also about accepting that all your dreams didn't come true, you're not perfect and you couldn't do everything and now you don't even want to. All those crazy youthful fears about whether you are thin and beautiful enough, whether anyone will really love you, whether you will be accepted by people, fly out the window because you have learnt to love yourself, warts and all!

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