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As a society, it seems we are becoming increasingly obsessed by youth, where aging is virtually regarded as a treatable and indeed preventable illness rather than an inevitable biological process. Age has become the enemy which must be kept at bay at any cost. It is estimated that the market for anti-aging products will be worth around 19.7 Billion USD globally by 2019. Little wonder then that this lucrative industry has a vested interest in brainwashing us to buy into this belief.
‘Fight the 7 signs of aging’
For women and also men, from anti-wrinkle creams to cosmetic surgery, even our shampoo claims to ‘fight the 7 signs of aging’ as if it is a battle that can be won. Praying of fears of aging then, is big business, but what is the truth of the matter? Are there benefits to maturity which are being ignored in order to fuel the belief that we should all worship at the altar of all things youthful? Is ageing really something to be feared?
I recall my father as well a few senior friends of mine in later years feeling incensed by the fact that they were becoming increasingly invisible with each passing year! I wanted to scream from the rooftops and tell him and all youthful counterparts of mine that “ it’s okay, there Is nothing to fear, come on over, it’s a wonderful place to be on the other side” but alas, I have the wisdom now to know that even if I could have told my younger self this, I would not have believed it.
The reality is, that some things can only be known through direct experience, and therefore it is perhaps inevitable that each generation will have to go through the growing pains of aging in order to accept the truth. In spite of this, and being in the midway myself, I do still want to champion some of the benefits of aging and the maturity with which this brings and challenge tide of youth obsessed propaganda which appears to dominate every medium.
Benefits of maturity
YES there are benefits to age! Whilst I have had periods of struggle as I wave goodbye to certain elements of my younger days, I would not wish to repeat those experiences, nor do I envy the people younger than me. But much more that the physical vanity aspects of aging, what I most value are the benefits of experience and wisdom which are only begot with age.
With the benefit of hindsight and reflection, I see that most of my youth was spent always striving, always struggling, always out to prove myself consumed with self-doubt. It was physically and emotionally exhausting! But all that led to where I am now, and has been the journey towards greater wisdom and maturity for sure.
No longer expectations on me
It is such a relief to get to the stage where there is no longer a (perceived or real) expectation on me to achieve anything, because I have already reached a certain point in my career. Though I still feel I have a long way to go but I no longer feel have anything to prove. This realisation was such a relief to me. I am now able to concentrate my energy where it really matters and those self-critical and self-doubting voices which once were so deafening, are now an occasional gentle grumble in the background under the much more accepting and tolerant older and wiser voice which is now firmly in control!