Aging (Dis)gracefully

Posted by Lyle

Over the weekend, I had three different occasions where people were trying to make me feel “old” – now, bear in mind I’m 32, which isn’t old by anyone’s standards (well, except for the little 15-16yr olds who think they know it all anyway) – but the people saying it are a couple of years younger than me. The thing is, I don’t know what it was meant to prove – OK, so I’ve got some grey hairs,, and (according to them) my hair’s thinning. Frankly, so what?

For various reasons, getting older has never held any real terrors for me. Turning 30 was weird, and affected me more than any of the other “special event” birthdays (16, 18, 21, whatever) had. But it still didn’t make me think “I’m getting old” or any of that gubbins – it was more of a stock-taking exercise, looking at what had been done, what there was to show for it, that kind of thing. But those comments have made me think about it all a bit more – and still I keep coming to the same conclusion – “So what?”

Every single one of us is getting older. That’s just the way it is. Maybe we remember how we were in younger days, and mourn the addition of a few pounds, the onset of gravity, the slow failings of the body and joints – but it’s still a natural progression. Getting older happens. Some people fight it off with the joys of cosmetic surgery, anti-aging creams, and every nostrum and potion known to manipulative advertising executives the world of science – but at the end of the day, it’s all a waste, because none of the potions and surgeries are turning back the clock. It’s just another layer of fallacie – hurling good money after Old Father non-specific-entity Time, and trying to battle it.

So what good does it do to be pointing these things out? Yeah, I could dye my hair, stay “healthy and virile” by not being grey. Fact is, I quite like it with a bit of grey. If the hair is thinning, receding, or even coming out completely, so what? It’s still me – I won’t be wearing a wig, or doing those horrible baldy-man Comb-Over jobs – it’ll just be the way I am. Does pointing them out mean “you should be taking more care of yourself”? Or “look, those things aren’t happening to me” (yet) ? Whatever the reason, it certainly wasn’t anything intended to make me feel better about myself – it’s lucky I don’t care all that much, and simply accept the effects of age – if I were worried about it, the comments that were made could have held a really negative effect on me.

I wish I understood the motivation – but I don’t, and I probably never will. If it was intended as a way to belittle me, or to make me feel insecure about it, then it failed. Getting older isn’t news – but perhaps the way “friends” address that kind of thing towards me is.

A final additional thought – I’m sure some people who read this will be thinking “Ah, the young whippersnapper” – I’m not complaining about age at all, more about the perspectives of “friends”.

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