Age is supposed to bring us wisdom, experience, beauty, and intelligence, but if that’s the case, why are we so afraid of it? Men and women alike are raging against the dying of the light, and it’s starting younger and younger.
The fear of aging is multi-faceted. There is declining attractiveness, declining sexual interest, caring for sick parents, dementia, loneliness, lack of mental sharpness, loss of freedom, having no money for retirement; the list goes on and on.
Firstly, the fear of declining attractiveness. We are a nation obsessed, as Americans spend more than $88 billion annually on anti-aging products, according to The Guardian. Most of these products are complete hacks, full of ineffective, synthetic chemicals that can do more harm than good.
A 2012 study showed that women are beginning to worry about age at the age of 29. Dealing with a stray gray hair or two, and maybe some wrinkles or crows feet, the realization sets in that they’re not “young” anymore, and the preventative measures begin.
Even Internet giant Google is getting involved in the anti-aging fight. The Google-backed Calico is a biotech company that will research diseases that afflict the elderly, such as neurodegeneration and cancer. Diseases like Alzheimers are one of the biggest fears about approaching old age.
Many believe that the younger generation does not have the same respect for their elders. In Asian cultures, the older members of the family are cherished and revered, in part because they are that much older and their time is fleeting. Their children and families want to spend as much time with them as possible, absorbing their wisdom and anecdotes.
But that is not the case, at least with American cultures. The elderly are often marginalized, particularly by the ageist media and business culture. With young, fresh-faced teens gracing magazines, televisions, and movie screens, it’s no wonder that women of a certain age will try anything to look and feel younger.
But life doesn’t end at 30, or 40, or even 60. With one third of all the babies born last year expected to live to see 100 years old, there is a lot of life beyond middle age, and there’s no sense spending it trying to recapture the past.