Nobody told me the greatest difficulty of aging would be growing older in a world that spins an ugly, sad story about the experience.
We live in a time of anti-aging serum, anti-aging vitamins, and anti-aging exercises that are used as weapons to fight the enemy of change.
In this world of anti-aging, those who grow gray and wrinkled are ignored. We become invisible, and are unprepared for this indignity. We begin to tell each other a story of potential irrelevance that results in desperate action, as we hold up shields of plastic surgery and face-lifts to fend off the onslaught of change.
Our fear of aging creates an environment where we constantly, frantically spin to make all things new. Our phones and laptops are improved every year, and we stand in line to buy the youngest version. Beautiful old houses of character are gutted, their historical details destroyed so that we can have a new, open concept with shiny stainless steel appliances.
We cut down redwoods to make new cabinets, totally discounting the fact that the redwood might have 1,000 years of rings inside its trunk.
Since the consumerism of the 50’s, we have built a society where everything must be young and new and fresh and unwrinkled. Every single new house looks like every other. Every car mirrors the car beside it.
Plastic surgery has created the flawless, uniform face that lacks the physical characteristics that distinguish us.
Perhaps we need to rewrite the story we started writing in the 50’s. . .
Maybe our story shouldn’t be about anti-aging. Maybe it should be about the wisdom, experience and peace gathered along the way.
Perhaps our story of buying new appliances should become a story about saving the earth, and appreciating the palate found in a house where appliances don’t match.
Our new story won’t worship the young hero or heroine before the journey begins. Because, quite frankly, the main character rarely becomes a hero or heroine until he or she has faced life’s difficulties, and battled dragons, and learned lessons, and come out the other side. True beauty comes from every scar, broken bone, broken heart and courageous moment.
If we release our need for all things new, perhaps our story will be less about the outside of life and more about the interior landscape that becomes more beautiful with every day met and every lesson learned.
Let’s join together and start telling a new story where our goal is not to run against Father Time but to hold his wizened hand and walk down life’s path together. In this story we will listen and laugh and learn.
Just like the rings on a redwood, our wrinkles tell the story of our years. There is beauty in them. And, boy, do we have some stories to tell.