Everyday women come into contact with countless images of what beauty ought to look like. While we have discussed issues with body image before, the idea of a woman aging is a different animal altogether. Once again, we are absolutely flooded with ideas of how beauty and youth are mutually exclusive, how physical signs of aging are like the eleventh plague, or those annoying things of how celebrities would look in 30 years (which usually look like you probably could have drawn them…when you were 9). The beauty industry has taken a beautiful lifelong transition and turned it into the most profitable epidemic. It's tough to find a face lotion that doesn't have an anti-aging formula in it. This of course is encouraged by those little things like Disney movies, where villainnesses are older, vengeful women desperately grabbing at the last vestige of power–youth. Getting a little anxious about aging is pretty normal. Losing something so integral to who you are is a big deal in any case, and youth is no different. But becoming preoccupied with the superficial aspect of aging can indicate masking other issues with getting older.
Keep in mind that no matter what age you are at, every stage in life is a renewal. It's an opportunity to grow and continue to be the person you want to be. Perhaps part of aging is the fear that we didn't do it 'right.' That is to say, we didn't live our life exactly the way we had planned or feel like we should have. It would be like traveling to a beautiful city, not seeing absolutely everything, and then having to leave. We don't want to leave behind an incomplete experience. But sometimes we fail to realize that every single one of our experiences is a complete one. Which is the most amazing part about growing, maturing, and yes, aging. Aging is the culmination of what we have been through and how we respond to those things. Aging is a consistent reminder that (most of the time) with time, we gain more opportunities and options from which to choose the way we want to live.
So sure, we're allowed to use the anti-wrinkle serum, or crow's feet-deleting potion. While these may make us feel like there is a way to fight the natural progression of life, we should not depend on them validate us or our experience in life. Youthful looks do not validate. Our choices and actions validate. And if you need more proof that aging can be the world's greatest thing, look no further. (Well, look back at the image on top.)
Seriously, can we rename 'Friday' 'BettyWhiteDay'? Happy BettyWhiteDay, everyone!