Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Because you're worth it?

Old is bad. Young is good. In our western world, we are constantly told that the ageing process is something unnatural, worth avoiding at all costs.

It upsets me to hear about how old people have been objected to ageism. A TV presenter finds himself sacked, because fresher and trendier shoots want to enter the studio. An old lady - somebody's Nan - is put at the back of the hip operation queue, even though the pain is unbearable and the injury will now become worse, before it gets better. Young first - old last. Age before beauty does not apply to the real world.

Repeating their mantra, celebrities tell me I should get rid of my wrinkles, plump up my lips, squeeze in my tummy and push up my breasts. It's stay-up and hold-in. Fake tan and white teeth. I am not all that concerned personally - I can take it. The relatively few wrinkles I have gained so far, I intend to keep - they're mine! No, I feel more sorry for young girls who grow up under an immense pressure to be perfect. They start worrying about getting older, already in their teens. That cannot be right!  
What about men? Well, there are of course the Berlusconis of this world who do everything to live up to that young image. However - and correct me if I'm wrong - men seem slightly less concerned about their vanity. 

So rooted is our fear of old age, that it is also reflected in our language. We use euphamisms like 'elderly' or 'of a certain age' - instead of saying 'old', which is what we really mean. 
And, how often do we see old lovers or heroes in a blockbuster film? 
I wish we could all be proud of ourselves and be young at heart. You don't have to go to extremes to do it. Not everyone can bungy jump or parachute at the age of 100. I think it is more a case of not giving up, to look at the future even if there is just tomorrow left. 

Old people shouldn't have to fight for their rights. They have accumulated an enormous collective experience which we should make use of, for everybody's future well-being. 
Old people have lived. They know things. Let us respect them for who they are.

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