Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"Grow old with me, the best is yet to be!"

I've never been one to fixate on looks. I take care of myself and definitely abide my standard hygenic grooming practices, but I'm by no means what some would consider "fussy." Today I got my hair cut for the first time since October (okay, maybe I'm a little lax on some standard grooming practices) and a comment another woman made there really made me stop and think. She said "It would be so nice to come in for just a hair cut when I finally felt like it. I have to come in regularly to be colored young again." I laughed, as did the few other people in the salon, but as I sat in the swirly chair, draped in plastic cape, with my chin to my chest, I began to think about it more.

We hear all the time that society is obsessed with youth and beauty. I'll make a confession, when I was just a tiny wee lass and I would hear people refer to society, I thought they were talking about a person. Adults talked about people I didn't know all the time, so the fact that I had never seen Society and didn't know he/she looked like didn't stop my child brain from personifying it. I heard that "Society has changed," "Society is too eager to please," "society is so obsessed with unimportant things..." See how I might have gotten confused? What made it even more confusing is that when referencing poor, misguided Society people never seemed to speak as if they were included in--how was I supposed to know the term included almost everyone!? I don't remember exactly how old I was when I figured it out but to this day when I think of society (uncapitalized now, see how I did that?), I think of a singular entity that is unrepresentative of the whole. I assumed that agism, or any undue honoring of youth was one of those things that jerkface Society was trying to make us believe was important.

But the pursuit of everlasting young is everywhere. And frankly, that terrifies me. I'm 23 years old. By almost no ones standards am I old, and yet commercials are already telling me it's time to start watching for sign of aging. The fact that this year has gone by so incredibly quickly makes my head spin. Heck, I can't even pickle myself because that would make me wrinkly! What kind of image are we setting up for ourselves and our future children when even in youth, we can't enjoy it because we are too afraid of losing it?

I will never be perfect. I will never have perfect skin, or hair, or teeth, or eyebrows, or the perfect body. Instead of trying to dig my heals in the sand against an unstoppable force, I'd rather have a good story behind my journey of aging. I hope to be like so many women I admire in my life and wear my imperfections as signs of glory, as recognition and thankfulness at being shaped by God's hands. If this year of VISTA service has taught me anything, it's that priorities are important and some things should never make the list.

So no, Society, I will not order your wrinkle creams, and your cellulite preventative lotion, or your "youth dye." I'll take dignity, to go.
Happy 23rd Birthday to me! Yes, I am sitting on the floor to eat my cake modeling my birthday tiara with my disheveled hair, like all adults do on their birthdays. 

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