Sunday, November 29, 2009

Afraid To Face The Preordained

We’re born, we grow up, we get old, we die.
We’re uninformed, we learn, we teach, we leave.

Why is it that so many people have so much trouble with that concept?
As if it were a sentence, rather than an opportunity?

Chasing the brass ring of youth has become the biggest business in America, and the greatest social indulgence. Don’t take my word for it, do your own research, open your own eyes.

What if everybody in America quit spending money on ‘Youth Enhancement’ products and procedures, and donated those billions (yes, billions) to a general fund (not the government) that would provide education, health care, and other social services to the general population? Seems like everybody is always complaining that there is never enough money for those necessities, but Americans always seem to have enough money to get their hair colored, their teeth whitened, their faces stretched, their lips plumped, eyebrows plucked, nails done, bodies tanned, breasts enhanced, cheeks implanted, wardrobes updated, personal trainers paid, and gym memberships extended. When it comes to trying to look as young as we once were, the sky seems to be the limit.
Women carry the torch of this phenomena, always have, but men are just as vain, and just as compelled as women to morph their own reality into a look and image that has long ago passed them by (the ‘red sports car’ syndrome). There are just as many products and procedures for men these days as there are for women. And men take full advantage of their availability. Hair implants, calf and peck implants, facelifts, hair dye, male enhancement pills, creams and pumps. Moisturizers. MOISTURIZERS. Please!
The list goes on.

In this bourgeoning youth culture, everybody is so afraid of being left behind that they jump on the wagon as quickly as a life-long-alcoholic might fall off it. But hey, I got an idea. How bout’ if everybody over forty stand up, and in unison, throw a middle finger in the face of the creators and marketers of this ignorant and fallacious belief that youth is greater than age. Throw a finger in their face, then take your cupboard full of Youth Enhancement products and throw them on a collective bonfire in the middle of Madison Ave., and in a similar pile on Hollywood Blvd.
Then, take the middle finger on the other hand and throw it in the face of all the people under thirty who actually believe that they’re smarter, more experienced, more valid, and more valuable than those who are older. People need to stop acquiescing to the stupidity, the inexperience, and the ‘potential’ of youth. Youth is just that, ‘potential’. Just because a twenty four year-old, or a five-year-old, can text, send a picture of himself from his cell phone, and pick his nose at the same time does not negate his disturbing inability to engage in critical thinking or meaningful self reflection. Just because he’s technologically connected 24/7 does not necessarily mean he’s able to connect with another human being in any kind of meaningful way, or that he will even understand that he is actually just being led around by the technological ring in his proverbial nose.
For those of you over 40, (or 50, or 30 even), how about having the courage to accept your age, embracing it with dignity, realizing the privilege of your experience, and wearing it proudly without apology?

Does anybody get that when parents are competing with their children in the ‘youth and attractiveness’ arena that the children are building a continuing resentment towards those same parents? When parents put self-emphasis on the external, rather than the internal, do they not understand that they are subjugating themselves to the myth of youth, rather than embracing the dignity of age? Do those parents expect their children to admire them, or want to be like them? The natural evolution of family is that children grow up wanting to be like their parents . . . . . . . . . . . if, in fact, they respect them. When a child sees the parent wanting, and trying, to be like the child, what is there left for the child to respect? Mothers competing with their daughters produce daughters competing with their mothers, rather than giving the child a mother she can rely on for wisdom and guidance. What’s so good about that? We’re robbing the children of the traditional role models they would have, otherwise, been able to trust . . . . . the parents. And what does it say about a 40 year-old parent wanting to look like her own 15 year-old daughter? I won’t even get into that.

You say, “But I don’t have any kids, what’s wrong with wanting to look young?” And I say “What’s wrong with looking your own age? What’s wrong with not deceiving the people you meet? Why does that scare you so terribly?” If you want to continue contributing to the age, and mentality, reduction of our culture, fine, then you will continue to live with the personal frustration of your search for the unattainable Fountain of Youth. And you will continue contributing to the dumbing down of America for the rest of us. Maybe that’s where you’re comfortable, I don’t know. But some of us have more respect for the rest of us than that.

Don’t be afraid of how you look. Be afraid of not being yourself.

“We’re born, we grow up, we get old, we die.
We’re uninformed, we learn, we teach, we leave.

Why is it that so many people have so much trouble with that concept?
As if it were a sentence, rather than an opportunity?”