Who decided that aging is unattractive? All healthy adults do. We grow until we are in our late 20’s. (contrary to popular belief that we are done growing when we are 18, our brain is still growing until we near 30.) After we finish growing, aging begins. It’s not really noticeable at first, but it’s happening to all of us. We may look the same as we did when we were 20 for a while, but we are aging. Gravity is day by day wearing at the perkiness of our overall body shape. Fine lines on our faces begin to appear. Streaks of silver show up on our heads. The veins and arteries begin to become apparent on the backs of our hands. Our posture may stoop a bit. We realize that we cannot see up close like we used to, and we begin wearing reading glasses. Perhaps we also use a hearing aid, and a cane or a walker.
I don’t think any of these things are unattractive. I see aging as a beautiful part of the cycle of life. A body that is slightly worn out is a body that has worked hard. Hands with a roadmap of veins on them are hands that have spent decades feeding hungry mouths, tending those in their care and doing the work that was asked of them. Don’t they have a right to age a little, or a lot, without being deemed ugly? I think so.
You know what I love about the farsightedness of the elderly? They tend to see with their hearts. Up close vision is failing, so they don’t notice my acne, or the stain on my shirt. Instead they notice that I am pleasant to be around, and they value me accordingly. They no longer judge based on appearance. I want to be more like this.
I see silver hair as a thing of beauty. Those silver strands represent a lifetime of learning, of acquiring wisdom and of imparting it to others. I see a stooped back, and I marvel at all the weight it must have born over its life. Perhaps it was used in manual labor, or perhaps it became bent from the children it toted around constantly. Either way, it is a thing of beauty. I see a walker, or a cane, and I feel so pleased that the individual using it recognizes the usefulness of something designed to keep them from falling. Walking aids promote independence. Independence is a beautiful thing.
I see smile lines, and crows feet, and I see a lifetime of love and laughter on display. What a beautiful thing. Wrinkles are only ugly if they are frown lines. I see weathered skin and I know that person spent time in the sunshine, likely tending a garden, or caring for animals. This is a lifestyle that rings true in my heart.
Often my clients tell me they are ugly because they are old. I gently tell them that they are wrong. Aging isn’t ugly. Elderly people are not unattractive. In fact, our elders are a culmination of all that is beautiful in this life. Aging isn’t always comfortable, or desirable, but it is absolutely beautiful. If you don’t think so, then you need to learn to see with your heart.