There used to be a gap between those who opted for cosmetic enhancements and those who held steadfastly to the premise that we should simply accept the aging process without taking any steps to hold onto a youthful appearance. But what once was a dichotomy has meshed into a more universal concept: part of accepting the inevitability of aging is proudly acclaiming that you’re old enough and wise enough to look your best and not let your age bring you down! It’s taking on the anthem that you can continue to be productive, strong and capable – and project that image to the world if you are 30, 50, 70 or even 90. Aging carries the stereotype of frailness or weakness. Yet, if we can help to overcome that stereotype by looking our personal best, we approach the world more positively. Why not embrace looking as good as we feel?
Science supports popular culture, proving that a youthful appearance contributes to individual vitality and happiness. The results of a recent scientific study that included 8000 subjects from around the world throws away the concept of aesthetic intervention as merely a tool for enhancing beauty. Instead, the study concluded, we use aesthetics to help boost our self-confidence and feel better about ourselves. So, rather than looking in the mirror, seeing an old face, and feeling defeated, women are looking in the mirror and saying, “I’m still young. I have much I want to do. I want to project strength and vitality, and continue my journey. And I can do this best by not succumbing to the aging process but by looking and therefore feeling the very best I can!”
Caroline Van Hove, senior vice president, International Medical Aesthetics, explains the study’s results saying, “What is especially exciting about this new research is the discovery that women around the world are united by an increasing desire to control how their looks evolve with time.” Her conclusions are echoed by Brazilian plastic surgeon Mauricio de Maio who comments, “There has been a real change in attitudes in recent years. Today, it is what women feel about themselves that matters most to them. [T]heir real goal is to feel and look better.”
The medical news on making aesthetics a part of the natural, graceful and healthy process of aging is exciting for all of us and is proffered by Foad Nahai, the editor in chief of Aesthetic Surgery Journal, the Maurice J. Jurkiewicz chair in plastic surgery and professor of surgery at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. Based on his research and writing, Dr. Hahai proffers that those who care about their appearance as they age and take affirmative steps toward enhancement, have a lesser chance of developing Alzheimer’s. Studies show that young and middle-age adults who had negative age stereotypes were far more likely to have Alzheimer’s later in life compared to those with positive stereotypes. Dr. Nahai extrapolates that “If cosmetic treatments improve somebody’s mood, [there could] be a possibility that if individuals somehow changed their stereotype of aging, either through what they see in the media or what they see in the mirror, [it might] lead to their having less likelihood of Alzheimer’s when they’re older.”
We here at ASLC support passionate and compassionate age management. Think of it this way: if you can say with pride, “I’m 65 years old!” and the universal response is, “You look fantastic!” you’re going to feel great about yourself. You will walk in the world with confidence. Don’t worry, you’ll still get the senior discount, but isn’t it always better to be asked to prove it! Of course it is. Let aging be a cause for celebrating your strength, continued energy and abilities.
So much of age is perception: both our own and that of other people. We may feel very young, but look in the mirror and barely recognize ourselves. “What happened to me?” Some people, seeing those age signs, fall into a negative perspective of themselves, see themselves as less able and go down a rabbit hole of reduced productivity, energy and happiness. Likewise, looking old to others, even though we feel great and young and hardy inside, may cause these others to treat us as feeble and less capable than we really are. The cycle is very counter-productive. As it is acceptable to use glasses to see better and hearing aids to hear better, it is equally true that cosmetics and aesthetics can improve your quality of life.
Here is an example that supports the premise that perception is everything. I have a friend who became concerned about her mother’s participation in aerobics classes – a concern that first began when she was about 40 and her mother was about 60 years old. Would the mother fall, break a hip, hurt herself, have a heart attack? The mother relentlessly refused to give up. Twenty years later, my friend turned 60 and found herself in the same Zumba classes as her mom. Bells went off. 60 isn’t just an age; it’s an attitude! Now, she’s stopped trying to get her mom to take it easy because now she understands that no age is old if you don’t feel old.
And what is one of the best proven and touted methods to not feel old? It’s by staying active and being able to look in the mirror with confidence, knowing that you don’t look your age and that you look as young as you feel. So, I advocate doing whatever it takes to keep a positive attitude forever. That means having a healthy lifestyle and continuing to do things that bring you pleasure. For me, this also means that I will certainly continue taking away the gray. I will continue to be committed to causes that intrigue and interest me. And I will do what is available to make my inner energy and youthfulness commensurate with what is seen on the outside.
Embrace the aging process! A positive attitude will result in a longer, healthier and happier life.
Aging in not lost on youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.
It takes a conscious breaking out of youthful definitions, for a man or woman,
to free oneself for continued development.