|Gina Lollobrigida then and now|
Religion, politics, social justice….the list goes on and on but for the sake of this blog post I am going to focus on one thing: looks with regards to aging.
How does one age gracefully? Society does not allow for that, when a famous actress is looking a little older the headline will read (insert famous actress name here) is looking haggard. Perhaps she is on drugs? Maybe her marriage is in trouble.
In a climate where youth and beauty seem exclusively linked there is no place for growing old. Actors, models and singers get younger and younger each year. There is so much pressure on our youth today and yet we forget that our elders really do have a wealth of knowledge to share. Age comes with a price, sure you get maturity and experience but you also become the thing that you fear the most, Forgotten.
I worked as a front line receptionist in a retirement complex for 6 months back in 1990. The thing I most remember about my time there, was how lonely the occupants were. The highlight of their day was when the postman had been, they would emerge out of their apartments to inspect their post boxes just in case there was any correspondence from family namely their children. Visits from their children were rare and I felt quite sad for them. This was not a home, it was a retirement complex, they were free to come and go as they please. There was a frail care section for those who were ill or nearing the end of their life, hardly anyone returned from there.
I do remember one or two of the residents who were still quite full of life, one such person was Mrs Taylor. She was 72 years old but had the spirit of a lively 50 year old. Her granddaughter was a model and came to fetch her every Sunday for an outing. During that year the Chipindales came to Cape Town and Mrs Taylor’s granddaughter took her to see them. I saw a sparkle in her the night they left for their outing and when she returned it was as if she was injected with a fresh sense of life.
The thing we forget when we focus on youth and beauty is that age is inevitable, every one of us (unless we pass away before then) will get old. All the anti-wrinkle creams in the world can’t stop it, they can slow down the process but in the end we all get old.