Generally, not much really bothers me, but there are a two things that definitely put a bee in my bonnet--and I REALLY hate bees. I wasn't sure whether or not one post would be enough to address all my feelings, but I'm gonna take a whack at it. While this little jaunt looks into the idea of aging in the American culture, the other side to my concern is the issue of self-deprecation as commonplace in the female rhetoric. That will have to wait for later. I guess I should preface this article with a little self-disclosure. While I believe all people are capable of great things, I am not what most people would consider a feminist. I have what mainstream culture would label conservative views when it comes to women in society. So, my heart in addressing these issues is not to pump up the feminist bravado or in any way try to place blame on the guys... actually, women can do a lot on their own to not let themselves fall into the pattern.
Aging. While this issue does not only affect women, it is women I hear constantly lamenting their aging bodies. Among many things our culture has decided to place no value on, age is prevalent, and I don't know if we can count the emergence of "Cougars" as a step in the right direction. I'm all for staying healthy and staying on top of our fashion game, but it breaks my heart when someone who's fifty feels the need to look like they did in high school. Our society places so much importance on appearance, we forget about the wisdom and experience a fifty-year-old woman has attained in her fifty years. In our culture, to grow old is to become senile, useless, and inhuman. Instead of looking forward to the later years in life, we constantly battle the signs of aging, trying to convince our bodies, and ourselves, we aren't as old as we actually are. When it comes down to it, there's no stopping time; our bodies will age, we will get older, and everyone will eventually die. Why spend so much time, effort, and concern on fighting something that's inevitable. I wish, instead of placing so much value on women who look twenty years younger than they are, our culture placed value on women you used their experience to help others, better their community, or teach their children.
Ultimately, what we leave behind in our corpse will all rot away, but what we leave behind through our interactions with others will be our true legacy. I would much rather be remembered by the way I treated people and the difference I made in the lives of others than for my ability to ward of aging for a few years.
I will also choose to value the older generation in my life. In a culture that mocks the elderly for their driving, memory, and laughable mannerisms, I will choose to honor the lessons shared with me be the people who have had much more experience living than I have.