Forever young – I want to be forever young

As I write this post, the chorus of the Alphaville song Forever Young is playing over and over again in my head, like a broken record. There is a line in the song that goes, Youth like diamonds in the sky and diamonds are forever. Some time ago, I blogged about why immortality is not as great as it sounds. This post is about what I believe to be more than a trend in modern society – the mission or obsession to remain youthful and also about why I hate Jennifer Aniston and the likes of her.

When I was about 16 years old, I participated in a public speaking competition. There were two parts to the competition. The first part was delivering a prepared speech and the second part to make an impromptu speech on a topic given by jury. My prepared speech was on the topic of Youth Culture. I spoke about, if it is just a trend or a way of life. I am so sure about what I spoke about so long ago because I was traumatised by a case of total mental blackout on stage that day. But I also remember that most of the points in my speech came from my teacher. Honestly what can a youth know firsthand about trying to stay young as long as possible? However ever since I have crossed the thirties threshold, I am confronted with this topic every day – whether I want to or not. With age comes wisdom and I believe I have enough experience of my own to add my two cents worth to this subject.

Wrinkle free skin and a body I would have been proud of in my twenties
Wrinkles and grey hair are widely accepted as the first signs of growing old. I was distraught the day I turned thirty and the salesgirl, who packed my “make-me-feel-good” shopping items, added a sample of an anti-wrinkle cream to the lot. I still do not know what I did to her to deserve such horrible treatment!

The ladies in Hollywood are turning the natural process of ageing into a nightmare for me. Have you noticed how incredible actresses like Demi Moore look the older they get? I am certain Jennifer Aniston looks better in her forties than in her twenties. I know that a lot of money and effort is invested in maintaining this appearance. But the mind only hangs onto the thought that it is possible to look age defying young. If they can do it, I should be able to do it too, right? Who cares that even in my youth I did not have toned muscles or a flat tummy? I can imagine that I am not alone here and that others feel the same way too. So whose idea of youth are we trying to emulate? (Again the word stereotype comes to mind.)

Manipulating our age to look younger
We have a couple of ages. There is the calendar or chronological age, the biological age and the perceived age. The calendar age is self explanatory. It is the number of calendar years we have lived. The biological age is much more difficult to ascertain. It is a combination of various factors, which reduce, slow down or reverse the constant cellular deterioration that constantly goes on in our bodies. The perceived age refers to the age others estimate us to be at based on our appearance, attitude and behaviour.

There is nothing we can do about our calendar age; apart from forging birth certificates. But it is possible to manipulate our biological age. Here is an interesting talk by Dr. Dean Ornish, a clinical professor at UCSF.

From the sound of it, it takes more than creams, hair dyes and clothes to being youthful. No pain, no gain. I am not referring to the pain due to plastic surgeries or Botox injections. (Honestly taking away the mimic from your face does not make you look younger. Instead it makes you look like a well embalmed zombie.) I am referring to the muscle aches as a result of exercising and the pain of having to abstain from sinfully delicious fatty food. The good news according to Dean Ornish is that sport, a healthy diet and lifestyle have a positive effect on our cellular structures. This helps us reduce our biological age.

My perceived age is younger than my calendar age, which is actually a curse in disguise. It keeps me from exercising because my subconscious tells me that there is no need to start just yet. (In project management speak; I am using up my puffer time.) In my opinion, two factors contribute to the perceived age. First is the appearance factor, which is influenced by the physical appearance and fashion sense. Certain types of clothes or hairstyles can make us appear older than we are. Second is the attitude factor, which is the way we think and behave. Our attitude towards technological advances and affinity to new social media could make us appear younger.

Why do we want to be youthful?
One reason that comes to mind is that looking youthful has an impact on the level of success in our career. On the one hand, looking old might give an impression of not being up-to-date. On the other hand, looking youthful is associated with being dynamic, open-minded, flexible and able to easily adapt to changes. It might sound shallow but it is common knowledge that good-looking people are more successful in their careers. (I blogged about it some time ago.) Given the choice between a youthful looking candidate and a old looking candidate with the same qualification and experience, I am pretty sure that the youthful looking candidate would be chosen. In this case, it would not even be a case of ageism.

Another reason I can think of is the fact that we live longer than our ancestors did. Retirement may mark the end of one’s career but it marks the beginning of life. Retirees finally have enough time and money to catch up on all the dreams postponed in favour of the career and the quest of earning money. Therefore being physically youthful is necessary to support an active and possibly adventurous lifestyle.

As I have expressed in this post forever young could mean many different things. Do you want to be forever young and what does being young mean to you?

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In Confessions of a virgin, I wrote about how I have never been to a job interview before. I was anxious about how my very first job interview on the 16th of February would be. After a 4 hour interview and assessment centre, I was happy with my own performance. I knew that I had given my best. The week later the company contacted me to arrange a trial working day on the 28th of February. I was elated. They wanted to see me again! It meant that I had passed the interview round. I had faced the unknown monster under the bed and found out that it was not as frightening as my imagination made it out to be. Continue reading

Are my goals doomed to fail?

Today I watched a TED talk video by Derek Sivers titled: Keep you goals to yourself. Imagine how I felt when I watched it! I started blogging because I thought, if I told the world out there about my goals, I would feel obliged to see them through. According to Derek, it has been tested and proven that the opposite result is likely. Basically when we are admired for our goals, we feel satisfied. We are rewarded even before we achieve something and therefore we lose the dedication to see our goals through. It is the way our brains work. Continue reading

Foreplay – Action – After the (f)act

Foreplay

I have always loved writing. During my primary school years, I used to be scolded by my teachers for not adhering to the word count in the essays I wrote. Once I was even penalised by my teacher as she downgraded my essay from an A to a B because it was too long. Then she asked me to read it aloud standing in front of the class because she thought it was very well written. Therefore my foreplay with words in the written form started as early as my primary school years. Unfortunately I left the road leading towards literary orgasm before the foreplay could progress to the next stage. Continue reading

Thirties are the new Twenties

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I need Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Dear World,

as I am writing this to you, my eyes are open no wider than a coin slot in a Jukebox. (Don’t ask me where that comparison just came from.) I have had a terribly tiring week – both mentally and physically. I have been on an emotional rollercoaster all week.  You know about Mr. M’s operation. I have been visiting him regularly at the hospital. Since I am still not driving a car yet (another long story) I have to take the train and a single journey lasts about 1.5 hours.

Yesterday I woke up with a swollen and painful right eye. If you remember, I told you that I have my first job interview ever on the 16th. Continue reading