Island of Lost Toys

Why are we so afraid of aging? How do our cultural expectations impact us?

“You should be naked when you are young.  You want to have that on film.” –Regina Hall (joking about actresses doing nude scenes early in their careers, to The Hollywood Reporter.)  People mag June 17, 2019, page 3

  2. How many of us try as hard we can to maintain some shred of our hold on youth?  We clamor after hair color (at least us females….the double standard of man aging versus women aging has to be a topic for another episode…shoo…), teeth whiteners, fillers, plumpers, (and superdee dumpers as Dr. Suess might say), plastic surgery, spanx, false eyelashes,  eye drops, age spot removers, and on and on.  I started going grey in my 40s and still struggle with letting it come out.  At 52, I am reminded of The Santa Claus’s Scott Calvin as I try to defy my sparkly white hairs that want to sprout out at my cowlick and can get distracted by the flappy white batwing as I emphatically use my arm.  I once heard someone refer to her gray as “highlights from heaven.”  I am in awe of those women who have accepted the natural decline of pigmentation because the process of growing out hair dye is ridiculous.  You look like you either have a disease or were the focus of a 12 yr-old boys’ practical joke.  I once tried to let my cowlick grow out while toting around my three kids, aged 4, 9, and 12 and just got tired of being stared at (yes, I know that is a dangling preposition).  I’m actually considering having another go at it.  I’m 52, my kids have all launched.  What the hell?  Why not?  Here’s the thing, when I see my reflection will I see myself or my grandmother?  Can I accept it?  I dk. 
  3. Why do we exert all this effort and time and money?  Maybe because we think our value as a person sags in direct proportion with our skin?  Or that it fades along with our hair pigment.  Is this true?  I would like to say, “Of course not!”  I think that’s the standard line.  But some of us might be afraid that it is.  We might be afraid of those things associated with aging, such as forgetting where we put the brownie batter, having to drive in the slow lane, not being able to process the stupidity of fellow drivers in time to prevent an accident, being cast in the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial, being pushed aside for  nude scenes in favor of someone 30 years younger  (again – gender double standard…maybe more on that later), or simply feeling invisible as if the appearance of grey hair and skin resembling crepe paper relegates us to the Island of Lost Toys.  So we fight tooth and nail to at least have the appearance of youth even if it has left us in the rear-view mirror.
  4. Here’s what I’ve learned from others wiser than me:   Learn not to give a shit, let “whatever” be the new key word ; Realize you could be dead instead, many people didn’t make it long enough for their hair to grey and skin to sag; Recognize all you have accomplished throughout the years; Laugh about it; Appreciate the wisdom you have from the mistakes you’ve made and enjoy watching the young, pretty people figure it out for themselves (was that mean?); Find your goal for this stage of your life and stop acting like someone has thrown you out in the trash; If you don’t have supportive family and friends then find some new ones; Redefine “beauty.”  To quote Dean Karnazes:  “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming:  Wow!! What a ride!”.