AGE: WHAT'S THE OBSESSION?

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I'm writing this as a soon-to-be twenty-three-year old. I still get asked for ID. I have the seemingly ingrained, Gen Y subconscious fear of not being "where I should be" at [insert age]. I also have the annoyance with myself and others to think that such a timescale even matters. Usually the latter wins. I suppose we're conditioned to think it does, as we're measured by our age so often it's become central to our identity. Our culture is obsessed with time. Cognitive dissonance and being human at its finest. 

 

A typical 'article': photo of Gisele at 19, alongside photo of Gisele at 40, with the strapline, "Gisele hasn't aged at all". Gisele, the supermodel, basically a good genetic anomaly. 'Clean', money and stress-free living and a trainer helps, too. What's with the fetishisation with those that appear younger than they are, then making an article of it? Clickbait? Lazy journalism? 

Even someone that's racked up numerous acting accolades and been honoured by the Queen can't escape our obsession with age. Dame Helen Mirren's response on today's This Morning*, to interviewers commenting that she looked really good for 70 was, "it's all a lot of make up and nice hair ... I do look my age!", lightly adding, "your editor told you to say that didn't they!?". I have to admit I agreed with her, she looks my preconceived idea of 70. I also agree with TM, she looks great. However this emphasises the you-look-great-for comments and probably what viewers were thinking, too: the ironically outdated idea of how I or we think a "stereotypical" 70 year old looks. 

The adage 'you're only as old as you feel' comes to mind. 'You still feel the same at fifty as you did at twenty'. Besides the typical going grey, and muscles aching that you didn't know you had per se. However there's a whole host of people that defy and take it in their stride, too. 

 

At the ripe age of twenty-two and coincidentally not being famous, thankfully, no one is scrutinising my every move or pore. (There are old social media posts to highlight that.) However I think I've figured some things out (don't quote me). Things like, the family and friendships I value; when to stand my ground; a skincare routine... I jest. Sort of. But as I am told on the occasions when I have a mini meltdown about the aforementioned 'timescale': you never stop learning, so no, you won't ever have it all figured out. You may be getting older, but you run your own race.

What else do I know? I'd like to have Helen Mirren's frank pride at seventy.

 

*A quick Google for this interview lists articles mainly titled, "Mirren shocks presenters by swearing on live TV". The TL;DR? It was 9am and she said "pissed down with rain"... Hold your horses, Ofcom.