“While many cultures celebrate the aging process and venerate their elders, in Western cultures — where youth is fetishized...aging can become a shameful experience. Physical signs of human aging tend to be regarded with distaste, and aging is often depicted in a negative light, if it is even depicted at all. In aging, people feel that there’s something wrong with them, that they’re losing value” (HuffingtonPost, 2014)…or ability, skill, or even worth as individuals.
American and other western societies today are so youth driven that it has forgotten that Elders also have a contribution to every day life. I’ve read comments of young people saying they’d rather die than ever “get old”, a.k.a. have wrinkles, less than defined abs, or anything remotely “saggy”. You have those who are “aging” who’ll do anything to keep the appearance of pseudo-youth. They’re obsessed with beauty, fitness, idolizing celebrities or movie stars they see as perfect because of their looks and criticizing or minimizing others who don’t share their lifestyle and mindset. Sure, its great to be healthy as well, but despising others or making that an obsession too, can be detrimental to society and self as we see all around us.
News media covers accidental deaths of young people on the front page, while making endnotes of an older persons dying, as if their deaths are less significant, less important or saddening. In actuality, losing their store of history, of memory, of experience is priceless.
Only once in my 44 years of life have I celebrated a western style birthday at the insistence of a German friend… Continue reading “Thankful for the 44th!”