As a current student in a Sociology of Gerontology course, I have gotten quite familiar with the subject of aging and the attitudes towards it. One specific attitude I found disturbing was the obsession with youth and I do not agree with it. By "it" I mean the attitude that youth is the best stage of life and everything after your early twenties is downhill. I refuse to accept reaching a "peak" in high school or college because we haven't even reached a third of our life span yet.As far as I was concerned getting older sounds just fine to me. I cannot wait to see the many things to come in my future and I'd prefer if we could all be a bit more realistic about our lives seeing them for more than "glory" days. However, this is not the case for most people my age and it’s pretty evident if you think about the subliminal messages we receive about youth.
Look at music, like lets dial it back at least five years songs like “Young, Wild & Free," “The One That Got Away" and “Die Young” all were our bops and summer anthems. And all of them share a common theme obsessing over youth. Each one has a different connotation; one looks back at the past, another seeks to avoid the future and the other talks about the freedom that comes with youth. I understand lyrics are all in good fun and artists give the listeners what they want. And what people want is to feel nostalgic and youthful with their music but if you have to remember you are subliminally feeding into your own obsession with youth when this happens. I promise I'm not trying to kill the vibes because I also enjoy a good bop. Nevertheless, music lately has really revolved around the subject, contribute to a stigma that youth is the best stage of life.
Not only is the message being sent through our song lyrics its being splattered all over our magazines and tv screens through commercials. Let's look solely at the beauty industry: it is constantly promising the next big anti-aging serum or finding ways to look younger. As a beauty lover, it pains me to see that they've yet to make campaigns that accept getting older and look to improve skin quality not fight time. Consumers drop dollars upon dollars to counteract the effects of aging instead of embracing their laugh lines and wrinkles. Celebrities like Cindy Crawford and Jennifer Aniston are praised for their ability to avoid aging. I mean really I'll commend them as well for beating the clock through healthy lifestyles and big enough bank accounts to do so. In the meantime, I would like to celebrate the memories that are held within the laugh lines and wrinkles represent on myself, my sister, and my mom because those represent reality to me. The day that these companies can literally add water from the fountain of youth to their products we can’t stop the aging process. And why would you want to? Well, the beauty industry has also contributed to the stigma deciding that youth is the most beautiful stage of life.
I think the stigma combines with the unfamiliarity of being old. We already know what youth is like (Hello, we start out that way!) so it is pretty easy to say those are the best days of our life because that is all we have experienced, but by doing that we cross out what is yet to come. Again, I don’t buy into this image of being forever young. One reason being you can’t glow up if you don’t grow up. I embrace the future with open arms and hope one day everyone else will, too.