Our Age-Old Obsession With Youth Is Getting Old

Our Age-Old Obsession With Youth Is Getting Old

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.

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.

Cover Image Credit: AARP

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34 Things I Should Have Brought To College At The Start Of Freshman Year, But Didn't

To the incoming freshman from the rising senior.

Coming from a rising senior at the University of Dayton who has lived in an over-sized double dorm room, to a suite-style quad dorm room, to a house with virtually no storage space sharing an octagon-shaped single room (and single closet)... These are the random little things no one thinks to bring to college or put on these lists, but they will make your life on campus a million times better. I ended up buying these items long after I started college, and they were a big help. Don't make the same mistakes I did.

1. Shoe organizer

These are great for various items such as toiletries, snacks, and, of course, shoes.

2. Under-the-bed storage bins

During college, most of my storage has been under my bed, so this is a must.

3. Photos

To remember the happy times with your friends and family. Add to your collection over your college years.

4. String lights

Just to add a little something extra to your space. The dim light is totally relaxing.

5. Makeup wipes

For when you're too tired after going out to actually wash your face.

6. Extra sheets and towels

Trust me, you're not going to want to wash your sheets and towels right away so you can use them immediately. Bring back-ups.

7. Tide pods

These are awesome. Plus they smell heavenly.

8. Drunk dorm/microwaveable snacks

For when you come back after going out and the dining hall has already closed. Ordering Domino's or Jimmy John's night after night is NOT a cost-effective option.

9. Gatorade

For when you're too dead in the morning to walk down and get one from the dining hall.

10. Keurig and coffee

Just in case the dining hall runs out of coffee during finals week. Believe me, it can happen.

11. Chip clips

You will accumulate many of these from free vendors and events on campus, but somehow, they are no where to be found when you need one.

12. Paper towels / Clorox wipes

You can never have enough.

13. Rain boots

So you'll be able to make it to class on those rainy days without having to sit in soaking wet socks and shoes for 50 minutes (yikes). And you can jump in all the puddles you wish.

14. Alarm clock

If you're like me and could sleep the whole day if you didn't have an alarm, your phone alarm just doesn't cut it sometimes.

15. Back study pillow

Even if you don't think you will use it, you will end up wanting it.

16. Command strips

These are the only things that will stick to most dorm room walls.

17. Rug

Especially if your room has a cold tile floor instead of carpet.

18. Air mattress or sleeping bag

For your friends visiting you on campus, or if you ever go on a trip.

19. Disposable dishes

At least while you live in a dorm with a community sink.

20. Red solo cups

Because you don't want your morning-after milk or apple juice to taste like last night's $8 vodka.

21. Costumes/holiday wear

This is something I totally didn't even think about when I first came to school. Now I have an entire bin JUST for costumes and holiday decor.

22. Crazy daydrink clothes

If you have a few jerseys, you're set. If not, take a trip to the local goodwill with your squad and pick up a few things. The crazier, the better.

23. Towel wrap

If you're like me and just like to chill in your towel after you shower ( and a robe is too hot for you), these are a must. And they're super cute.

24. Wristlet/clutch/small purse

You won't want to lug around a large tote while you're out with friends or doing daily activities.

25. Comfortable heels

Don't let this be you!!!! I've been there, and nothing will ruin your night of dancing at the club like shoes that give you blisters and disable your walking by the end of the night.

26. Business casual and business professional clothes

And make sure you know the difference and when each is appropriate.

27. Water bottle

In college, your water bottle is your best friend. You never go anywhere without it, and it actually helps you to drink the amount of water you're supposed to drink each day (maybe).

28. Blender

If you're a fan of smoothies (or frozen margaritas) and want to make them at home for less.

29. Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to study. If they're not for you, buy them anyway just in case you want to try them out. Or if anyone on your floor is desperate for them, they will be eternally grateful.

30. Mini fridge

When you're sharing a fridge with 3+ other people, things can get pretty tight. I recommend buying this with your roommates so you can share the extra space.

31. Calculator

Just in case you change your major and have to take math again (like me).

32. Thermometer

So you can know for sure whether or not you have a fever.

33. Drying rack

Because you're actually not supposed to put everything in the dryer, who knew?

34. Rubbing alcohol

Works wonders for getting those impossible Thursday night Xs off before your Friday 9 a.m.

These things have helped me make it through three years of college, especially freshman year. Hopefully, I have helped you prepare for your college years somehow. Good luck and have fun!!!

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Cover Image Credit: oregonstateuniversity / Flickr

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How You Can Make the World a Better Place Today

Let's talk about doing what's right; improving our world.

What did you do to make the world a better place today?

Seriously, take thirty seconds to think about it.

Well… what did you do today to make the world a better place?

A woman I met during a family vacation was asked this question during her Spa visit. She had just experienced a deep tissue massage, something I haven't been brave enough to try, and she saw this question in a cute little book in the spa lobby.

She read the comments in the book before she "put in her own two cents." When she was talking to me, her eyes had that light in them people have when they have experienced something really positive.

As we talked about the question, someone else at the table said dejectedly, "I did nothing." It bothered me because I had been with this person for most of the day, and they had done many positive things that day. So I offered this small tidbit to her.

"Well, you could make the world a better place by helping someone smile, or even helping yourself smile." Commenting on this led to a more positive conversation than letting her think about herself negatively. Therefore, by helping her change her perspective on her day, I was able to make her world a better place.

We often forget the world doesn't always need a superman to make it a better place. Sometimes, it's as courageous to make the world a better place by choosing to do the laundry when you got in a fight with your spouse or reach out to a distant friend just because (for someone odd reason) you can't stop thinking about him. Sometimes, sticking close to someone while he/she is suffering is just as courageous as being a superhero.

I know there are so many ways to make the world a better place, but I have a few ideas. If you want, you can read them below:

Reaching out to someone going through a hard time

Doing your roommate's dishes

Smiling at a stranger

Helping carry the groceries inside

Sincerely apologizing for a past mistake

Paying your bills ahead of time

Telling your role model how much you appreciate him/her

Purchasing a stranger's meal/drink (in the fast food line, at a restaurant, at a coffee shop)

Volunteering at a local food kitchen

...and the list goes on and on.

It's up to you how you act in and react to the world. You won't get it right all the time, and that's okay. But when you get it wrong (or not all the way right), assess the moment kindly, forgive yourself for what was lacking about it, and try to do better the next time.

By intentionally committing ourselves to "just do the next right thing," we are living our lives with more virtue. By sacrificing our comfort to make someone else's life better, we are also practicing for future moments when we are called to sacrifice more. As a young lady, helping my friend while they are sick could prepare me for when I help my kids through their sicknesses in the future.

Let me just brag about my roommate for a bit. She bakes delicious cupcakes. These cupcakes have the perfect blend of gooey cake and creamy icing. She also has a super generous heart. This summer, for two weeks straight, she was up late baking and icing cupcakes every night of the week to give them away to her coworkers and friends.

When I saw her spend so much of her limited free time serving others… it helped me reflect on what it means to be sweet and kind. Seeing others sacrifice their time and resources to make someone else's life better inspires others to do the same.

Making the world a better place means making yourself a better person in the world. It means practicing patience, kindness, trustworthiness, and more when we tend to be impatient, mean, suspicious, and more.

I believe you can do what is right, even if it isn't easy. The world needs you to do what is right, especially when it isn't easy. That's how you become a hero not only to me but the people in your world. People think the world is a big place, and sure - it is. There are lots of continents and people out there. But your world - your coworkers, friends, family, and more - they need you to rise up and make the community you all live in a better place.

So... how are you going to help your world be a better place today?

Now get out there and do it.

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