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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39 Things Every Girl Should Really Know About Life By 20

38. When vacationing by airplane, try to fit everything into a carry-on.

1. Dispute ALL tickets... even if you were going 35mph over the speed limit.


How can it hurt? If anything you can save yourself some money.

2. If you're not 10 minutes early, you're late.

Your boss, your teachers, your co-workers... They all notice. Be the early one.

3. If you find yourself waking up feeling miserable, start the day by making your bed and washing your face.

Coming back to a made bed after a sh*tty day can change the world.

4. It's okay to fall off track once in a while. You'll only be wiser for next time. (Don't push it, though!)

When I say fall off track I don't mean COMPLETELY off... Just make sure you hold onto something that reminds you to keep going. You'll figure it out... Sometimes it takes years and that's okay.

5. Don't fight your family. They ARE always going to love you.


I used to fight my family and try to push them away... It was probably the dumbest thing I've ever done looking back. So, even if you say, "I'm never going to like them!" Trust me you will. Unless they're actually toxic a**holes...

6. Mom actually, seriously, literally, insanely knows everything.

It's crazy, I swear my mom is psychic. Or she can see the future. I used to do the opposite of what she said and my life was messier... Now that I found out about her powers I listen and things run smoother. Weird. Love you, Ma.

7. If an elder in your family tries giving you money as a gift or to cover lunch... Reject it first.

They won't stop insisting and they will force you to take the money even if you say no 3,000 times. So why not earn some brownie points and act like you seriously didn't need it. Meanwhile, you know how badly you need it.

8. An e-mail and/or a phone call goes a long way.

Don't pester... But if you're the one who calls to "follow up on a resume," a week or two after you applied, you're the standout!

Also, as a college student, I find e-mailing and staying in touch with professors builds a relationship and engraves your name into their brains. As long as you're good at writing e-mails and a good student, they'll usually instinctively like you more; seeing how much effort you spent on communicating.

9. If you hate school, just suffer through the attendance, and make sure the teacher knows your name.

Even if you actually have no idea what Descartes sixth meditation is about... Just show up, do the work consistently, and build a relationship with the teacher. They won't fail you if they see effort. (Just don't give them a reason to!)

10. It seems like the end of the world sometimes... it's not.

"And this too shall pass."

11. If you hate yourself one day (or even all the time), just pretend you don't.

Did you know our facial expressions can influence our emotions?

12. Line up another miserable part-time job before quitting your current one.


Waitressing, customer service, reception... We've all been there and it usually sucks (Unless your parents spoil you too much). So, if you need to get the hell out of there, make sure you have somewhere else to go before you quit. And give 'em a notice in advance, don't be a d*ck.

13. Traveling is the best thing in the world.


I don't need to explain much more. I think we can all agree we want to witness the beautiful parts of this world we've never seen before.

14. If someone doesn't say thank you when you hold the door for them...

...hit them with the classic under-your-breath-but-you-know-they-heard-you type of "you're welcome!"

15. Respect authority, even if you think you're right.


Just FULLY cooperate and it WILL be easier. It's also great to make friends with authority figures. Talk to everyone! Make connections and maybe you'll learn something new.

16. Spend time outside and in public.

After high school, you aren't forced into a classroom five days a week where you will have to socialize. After high school, you can decide to chill in your room and do nothing. But seriously don't make a habit out of it, you will end up feeling like crap when you realize you have no friends.

17. Don't roll your eyes at people.

So rude. Eye-rolling just makes it look like you're admitting you're wrong and you have no defense to whatever made you roll your eyes.

18. Life's a b*tch and then you die... But guess what? Even B*tches have fun!

mean girls

News flash, we are currently all in the process of dying. Stop worrying so much and try to have fun even in the dullest of moments.

19. If you're speaking about something professional, call don't text.

You do realize we still have a call feature on the iPhone, right? Use it.

20. Decorate the Christmas tree with your family amidst your teen angst.


It really seems like a horrible excursion to pile into a mini-van, cut down a tree in the freezing cold, and then hang shiny balls while developing a rash on your hand from the prickles... But down the road, you'll regret not doing it.

21. The D.A.R.E. program makes it seem like drugs are just freely handed out.


That sh*t's expensive. And you don't want to do it, anyway (Minus weed it's harmless, just wait until you're old enough!) .

22. Smile and say hi to as many people a day as you can.

You never know if you just made someone feel a little better or accepted.

23. Make sure the E-brake is OFF.


It will sound like you're dragging a dead body attached to your car and will ruin your brakes. Just double check.

24. Use all your resources even when it seems pointless.

Even if you learn absolutely nothing, you gain connections.

25. What's most important in life?


26. Know how to swim.


It is a basic skill everyone should know. You don't need to be Phelps. Just doggy paddle if you're really that bad.

27. If you don't have a firm handshake, learn how to, a**hole.


If you are a lady shaking a man's hand, strive to have a firmer grip than him. You'll either scare the sh*t out of him, gain serious respect, or get complimented on how great your handshake is! That's my favorite compliment if I'm being honest.

28. Step back and think before you explode.

Seriously dude, don't press send. You probably used the words, "like" and "literally" too much in your text, anyway. Wait 10 minutes and see if it's worth it.

Also, it's better in person.

29. Question everything.


Never assume you're safe or well-informed. There could be a murderer in that restaurant... Question anything that you aren't sure of. Hell, even question what you are sure of.

30. Don't trust a headline or statistic until you know it's credible.

What if you're looking at a bar graph from 1968, not 2018? You might think this is obvious, but there are clearly plenty of people who share false information. We've probably done it ourselves before. We should all work on that.

31. Park far from the store.


Walk, you lazy youthful soul. Unless you require a handicap spot or weather conditions are poor.

32. Take the stairs.

"I have no time to workout!" *takes elevator*

33. Don't text people when you want to tell them how you feel.

It only makes you feel good for like 20 seconds and then you'll probably read it back saying, "What was I thinking?"

34. Have something to be proud of.

Otherwise, you'll get lost. Life is confusing.

35. Listen to old school music, the classics, and artists who inspired what we hear today.


We cannot let the real instruments die people. Do you know how fun a jam band show is?

36. If you're inspired, act fast.

Don't let inspiration slip away. Sometimes it's easy to forget that great feeling.

37. If you start, finish.

Finish what you start and do the best you can at it. We all have off days, that doesn't mean you suck if you mess something up a few times.

38. When vacationing by airplane, try to fit everything into a carry-on.


You don't want your favorite bikini stowed in the wrong plane when you go on vacation. Plus you spent all of your money on Corona's and can't buy a new one.

39. Change your oil.

Love your car and it will try to love you back.

Good Luck!

Cover Image Credit: Emily Fahey

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5 Things I Wish My Younger Self Knew To Do (And Not Do) In College

Be prepared to make mistakes.

There are times in everyone's life where they think to themselves I wish I knew what I knew now when I was younger. Now that I have graduated college I've looked back on my experience and would like to share a top five list of dos and don'ts of what to do in college.

1. Request international roommates

Some people like their space and that is ok. However, other people like to be social and meet new people with different perspectives. I was fortunate enough to have international roommates during my years at USF. The experience taught me a lot about the world around me and also a lot about myself as well. For anyone moving into an apartment or dorm, ask the people in charge of roommate matching to match you up with international roommates you won't be disappointed.

2. When moving into an apartment, less is more

It's all fun and games until you are knee deep in a pile of clothes. I learned this the hard way when my already small apartment began to shrink as I filled it with clothes, plastic drawers, posters, a mini fridge and various other things. I also bought all of my cleaning supplies and toiletries in bulk. While this saved money it also meant less space.

My recommendation is, treat moving into an apartment or dorm-like living on a tropical island and bring only the essentials with you. Two weeks worth of clothes a pair of swim trunks and maybe two pairs of jammies. In addition to this, you should also have at least two formal outfits to wear for interviews and formal events (until senior year I only had one).

3. Learn to depend on yourself more

This is perhaps the hardest lesson one can learn in college and adult life. When I lived in Miami I had friends that lived relatively close by. As a result, I could call anyone on the phone on any given weekend and they'd be able to hang out with me. Once I moved to Tampa I became depressed as I had few friends up there and when I would call people on my old contacts list they would text me that they were working or sometimes fail to respond at all. I grew more and more depressed until one day I looked myself in the mirror and thought, 'ok, at this point you have two options.

You can feel sorry for yourself and continue to depend on others to make you happy, or you can try and find happiness within yourself.

Eventually, I found that inner happiness through meditation. As far as awkwardness is concerned when meeting and making new friends, my advice is that it's always awkward. But just because situations are awkward doesn't necessarily mean they aren't beneficial. A famous basketball player said you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

4. Don't Be afraid to ask for help when you need it

Being self-sufficient is great but don't be too prideful to ask for help when you are struggling. Had I done that, I probably wouldn't have had to retake as many classes as I did. Remeber, part of being a student is having the opportunity to be able to talk with multiple people to find out what the best options and strategies are to ensure your success. Not just academically, but in the real world. The sooner and more often you take advantage of it the easier it will be.

5. Be prepared to make mistakes

So many people approach college with the notion that they aren't allowed to fail. This notion is sadly a bunch of BS. While certain factors make failing inconvenient such as, having to stay in school for an extra semester or the possibility of losing financial aid, the fact is, things happen. You could study and fail because you didn't understand the material as well as you thought, or you could not study and fail because you refused to review any information. In any event, failure is not the end of the world. I bought a poster at the USF poster sale, "The Dalai Lama's Instructions for life.

One of the instructions reads, "When you lose, don't lose the lesson." If there is any good that comes out of failure it's that it serves as a reminder of what it is we are really fighting for. Once you paint a clear picture of that in your mind, you can formulate strategies on how to achieve your goal with fall involve the 3rd and fourth items on the list.

Cover Image Credit: Ryan Hackland

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