Let’s be honest. The idea of growing old is a scary one, plagued with the fear of adult diapers, wheelchairs and feeding tubes. It’s only slightly less scarier than the thought of dying early and living a boring, unfulfilled life. Sometimes I look at old people and in the moment, I can practically feel my mind being pulled into a black hole brimming with haunting thoughts about my own bleak future.
But recently, one of my favourite Indonesian bloggers, Claradevi Handriatmadja (better known by her Instagram handle Lucedelaco), posted a beautiful unedited picture of herself in all her “aging” glory. She talks about her deepening admiration for her uneven skin tone, her under eye wrinkles and prominent smile lines that all hold precious stories that are unique to her being– flaws that she never expected to fall in love with. Reading through her thoughts made me reconsider. Is it really so bad to age?
While as mere humans, we generally don’t have a say in our futures, I’m slowly learning that there is still much to be said about the frame of mind that we allow ourselves to be swept in as we take in our current happenings. In fact, the way we accept things and move forward holds as much power and impact as the events themselves.
I know what you’re thinking; what does this 24-year-old even know about aging? But the truth is, we’re all aging. The only thing that separates me from the next age-conscious woman are the number of years ahead of me that I have left to prepare before circumstances start to sink in. I frequently wonder when I should start applying anti-aging serums and if I should finally take up the daily habit of using water-based sunblocks. The thought of going vegan and upping my antioxidants via raw juicing is constantly on my mind. And I’ve already started applying lifting creams to my décolletage in an attempt to hold off the sagging process for at least another decade and a half.
The difference now is that I no longer feel a hopeless, irrational fear of plummeting to my old age without a safety net. Whether it happens or not, there’s no point in dreading what so many wishful others view as a privilege and an opportunity.
As an old woman, I plan on being graceful and strong. Caring yet unburdened. Independent and loving. Feisty but nurturing. The only problem with aging is the one in our heads where we think we have to fit a certain “old person” template and tick all the boxes as we give up on having fun, surrender our freedom and succumb to being wheeled around, as opposed to dancing with joy and celebrating our lifelong survival instincts which have enabled us to come so far in life.