An elixir of youth may appeal to avoid ageing, with $350 million invested in Australia in anti-wrinkle injections and $650 million on other cosmetic surgical procedures annually. For those approaching ageing with anxiety and angst, staying forever young seems an alluring alternative; a desperate attempt to thwart the inevitability of growing older.
Designing a youthful, albeit beautiful appearance may briefly disguise the self-deceit, but a positive, psychological perspective can be more paramount for living preciously, irrespective of physical aches and pains, with healthy eating and regular exercise significant for growing older gracefully.
It’s not just fabulous females indulging in ageing fiction, as a male friend, aged 60yearssomething, still happily self-employed, refuses a seniors’ card for fear of being caught out as old. Dedicated to a dye bottle to deny the obvious, he’s not the only man defying decrepitude; the conscious counterfeit created for work opportunities, financial survival and friendships unbiased by birthdays
With ageism an unfortunate truth, toying with youth can be tangibly tantalising, with the first Federal Age Discrimination Commissioner appointed just eight years ago to prevent a “use-by-date” proscription.
However, the adage “age is a state of mind” can offer a joyous reality for advanced years with frivolous flights of fun and an enthusiastic embrace of life; ironically perhaps more pleasurable with greater confidence, self-assuredness and less personal stress.
As Job 12:12 highlights so pertinently “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding”, while Proverbs 20:29 asserts that “…grey hair (is) the splendour of the old”.
Yet, despite these biblical affirmations the so-called invisibility and social isolation of older people seems entrenched in the status quo, the aged ineligible not just for employment but enjoyment too; their valuable experience eroded by a calendar that erroneously dictates a destiny to nowhere.
But Psalm 71:9 exhorts: “Do not cast me away when I am old…;” a sensible sanity that appreciates ageing can be a time for enriching and entertaining enterprise, emboldened by the sagacity and knowledge of a well-lived life.
Sadly though, the current Royal Commission into Aged Care has revealed many instances of neglect and abuse and it seems appropriate to accede to the words in Leviticus 19: 32 which opined to “stand up in the presence of the aged (and) show respect for the elderly…”
As Corinthians 4:16 states: “Though outwardly we are wasting away…inwardly we are being renewed day by day”, suggesting faith in growing older can inspire an inner peace and beauty worth celebrating.