(COMIC) The Fine Art of Getting Old, Fat, and Bald.
I love getting older. I love the person I’m turning into, the lessons I’m learning and the wisdom gained. Sure, My hairline is escaping, much like the Jews escaping slavery in ancient Egypt, and my waist is expanding, but I see that as a fair price to pay for the ability to navigate life a little easier. Aging is an awesome experience, but it can be wasted. My friend Jim made an excellent point; “Just because someone is older doesn’t mean that they are wiser. They could have had a lifetime of reinforcing the wrong ideas and bad stereotypes.” I can’t argue with that logic. Lord knows I have met my fair share of ignorant, foolish older people – – the old racist, the fifty-year old woman who still acts like she’s still seven-teen, or the old baby-boomer who places too much emphasis on material things. Clearly, none of them have grown or learned anything with their age, thus wasting it, and that is a grave sin in my book. You’re mind should (at least on occasion) be open to learning new things; not just facts or statistics, but things about yourself and others. One of the things that continually bums me out about older people is that some of them think they have nothing more to learn about themselves or about the nature of human beings. This is dangerous thinking because when you stop learning, you have one foot in the grave (and you are clearly not getting out enough).
It also bums me out when my friends complain or are afraid of aging. You have nothing to fear my Lovely Ones, so long as you are learning and developing as a human being. Some say you are pretty much the person you’re always going to be once you’ve reached high school, but this is a very limiting perspective to have. I’ve met so many people who are completely different from what they were when I went to school with them, and different for the better. What a horrible world it would be if our personalities never really changed much past the age of six-teen. Remember all the embarassing shit you did in high school? College? A few years ago? I’m not talking about a hilarious prat fall, but when you said something stupid and ignorant, or held an ignorant idea in your head. You can grow out of that shit with time. That’s the magic of getting older. Don’t run from it. Don’t fear it. Losing your hair? Man up and shave it off. Getting fat? Work out a bit more and don’t eat so shitty (and you know some of you eat like you still were in high school). Wrinkles? Who gives a fuck?
The media puts way to emphasis on youth. It tricks you into valuing beauty and youth too much, and that when you get old, you are no longer desirable or interesting. I have to give that notion a big Laurel and Hardy “Fuck that”. This is relatively new development in film and television. You ever look at old movies from the 60’s and 70’s? Gregory Peck must have been in his forties when he did Guns of Navarone. Chuck Bronson was damned near sixty when he started the Death Wish series. All the women (love interests) in those older movies were at least thirty when they got popular in Hollywood. What happened? Why did the face of “cool” get younger and younger? The rumor that Hollywood is ran by pedophiles is starting to make sense.
It’s not just film, but also television. It’s kind of scary I think that my generation was the first to really be “raised by television”, with all the advertisements and messages that come with that. All the actors are trendy and young, all the ads insinuating that our worth is tied to our youth and looks. I completely understand why so many of my friends fear aging.
I do too.
I understand that aging will always be scary, but I think that some of that fear (these days) comes from having part of my identity shaped by television and ad agencies for my entire life.