Why Do We Hate Looking Older?

Our workshop leader showed us her website, which displayed a nice headshot. She laughed self-consciously. “I’m not going to tell you when that photo of me was taken.” We knew what she meant and shared her reluctance. Why do we hate looking older? It’s crazy in a way, because all of us show signs of our age. No one – except Dorian Gray – is exempt. The theme fascinates me, which is why I’m exploring it in my first novel.

We hate looking older because…

Our identity is linked to our face.
While we were 4 or 13 or 28 years old, we were too busy to think about our looks, but now when we get out old photos, we see not only how young we were back then but how much we’ve changed. What happened?

Blake and me on Guam by our Quonset hut
Blake and me on Guam by our Quonset hut

Gravity tugs at us.
It pulls down our eyelids, cheeks, and everything else. The corners of our mouth may turn down, which can cause our natural expression, which used to be neutral, to appear grumpy.

We may feel we’re the only one who’s changing.
For some reason, I notice my own wrinkles more than those of my friends. Is it because I’m focused on what they’re saying and their animation? A smile lights up any face.

We worry about looking older than we are.
At least I do, because people used to think I was younger than I was, but now they don’t. An informal poll I took says men don’t care how old they look.

It’s about the number.
We can get hung up about looking older when we hit a landmark birthday. If the last decade flew by, what about the next one? Who hit the fast forward button?

Fast Forwarding
Fast Forwarding

Looking older can make us feel marginalized.
While age discrimination in the workplace is illegal, we may worry that the plum assignments, promotions, and pay raises will go to coworkers who look younger than we do.

What's a wrinkle or two?
What’s a wrinkle or two?

We don’t feel as attractive as we once did.
Except to our close friends and family (especially grandkids) who love us no matter what.

What gives me hope, drives out wistfulness, and makes me laugh at the oldie in my mirror is that our life on earth is not all there is. God offers life beyond the grave, the sort of life where we’ll get a new face to go with our new body and live forever.

So what’s a wrinkle or two? Are you kidding? Like everyone else, I’d like to erase them!

Coming next month: How to Get Rid of Wrinkles on the Forehead

Posted on April 14, 2015

2 thoughts on “Why Do We Hate Looking Older?

  1. In my mind I look and feel around 25, minus those constant aches and pains. I’m always surprised when I catch a glimpse of myself in a store window or mirror. OH, that woman with the wrinkles and sagging chin is ME? I think the fact that time is racing by is what is hardest. I turned 50 last summer and it took a few years to build up to accepting that. I still have so much I want to accomplish!

    And, yes, would love to get rid of wrinkles…:)

    1. What a thoughtful response, Mindy! I can relate to what you said about being caught by surprise. Thanks for commenting!

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