So we were recently talking about the possibility of living for hundreds and hundreds of years without aging. Someday, maybe. But for now, we do age--and as we do, our faces tend to age with us.
In fact, over at the Age Project, they have a fun parlor game you can play. Random faces pop up, and you guess how old these people are. Then you compare your answer to the guesses of others, as well as to the person's actual age. Sometimes, you're close or exactly right! Other times, you're way, way off. More faces pop up, and you see if you're getting any better at it. Crabby was pretty hopeless.
You can even submit your own photo and have complete strangers guess how old you look!
Crabby would rather eat a case of Depends.
Part of the reason Crabby was so inept at the guessing game was that she kept overestimating how old everyone was. She figured: no one would send in a photo unless they were a 50 year-old who looked 38, or 42 year-old who looked 29, or a 15 year-old who looked 24. "Fishing for compliments" was the only motivation that made sense to her.
But there were middle-aged people who looked older than their actual years, yet they submitted a picture anyway! Crabby was amazed.
However, her amazement only served to reveal an embarrassing fact about her: she has some very screwed up ideas about Looking Old.
Crabby knows how superficial it is--what counts is on the inside. She doesn't think "younger is better." It's not just a cliche that age brings wisdom--you really do get smarter about life once you've been around a few decades.
And she's not a vain Crab, she swears! She wears jeans and T-shirts and shuns make-up. No one would mistake her for Fabulous even if she had the smooth dewy skin of a teenaged beauty contestant.
So why does she care that she's looking older?
And she is. Crabby was not blessed with youthful looking genes to begin with, and she spent many of her formative years frolicking in the California sun before anyone knew what SPF meant. She looks older than she is and way older than she feels and she hates that.
As a young Crab, she used to think women who cared so much about their wrinkles were so superficial. They should be proud of their years! And the idea that some women would actually have surgery to look younger seemed outrageous. How could they be so silly! Who cares about looking young?
Then... Crabby got a bit older herself.
And she can't figure out what's wrong with her brain! Why does she care that she looks like a grown-up? Sure, contemporary cultural attitudes devalue women over 40. But since when does Crabby give a crap what contemporary culture thinks about anything?
Would Crabby buy Coors lite instead of Fat Tire Amber Ale just because more people think Coors Lite tastes better? Of course not. Those people are just wrong!
But sadly, while Crabby hasn't internalized societal beer preferences, she seems to have internalized its aversion to aging. She looks in the mirror and instead of appreciating originality and bite and nuance and complexity, all of a sudden she just wants to be watery Coors Lite again.
Would Crabby be willing to go under a scalpel to achieve Coors Lite? No. But mostly that's because she's very afraid of scalpels. There are other less invasive procedures now, still expensive and arguably silly and yet... she sometimes finds her eyes lingering on the ads with the "before" and "after" pictures. She no longer makes the judgments she used to about people who retreat to clinics for a week or two and come back "restored." (Although she certainly thinks there is such a thing as Overdoing it). She understands a little better now.
She hopes she grows out of this, by the way.
So is Crabby the only one who's struggling with this issue? Or are you all much more serene and sensible when it comes to aging gracefully? Do you youngsters think you'll ever be this silly? And what about guys? Do men give a hoot how old they look, or is this mostly a female preoccupation?
(Cartoon courtesy of Nataliedee)