Welcome to America in the year 2209 where we are entrenched in a culture that worships youth and beauty and seemingly disdains the process of aging. This assessment may sound a bit harsh, but I think it's right on.
Have you ever noticed how many ads there on the television that show older people? Actually, there are a lot if you're counting the dozens of ads for medications for high blood pressure, incontinence, arthritis, hearing aids, electric wheel chairs and a long list of other age-related ailments. If, however, the subject matter is almost anything else, chances are you won't be seeing any old faces or old bodies on your screen. Evidently the public doesn't want to have to look at aged people. Just ask some of the t.v. news anchors who have been let go from their jobs for obscure reasons which probably had a lot more to do with their ages than anything else.
This is a very undesirable mind set that seems to be afflicting our country and it is extremely detrimental to the self image of millions of "regular" people as it reinforces the widely held view that aging is something to fear and dread. Obviously, no one is excited about the prospects of losing their sight or their hearing or having reduced mental and physical abilities but that nonetheless is part of the aging process and that is what our bodies were designed to do; to be born, to grow and mature, to reach our prime and then begin the decline that eventually leads to our demise. This will happen no matter how much time or money we spend on trying to chase the reality away. But just as we should try to do with everything else we encounter in life, why not try to accept the inevitable and make the best of it. There are some good things that can happen in our later years, often people become more aware of the precious nature of time itself and more cognizant of the world around them and appreciative of the gift of life. Relationships that often took a back seat during the hustle bustle years of trying to get ahead now regain the prominent position they deserve in our hearts and minds.
The obsession that our society has with looking young and beautiful has been the cause of much frustration, despair and depression to many people, mainly women. One can be made to feel less than acceptable if they do not resemble the trim and beautiful imagine of womanhood projected in magazines, on t.v. and on the big screen. Get real. How many people naturally look like that? It's fine to want to look as nice as we can without going to the extreme of thinking we need to change everything about ourselves from our hair, our complexions, our teeth, our noses, our chins, etc. Where does it end and why is it necessary in the first place?
It's a sad commentary indeed that in a country where people are losing their jobs in near record numbers and when the figures for foreclosures are going through the roof, we have been spending in the neighborhood of $160 BILLION dollars a year to "look good". An article in the Economist from a few years back reported that American's spend more money on beauty than they do on education.
Something is very wrong with this picture. This pattern doesn't show much sign of slowing down bur rather appears to be escalating. That is a frightening analysis. In a world where there is so much hurting and so much need it would seem that there are far better places to spend our hard earned dollars than on the constant battle against aging and looking less than perfect.
One can only hope we'll wake up and join the fight against the real enemies of mankind; ignorance, intolerance and greed, but I for one am not all that optimistic.