To be frank, I despise anti-aging propaganda.
I didn’t know how much I detested anti-aging tactics until my Nutrition 313 professor listed off a ridiculous amount of methods some individuals use to prevent aging.
The thought of people going great lengths to disguise a natural process for human beings struck a nerve in me because some individuals don’t get the privilege to see their “older” self due to untimely death at young ages. I would bet a pretty penny that a 21-year-old who died in a car crash would love to trade places with a 78-year-old in a heartbeat.
Humans weren’t designed to look young their whole life. If we were, then that would be a fact of life, but it’s not.
I view wrinkles and grey hair as a badge of honor. If one makes it as far as getting grey hair and wrinkles, it implies years of growth and life experience.
Whoever convinced people to view growing older as an undesirable process owes an apology to the millions of people getting botox, surgery or spending insane amounts of money for anti-aging products.
“Can we go back to bodies being functional and not like barbie suits,” Tiktok user Kiera Breaugh said. “Why do we have the expectation to look 20 forever? Why are we giving it so much power and chasing after it for our entire life?”
I couldn’t agree more.
When I look at my grandmothers and grandfathers, great-grandmothers and grandfathers, great aunts and uncles, I don’t see “ugliness” and a failure to preserve youth, I see strength, history and beauty.
Instead of wishing I can look 20 forever, I pray I get to see myself 20 years from now.
Knowing one day I won’t have my young body and face prompts me to enjoy and nurture it while I have it and, at the same time, appreciate the thought of it completely changing in the future.
One person I feel embodies the message of embracing the natural process of aging is actress, singer and television host Tracee Ellis Ross.
Instead of engaging in surgeries, botox and other anti-aging tactics, Tracee Ellis Ross engages in natural routines that she outlined in her “five commandments for staying young”: giggle as much as possible, get your sleep, drink so much water, have as much sex as possible and love with a full and open heart.
To be clear, I’m not opposed to individuals wanting to look and feel healthy as they progress in age — that should be a goal for everyone — but there is a difference between wanting to maintain health and wanting to preserve your teenage body and skin.
At the end of the day, we can’t be “forever young” as Alphaville put it. In fact, you should be grateful if one day you experience a head full of grey hair and wrinkled tattoos.
Until then, take notes from Tracee Ellis Ross and just drink your water, workout, love, laugh and enjoy the journey of life.
Aaliyah Alexander is a junior studying journalism and international studies. Follow her on Twitter @aaliyahdanyell.