It’s common to envy those that are younger than us, almost as if they’re going to stay that way forever… which is of course illogical and not directly expressed, yet that unconscious belief reveals itself through other means: sometimes overtly through the comments and jokes about envying younger people we hear and/or say on a regular basis, sometimes covertly through jealousy leading to sneaky sabotage-like behavior. If we were fully conscious of the fact that younger people were going to change too, how could we be envious or jealous? And how could we be fully conscious of that fact while continuing to deny death? <<< That’s what I mean by the denial of death being in there somewhere with this obsession with youth. Our relationship with death is so basic, a skewed relationship with it can lead us to forget that everything is changing all the time, which can keep us from fully living, and can keep us small in getting caught up in petty behaviors and mentalities in many areas, aging being only one of them.
Perhaps part of the problem is that we didn’t fully recognize our own impermanence when we were at our ‘prime,’ (
And aside from all of that, there’s this shame that comes with the signs of aging- as if something is happening that is not supposed to be happening to us. Although it is a natural process and includes everything in life we continue to be shocked and ashamed at the signs of it. What is up with that? Again I think it comes with the territory of that relationship with death- it comes as such a shock if on some level we pretend as if death is never gonna happen.
Sometimes these conversations lead to people saying how beautiful being old can be, but I wouldn’t say it’s beautiful. There’s a time for the shiny beauty of being younger. Decline and death do not seem pretty or easy. I’m just saying that it is. I don’t think we can make sense of what it is all about/ whatever we’re doing here in this life, but the flip side of not aging or dying is pretty scary to imagine- the horror of that is exemplified well in a movie I recently rewatched as an adult called ‘Death Becomes Her.’
There may be a necessary grief process with aging, and if there is then I hope we can let that be too. But spending life fighting against it and being ashamed and being angry at others for their youth and contributing to the toxic cultural attitudes around this seems like a huge waste of tiiiiime and energy when there are so many other more worthwhile things to do.