They Talk About The One Terrifying Thing All Women Have In Common. It's Very Beautiful.

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“Every laugh line, every scar, is a badge I wear to show I've been present, the inner rings of my personal tree trunk that I display proudly for all to see. Nowadays, I don't want a 'perfect' face and body; I want to wear the life I've lived.” ― Pat Benatar

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We're gonna to talk about aging in society.

I think it's a major driving force, the drive to stay young and the devaluing of age and the beauty that wrinkles bring and the wisdom and all of that.

We really don't take care of the elderly in this country, and it's really sad. Our culture's very now. We don't value their history.

I think people are very discriminatory about old people. You know, they don't wanna get old, so they try to shuffle them aside and, you know, it's a culture of good looking people, Abercrombie and Fitch, you know?

Well, I think everyone is afraid of aging actually. Especially women.

I see a lot of old people by themselves. They're alone. They're always alone. And I don't wanna be alone.

Since I turned 30, I instantly started thinking about aging and I just got super-terrified all of a sudden for now, like, I run a magazine and feel like I'm, like, helping women and, like, what happens when that's, like, taken away from me, or am I gonna be just discarded?

I was thinking I don't have a fear of aging. But it is the fear of becoming invisible and I think it's very, they're like becoming kinda one and the same in our society. That terrifies me.

You're definitely, definitely worried about it. You feel like doors aren't as open to you whenever you get older. I almost feel like if I don't achieve certain things by the time I'm 30, that doors are closed to me.

Am I gonna have a career? And am I going to have a husband? And, like, at this point, am I gonna make it work? You know, and, like, well, I don't have someone yet, and, like, well, what if I'm 30 and, you know, or what if I'm 33 and I don't have someone, or when am I gonna have a kid? Or, like, is it normal for me to wanna have a kid in three years or should I be worried that I have to have a career first and then do this? And, like, those questions are kind of, I think, all surround that idea of getting older in a physical way, right? Like this idea of your internal clock or your biological clock.

It wasn't until this last year that my mother started prodding me about babies and she also told me that for the last couple of years, she's been buying baby clothes for my future children, which is really weird.

We get out of our age of fertility and then what makes us beautiful?

As a woman, you feel like you're, you know, you're not gonna be as pretty and you're gonna miss being like an object of sexual desire, which is kind of terrible to say, but, you know, it feels nice to feel pretty.

The most unattractive time as a woman when you're looking at aging versus beauty is those women who are just trying to look young. Like, they're not trying to look beautiful, they're just trying to look young.

Right.

And it totally augments their whole being, with the way they carry themselves where they just wanna look young, and youth is beautiful, but, like, in its time. There's like a variety of different people within my family who have, like women, that have had plastic surgery and, like, face lifts and, you know, breast implants and some of them are really happy with them, and then some of them will talk to me and be like, you know, now that I'm 50, like, I actually feel like this is, like, a alien part of me, like it's not actually part of me and I wish that I could remove it. I wish I could have told my 22-year-old self, like, you don't need to do that.

Totally honest? I have considered plastic surgery. I do this sometimes in the mirror and it look like, oh, it'd be nice to lift that, right? But I hate the idea of touching, going under the knife. The only reason anyone would think about doing that is the pressures of society.

I see laugh lines as really beautiful. I'd always thought crows feet were, like, one of the prettiest things that you could have. The only way you can get crows feet is from smiling. And wrinkles on your nose, it's a Duchenne smile, it's actually a ... neurological smile, that's a happy smile, someone who has lines right here. And people perceive that as to be a joyful person, so it's like we avoid all those laugh lines but really when we get older and we see those on people, we're like, wait, that is what's beautiful.

I think I like being who I am. And being who I am right now has some wrinkles attached. And that's okay.

What are some pieces of advice that we have for people that are afraid of dying or afraid of death or maybe watching their parents or grandparents go through that?

It's the one thing we all go through. It's the one thing we all have in common.

I fear in getting older that I wouldn't live a purposeful life. So I hope that every day I can just live fully and continue to be conscious of how I can always better myself and better those around me, create just a warm environment.

I think that a lot of the fear of death is the fear of becoming invisible, of not existing, of losing the ego. And I think that what I would like to believe death is and what I feel in my bones it is, is not so much a losing of the ego, but a gaining of the everything else. And I think that if we can, if I can hold that idea, then the older I get, the closer I get to the everything else. And then it is that you add as you age as opposed to losing.

I am less and less afraid of aging, because as I age I become more and more serene and I discover all kinds of things I can do that I could not do when I was younger. After a while, I decided I like myself the way I am. And I find the pressures of society are less.

The older you get, for me anyway, the less afraid I am because what's the worst that could happen? I could die. Big deal! I'm gonna die, you know? In the meantime, think of all the adventures I can have. Think of what I can do. Think of the people I can meet or the places I can go. I'm not afraid.

My mother tells me to use up the day. Open the windows, take a walk, be the best I can be, wherever it takes me, go, come home, and spread the story. Mary Sue is 60. I've never met her, but I know she's stunning. Told me that most of her life is behind her. Is supposed to have all the answers by now but is just figuring out the questions. Says she doesn't want to waste a moment. Her body hurts some days. And boobs? Boobs really do head south. She teaches yoga and married the right man. She remembers where her keys are. Says 60 is great. And awful. And wonderful. And big. Tells me to claim my space. Not to accept anyone who cannot love me fully. Says to never fear. Tessa, well, Tessa is eight. Says she never really thinks about the future. Doesn't think about getting married or high school even. She is just happy to play.

At 19, Melore thought everything would be a party. She is tired and overworked already. Between college, a boyfriend and her job, she is tired already. Nancy? Nancy is perfectly Puerto Rican. Uses sound to triangulate her position. At 46 says aging is fucked up. You're smart as you're ever gonna be just as your body is breaking down. Says she would have been more insane about skin care and not smoking. Says she would have been more adventurous. Married the love of her life last week. Married a woman in an age where marrying the person you love is still up for debate, she is nothing if not adventurous, I'd say. When I was 10, I couldn't wait to be an adult. I'm told I am one now but I mostly play hide and seek with my responsibilities. Find myself under the covers, waiting for tomorrow to come, but I have, I have kissed most of the lips I've wanted to. I have loved most of the people I needed to. Attempt fearlessness often and remember to count my blessings. My grandmother would have been 100 by now. Her mother? Grew up at the tail end of slavery. My grandmother spent time as a maid.

I've made a living speaking my mind. I'm reminded of a poet, my friend, Mayda Del Valle. She wrote, ain't nothin' new under the sun, ain't nothin' new about death and dying, about lowering a body into the ground. Ain't nothin' new about regrets and I felt that. See, when you're old enough to feel the gravity of your existence, choices must be balanced. New shoes or rent? A beach day or overtime? Ice cream or healthy digestion? Aging is not for the faint of heart. It's about grabbing this moment because it's the only one you've got. About picking yourself back up and hoping not to fall again. It's about faith and trust and love, forgiveness and growth. About keeping your word and attempting to be a good person. This life is about making damn sure, when your final breath comes, you have said and done everything you needed to, so that when you meet your maker, all that is left to be said is thank you.

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