Dubai Diaries: Why we needn't fear ageing
The real joy is when beauty is allowed to bloom.
Last week, my husband and I decided to do something that we hadn’t done in a year — watch a movie at the theatre. We’d been fans of John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place, and were curious to find out what the second instalment had in store. Amid the jumpscares and all the other nail-biting moments in the film, I couldn’t help but notice how serene Emily Blunt looked. When I pointed it out to my husband, he (predictably) commented, “We are here to watch the film, not Emily Blunt.”
But by the end of it, I could say I’d spent much of my time closely watching her face and how the wrinkles and the lines had only added to her charm. Most of us, and sometimes even the best of us, are frightful of ageing. But we do not always understand why. It may have something to do with the loss of callousness that youth affords us. Or the innocence. Or the hope that better things are waiting for you. Add to that the impossible standards of beauty that the social media has set for us. While filters and other apps can ensure we look our best, there is always that certain someone who will look fresher and better.
When I rewind to my 20s, I feel fulfilled. From stayovers at friends’ to partying all night to the excitement of meeting new people, I had rich and varied experiences that make life interesting. On the vanity front, the skin had fewer lines and wrinkles, there were no battles waged against the waistline, fuller hair but fewer greys. There can be sweet nostalgia about these things, but would I want to go back to that phase of my life? Heck, no. As we age in body, we also age in mind.
And the latter brings in something that no amount of physical grace and beauty can offer us — perspective. Innocence is a stepping stone to learning vital life lessons, and getting older is a fruition of that process. If you were to look at it a tad philosophically, fine lines and wrinkles on our faces are sum total of the journey we have had through life. And when we embark on a frenzied project to reverse these through anti-ageing and other cosmetic treatments, we are inadvertently denying ourselves the right to be who we truly are.
This is not to say that we should turn our backs to self-care or don’t pay attention to grooming. But looking one’s best at any age is different from wanting to look how you did 10 years ago. There are simple joys in taking care of yourself, preserving and protecting who you are at the moment; the latter, however, comes with the baggage of fitting in. It’s alright if you don’t fit into the clothes that you wore 10 years ago.
It’s alright if that youthful glow has made way for some lines on the face. It’s alright if the waistline has expanded. Celebrity culture often sets the standard for what is or isn’t beautiful. Today, it’s heartening to see A-list stars like Blunt and Kate Winslet creating their own template of beauty, which is less apologetic about ageing. John Keats once wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.” The real joy, however, is when beauty is allowed to evolve!