Ageless means “being of all generations”
To want to look youthful is not an issue; masking it behind a facade of fear is. Acknowledging what prevents us from owning our years is essential. We are all aging — every one of us, every minute of every day. We will never be chronologically younger than we are at this moment. The good news is how we handle it will determine if we grow old or if we become ageless. Becoming ageless happens when we shift our perspective.
This shift is happening. We are entering a new era: the fashion of aging. Never before have we embraced the natural cycle of life as we are doing now.
As a young woman, I admired women who went grey. They had an aura of wisdom and youthful curiosity. I wanted to know what allowed them to be so confident and free.
Years later, as my grey began to appear, I lacked the courage to let it show. Ageism is rampant in the world in which I work. I have been a commercial casting director in Los Angeles for more than 30 years. In this image- and youth-oriented business, was I endangering my livelihood if I allowed my age to show? In the realm of advertising, as you approach 50 you are looking at the exit door.
So, I colored grey. Momentarily I felt better, and yet I felt like a charlatan for hiding — the dread of exposure was always hanging over me. When I finally decided to let my grey shine, my friends were shocked. The need to come to terms with my aging was crucial for my journey of self-realization. Acceptance of who I am was imperative. I needed to face myself without shame. It was not easy. At times, I was unrecognizable to myself.
Grey Hair in Fashion
A current trend in fashion, spearheaded by young men and women, is to color their hair grey. They see the beauty in what those experiencing the transition see as appalling. The door has opened for those who have been hiding behind the facade of youth.
Forerunners to the Fashion of Aging
The secret those women knew so many years ago was that they did not need society’s permission. They followed the course of nature, flowing with the change of seasons, understanding the power of renewal, regrowth, and resilience.
The energy they exuded crossed generations. There is nothing more attractive or sexy than someone living their truth. Those women were the forerunners to the fashion of aging. They were setting the stage for us. But society still had a stranglehold on our perceptions. The time to challenge those perceptions has arrived.
Letting Go of Society’s Stigma About Aging
However, we don’t suddenly become fashionable. First, we need to let go of our acceptance of society’s stigma about aging. The judgment happens slowly. We barely realize it is happening at all. There is a sense of irrelevance, an almost imperceptible fading. Then one day, we are shrouded in a veil of invisibility. Yet, it is not about who we are. It is about how our culture imposes its prejudice of age upon us.
Many women resist the aging process; holding onto perceived youth, they shield the truth of reality from themselves. They have not made peace with their reflection in the mirror. When I decided to follow the course of nature and let my hair grey, I let go of pressures that I hadn’t realized I was carrying around — pressures of how I was taught to be.
I am not advocating all women to go grey; it is a personal choice, just like our wardrobe. Yet, for me, it was a gateway to my authentic self. Evidence of my aging was a badge that said I could be and do as I wished. I no longer needed permission to be me. It was liberating.
To become who we are meant to be means to let go of who we once were. We can stand tall with pride, wearing the scars of our experiences and our grey as evidence of our being. With grace and acceptance, the becoming is effortless.
HMU: Joanna Wood