Rethinking Youth

by | Feb 17, 2012

It really comes down to attitude.

I went to the eye specialist a while ago and came out with a clean bill of health and a new prescription for glasses to take care of the inevitable effects of “Mother Nature and Father Time”, as my ophthalmologist is so fond of saying. The good news is, I can see much better than before.

The bad news is …

I can see much better than before. With my old glasses, I could fool myself into believing that the ravages of time had left me unaffected, relative to my peers. They were showing their age. My reflection, on the other hand, showed less evidence of it. And, in my vanity, I was rather proud of how I had been able to preserve my youthful look.

Uh-huh. The application of new eyewear gave me cause to pause as I looked into my usually friendly make-up mirror and saw my face, warts and all. Well, okay, I didn’t see any warts. What I did see was a long white hair growing out of my chin. It had smaller companions sticking defiantly and coarsely out of a variety of other areas of my face too. There were little blue and plum coloured veins spidering their way over my cheeks, heading for a nose that contained cavernous, moon-cratered pores. And the lines on my forehead and around my eyes resembled cracked earth at five thousand feet.

This new knowledge of myself compelled me to rethink my perspective as a “person of youth” and to dive for my tweezers and cover-up make-up with renewed fervor. And, more seriously, (or perhaps desperately), it has obliged me to look differently upon the whole notion of what constitutes a youthful woman. Thinking more deeply about it, I recall having met some very young eighty-year-old women and some very old thirty-year-old women as well.

It really comes down to attitude.

In a youthful eighty year old, it is not difficult to look past the creases, blotches and saggy bits that typically adorn their faces, and notice the aliveness in their eyes; the curiosity they show about things and people; and the energy they put into every day. It is this aliveness that makes them compelling and attractive. Young, old people are always learning. They are not content to sit on the sidelines of life simply because their bodies are in decline. They get on with their lives and inject into them the balm of good humour and the gracious resignation that allows them to look in the mirror and see more than the spectre of the grim reaper looking back at them. They accept themselves, as is, without regret and I would guess that those close to them love and admire them all the more for it.

Maybe for me, there will always be some measure of vanity but I’d like to think that as I age, I’ll also be lucky enough, and wise enough, to retain an aura of youth simply by being less interested in me and more interested in the people and things around me.

What do you think?Gwyn Teatro

Gwyn Teatro Subscriber
Gwyn Teatro is the author of internationally acclaimed leadership blog " You're not the boss of me" . She is a Certified Professional Coach with a Masters of Science degree in Management. With career experience spanning financial services and HR, Gwyn has coached, senior business leaders and groups on leadership, organizational effectiveness and strategic business planning. Although now technically retired, she continues to have a keen interest in leadership development and helping leaders (or those who aspire to be), find their success.
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