Sunday, 22 September 2013

Celebrating age

This is the year a lot of my friends (including myself) are turning twenty five. This is also the year a lot of my friends wish that they were twenty one again and not approaching the 'wrong' side of twenty. I personally can't wait for my birthday. I have another seven months to wait, so it's not an imminent occasion by any means, but for the past few years, (in fact, ever since I was eighteen) I've resented growing another year older. It hasn't clouded the enjoyment of my actual celebrations, but I have been acutely aware that growing old isn't desirable. Especially as a model. I'm not a fresh faced sixteen year old, and I don't have the body of a sixteen year old either. I have almost been conditioned to think that my career as a model is limited because I'm older. I spent a summer in Asia when I was twenty two, under strict instructions from the agency to tell all clients that I was nineteen. And still, if I'm on a job where the people I'm working with are strangers, I still sometimes knock a few years off my age.

I even have friends younger than me who class themselves as retired models. It's an odd and fickle industry to say the very least, and I won't even go into the kind of message this drills into ones own mind, never mind the minds of others. Even as I write about it I have an odd feeling that I shouldn't be writing this way. But it does for sure open the eyes to a thing or two about age and beauty. Or at least what some consider to be ideal.

Growing older isn't about age. For me it's about experiences and maturity and responsibility. It's the bigger picture. It's a picture filled with decisions and consequences. With paths and mistakes and celebrations. With multiple choices and more unknown areas than we even thought could possibly exist. The picture is one of complicated and messy lines and pathways. It's not easy to understand, and it's full to the brim of people bumping into each other in the dark, stumbling around simply trying to find their way. It isn't simple. So why did I sit with my friends last night and declare my joy about growing older? They all turned around to look at me like I'd lost my mind. Maybe I have! I think sometimes being an optimist is the only attitude that can carry us through. I watched a documentary this week which followed some older women between the ages of 75 and 90 (ish) and it was a life affirming programme to watch. It was about growth and life and being absolutely passionately in love with life.

So although we are young, we are also old. It's an odd concept to carry - being simultaneously young and old. Two opposing ways of being coexisting in one body. Often it's best not to over think these things though - life is happening before our very eyes. Whilst I've been typing this, life has been happening. Life happens.. We have birthdays and we celebrate the growing older that none of us really feel like celebrating at all. But we do it anyway, and I for one, enjoy this. I celebrate not because drowning in wine makes it easier, but because it should be celebrated well. Last night was no exception :)

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