Is the fight to stay young worth it in the long run?

It is no secret that in our modern-day society men and women alike spend significant time and effort trying to appear younger than they really are. Throughout the course of history, it has become the collective goal of many to preserve their physicality, even going so far as to experiment with dangerous chemicals and surgeries. What do we find so desirable about youth that would make us go to such trouble to imitate it, even once it has passed us by? Is it really such a worthwhile achievement?

On the one hand, it is easy to see the appeal of maintaining the illusion of youth. For one thing, youth has always been associated with good health and beauty. Kids and adolescents are often told by envious adults to have fun while they can, for they are still in their prime, both mentally and physically. Perhaps the reason people go to such lengths to slow down the passage of time from marring their faces is simply that: they want to return to those years where they felt their best and experienced the most.

However, is not that simply the nature of life? We are born, and we grow old and, as time goes by, our minds and our bodies bear the signs of its imminent passage. There is a certain cycle to life that should be embraced, rather than feared. Why don’t we think about the creases on our faces like those on a well-read and beloved book? Sure, a smooth and shiny cover may be aesthetically pleasing, and yet, isn’t what’s inside it that truly matters in the end? Just as our experiences shape us, our age is the indicator that we have had these experiences, that we have truly lived.

Of course, there is also the sense of power and/or influence that can come with youth and beauty. The future is in the hands of the youth after all, and many seeking a hand in shaping that future think that having influence is the way to do it. Especially with the rise of social media and the internet in recent years, this has become easier and easier. Many today look up to internet role models, most of whom get their followers by keeping up a façade of perfection, which is often achieved by artificial means such as cosmetics or plastic surgery. They are admired, and they want it to stay that way.

Yet, is it all truly worth it in the end? Why focus so much on looking a certain way, whether it be to feel good or reach our goals, rather than using all that effort on what truly matters? We always complain that there is not enough money or not enough time to pursue our dreams, and yet we spend thousands a year on useless products and treatments, instead of on education, hobbies or travel.

In conclusion, while there may be many reasons why people wish to look younger than they really are, it is a rather counterproductive goal to have. In my opinion, there are more important things in life than one’s appearance. Instead, we should embrace the knowledge and experience that comes with age, and focus our attention, time and money on living what we have left of life to the fullest.

Martina L. / S6EN / EEB1 Uccle


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