David Jones: Stop the clock - The secret to ageing well
The secret to ageing well might just be about changing your perspective.
Words by Justine Cullen.
For most of my life I’ve worked in an industry – fashion – that considered the inevitability of ageing as unthinkable, something that happened to Other People.
I’m now in my forties, an age I once considered to be well past anyone’s prime, and what I’ve learnt is that, luckily – as with most things we fear – the reality isn’t nearly as bad as we anticipate it to be. I don’t wake up every morning and miserably count the new wrinkles that appear when I smile. When I notice them at all, I quite like the effect. They make me look warm, like I know stuff about life that I might tell you if you smile back. Sure, if I compared like for like against the me of a couple of decades ago, I’d notice the places where gravity has taken its toll. But when I’ve got a blow-dry and I’m really well moisturised, the difference to the naked eye isn’t enough to bother me.
Maybe my newfound ease is because our society is finally starting to repent its ageist ways. For every 24-year-old Hailey Bieber making me mourn the loss of my jawline, I also see a Gwyneth Paltrow, looking better than ever at 48. For every runway I see featuring lithe schoolgirls, I see a beautifully photographed ad campaign featuring someone even older than me. The idea that representation counts didn’t come from nowhere. It makes a difference, especially when your ego is as fragile as that of a woman who just noticed her fi rst grey eyebrow hair.
These days I’m actually starting to anticipate ageing with something akin to pleasure rather than fear. I’m looking forward to getting into gardening and saying anything that comes into my head at any time and wearing too much blush and dressing more eccentrically (my look is going to be ‘Iris Apfel on Vacation’). It’s not just me, either. Studies show that self-esteem peaks around the age of 60, lasting for a full decade. I don’t know about you, but the idea of living without the paralysing self-doubt of our younger selves sounds genuinely wonderful.
I’ve realised that my fear of ageing was never about wrinkles so much as irrelevance. I don’t want to be the person who doesn’t know what Animal Crossing is, or whose musical tastes ended sharply in 2003, forever glitching on The Killers’ “Mr Brightside”.
I don’t ever want to be thought of as closedminded or stuck in my ways. You know what will make you appear older than a few little crow’s feet? Getting angry and bewildered when someone tries to explain cryptocurrency to you. My anti-ageing regimen these days includes spending a lot of time on the internet and occasionally in actual life itself, trying to remain culturally au fait and keep my brain wrinkle-free.
And for everything else, there's a serum.