So I haven’t even reached 25 yet but I can already see that I’m going to have to do something to freeze my appearance at that age forever. Because somehow the message going around so strongly out there is that you cannot age and live a happy life. I find that hilarious and exasperating at the same time because I remember that hardly three years ago I was dying to grow up. It just shocks me that in three years from now, I’ll be dreading growing up anymore. Sounds insane? It probably is. And what’s even more insane is the pressure on the women of all ages to look like they just turned 23. I mean what is so morally wrong about being over thirty, or even forty? Not getting what I’m trying to get at? Take a look around. All the billboards have pictures of 14-year old skinny tarts screaming out how being young is the only way you’ll be considered pretty, how being thin is the only gauge of your sexiness, how if you don’t look ready to appear for the miss universe pageant, you’re not worthy of being called a human being. Seriously when was the last time you heard Andie McDowell saying ‘I don’t need to glop my face with ridiculously expensive anti-aging treatments, because I’m happy with my natural middle aged self, AND I’M STILL WORTH IT’? Have you noticed, that of the 20-21 years Oprah has been on TV, at least a good decade worth of her shows focused on her weightgain/weightloss and she still obsesses about it every other show? That when she is the richest female entertainer and one of the most influential and easily recognizable people in the world. And why aren’t there any old female celebs and icons around? All the Madonnas and the Demi Moores of the world are way too busy twisting and torturing their bodies so they don’t look their age. Why is it that when Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson and Pierce Bronson get crows feet its sexy, but when Meryl Streep starts showing a few lines on her face we switch to rhetoric mode and talk about how graceful she ‘still’ looks? Why isn’t there a website called www.judi_dench_is_hot.com? Why exactly are we going along with this facade that’s making us dread natural aging? Why can’t we let women be comfortable going into middle-age these days? Why is there so damn much pressure on us to look good all the time? Everyone is quick to lay the blame on the wretched media. True, media does project a very strong image about the aesthetics of beauty. But I suppose the problem lies within ourselves, in our own attitude and in the standards we accept for beauty. But think about it. If the African-American people continued to buy into the notions of white-western beauty, black would never have been beautiful. And if we did not iconize Jennifer Lopez’s sumptuous behind, Beyonce would still be stuck with her head down the loo trying to shed weight and the term ‘bootilicious’ wouldn’t even exist. So can we not make being middle-aged fashionable too? And I’m not talking about the creepy way most celebs with botox-frozen faces, surgically lifted God-knows-what-not with paid-trainer buffed bodies and really, really expensive ensembles are. How about a natural and real middle aged female icon, something like the late Princess Grace of Monoco, or Camilla Parker-Bowles or even Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel, or maybe Oprah without her weight obsession and makeup (she looks good even without the layers of face-paint and product-infused hair. I’ve seen it on her show)! I believe there are more important things in life than perfectly set hair and nails. But somehow we seem to prefer someone having a bad attitude with the ‘perfect look’ over an amiable person with the wrong shoes. It’s like somehow being insulted publicly by Paris Hilton is more acceptable than being seen with your overweight wife. I completely agree with author Lauren booth as she observes that: It’s just a pity so many women of 40 are scared of showing off how much they have achieved, without feeling they have to pretend their beauty is still only skin deep. You resolve to spend the rest of your life denying or delaying time – or you resolve to enjoy it. And I join her in asking: Why does there have to be such a terror of becoming a little dowdy? Why should we be cowed by the fearsome modern pressure – promulgated by the media and a host of horribly glossy celebrities – to look fantastic all the time? Can’t we learn to treat our gradual slide from sex kitten to drowsy old tabby as proof that we are supremely confident in ourselves, our friendships, our partners and our sex lives? Can’t we re-train ourselves to realize that our self-esteem does not have to be bound up in the way we look? I just hope that by the time my fortieth birthday comes around, you get to show off the lines on your face with pride. However, to perceive this clearly, you need loads of wisdom, apparently for which you’ll have to pay a heavy price, i.e. ‘AGE’.