Must Read

Ex­tracted from: Ag­ing & Be­com­ing ~ A Re­flec­tive En­quiry

SLOW Magazine - - Must Read - By Su­san Scott & Su­san E. Schwartz, PH.D © Su­san Scott & Su­san E. Schwartz, PH.D 2017

Many years ago the British Cal­en­dar Girls dis­played the beauty of their older bod­ies on a cal­en­dar. And, they were a suc­cess. Who would have thought? To some they were con­tro­ver­sial as they ex­pressed pride in ag­ing phys­i­cally. A pic­to­rial char­ac­ter­i­za­tion. A dare. Their im­ages de­fied the norm. They pushed the col­lec­tive en­ve­lope and went against the cur­rent. In fact, they boldly made state­ments through im­ages of older women and their bod­ies re­spect­fully naked. The prud­ish, up­tight, anx­i­ety rid­den was nowhere to be found on them. No con­sti­pated im­ages of ag­ing. The body was be­ing ap­plauded.

We are of an era where peo­ple are con­sid­er­ing them­selves, maybe even in­sist­ing in a re­sis­tant or de­fen­sive way, to be younger and more vi­brant that in pre­vi­ous eras. This is a tricky at­ti­tude and a pos­si­ble de­nial. Do you look like your mother or grand­mother in their house­dresses and shape­less garb? Do you act like your mother or grand­mother who gave up self-de­vel­op­ment long be­fore they were as old as you are now? Like in the old song, the times, they are a changin’. Again, this could be a sign of progress and more con­scious­ness or maybe an­other it­er­a­tion of the old de­nial. Aware­ness makes us watch­ful that we live age con­sciously.

We do not have to just com­ply with some im­age but be will­ing to shape the present and fu­ture to be con­gru­ent with whom we are now. This at­ti­tude de­pends on not try­ing to be dif­fer­ent, and en­tails be­ing con­sid­er­ate and re­spect­ful of age. Para­dox­i­cally, this older time of life con­tains the ca­pac­ity for change. We know what we de­sire and need, clearer about what fits and what does not.

And, ag­ing sig­ni­fies a def­i­nite loss of con­trol; or maybe it is giv­ing up the fal­sity of be­ing in con­trol. The scale, the num­bers, the qual­ity of pro­duc­tion, and the amount of stress – all num­ber driven, wrapped in lin­ear­ity rather than the cir­cu­lar pat­tern­ing that is more com­men­su­rate with nature. There is some­thing valu­able about the in­di­rect way, a sin­u­ous and cir­cu­lar flow lead­ing we know not where. It is a wind­ing and fo­cus around the cen­ter.

The time for con­form­ity and fit­ting in just to be ac­cepted is over. Real forms of self­ex­pres­sion de­rive not from a false front or to su­per­fi­cially con­form, but arise from the real self, a more com­plete woman self. As we age, the need to de­fine and ex­press our essence be­comes more in­sis­tent. The im­age of the older woman as frumpy is not true. Voice, artis­tic writ­ing, style, in­tel­lect comes in all th­ese nu­mer­ous gar­ments and more for ex­press­ing her soul.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.