Vanity & Speed. A Societies Vice.
Thursday night for me was a feast for the brain. Being a busy business owner I was off galavanting around Dublin and had to record my favourite TV shows and brain food. First of the night was Bodyshopping on RTE, Followed by Micky Flanagan Thinking aloud on Sky.
In body shopping we saw Donna travel for a breast augmentation, Margaret have an eye lift and mother and daughter Anne and Bianca have anti-ageing work done. While thinking aloud saw Micky explore the world of the Mid life crisis.
Fundamentally, I do agree with anything that makes people feel better in themselves, but there is a crux. Let's come back to this.
The one thing that stands out through all of the stories individually is each person, is trying to attain a level of superficial beauty they perceive to be the acceptable norm in the world. We are surrounded by advertising telling us that if we have this car, wear these clothes or use this toothpaste. We can be sexy, happy and never have to worry about the generic day to day again.
I want to touch on Margaret for a second. A middle aged woman giving of herself to her ill father. The level of kindness and compassion she shows for him very evident. There are so many who don't have such fortune. She and others like her, caring for the elderly, ill and infirm could teach us all a thing or two about humility and humanity.
I was taken aback when Margaret said when she is in social circles she pulls back, feeling like she has nothing to say and doesn't want to have people looking at her. This is called Imposter syndrome and is something most suffer from to a degree. In a recent worldwide study 60% of people said they had avoided contributing to a group forum to avoid drawing attention to how they looked.
What matters here is not how tired she felt she looked. It is not in the superficial but very much in her substance. A hard working, kind, caring woman who has the love and admiration of many. Especially her father. Not one of them focused on her eye lids.
Mother and Daughter duo Anne and Bianca were in together for Anti-Ageing treatments. Anne having her skin peeled with a laser, Bianca at 24 starting a course of Botox. Again two people wanting to conform to what they think the rest of the world expects from them and looking for the easy option.
I call it the easy option because people are being sold cosmetic surgery as the first stop for anti-ageing. It does nothing for your body medically, doesn't make you fitter or won't make you live any longer. In Thinking Aloud Micky Flanagan met with a 73 year old fitness enthusiast who looked 40. She exercised every day, drank plenty of water and most importantly didn't smoke.
So coupled with the advertising man telling us we have to look and act a certain way, we now have the issue of speed and impatience. Where 10 years ago we would sit listening to the modem dial into the internet and watch the pages slowly form on screen, we now shake in anger tapping the screen if our smart phones don't open our favourite website, video or Facebook page in under 5 seconds. If it goes past 10 wondering if the site or phone network is down.
Now the concept of living a healthy life is arduous and inconvenient. Eating and drinking well. Preparing food the way it was done before everything was available at a minutes notice. Why should we spend a life time making work for ourselves and doing things the old way when we can have it all quicker with a higher cost.
Back to the crux. Everyone should have the right to feel good in themselves, no matter what it takes. Try it the old fashioned way first. Learn to see the substance and not the superficial. Live a life that is slower in pace and it will last longer, you will look and feel the way men and women are supposed to look and feel at that age. Take care of the inside both physically and mentally, it will show on the outside.
If you have exhausted all other avenues and still feel that what is on the outside isn't where you want it to be. Then and only then should you change the features your ancestors loaned you.
Just remember in changing them, you are telling the next generation that what you have to them. Just isn't good enough.
How you walk in the skin you wear is your decision. Why not embrace it?
What other choice do you have?