I have met people younger than 25-years-old who stare into the mirror and dapple their cheeks with their fingers, checking for elasticity.
I stumbled upon a YouTube tutorial about how to deadpan facial expressions, minimize crinkles in the forehead and restrict smile and frown lines.
One of my classmates put a bottle of wrinkle cream on her poster for her speech about herself in my intro to human communication studies class,
“That’s anti wrinkle cream. I put that on there because I use it every day. So hopefully, when I’m 30, my skin will just be spick and span.”
Our society gives young women ideals to emulate. Perhaps the most widely emulated is the Barbie doll, which generated sales of $1.3 billion last year.
One of the first women most American girls are taught to copy is Barbie, and recently, one girl took it to the extremes.
Valeria Lukyanova is believed by scientists to have had extensive plastic surgeries, and coincidentally is identical to the doll.
Our society seems obsessed with holding on to youth. With last summer’s new “Great Gatsby” movie, it seems a resurgence of energy focused on tragedy of losing innocence and youth is emphasized.
Even in this revered literary work, attention is centered on the glamour of youth and the purity of young love, rather than wisdom and maturity. “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?” sings Lana Del Rey in the movie’s soundtrack.
Of course I will, Lana. Youth and beauty are certainly not everything. Even though in our society it may seem that way.
Maybe I am biased. I have always glamorized the idea of looking older. When I was a high school junior, my best friend was in ninth grade. She would sneakily smoke cigarettes in the school parking lot and date guys who were in their 20s.
I never did any of that cool stuff because I was too busy writing poetry on my sneakers and being mistaken for a 12 year old. People still tell me I look 16, (I am 22,) and that I will be thankful for that when I am in my 40s.
So I cannot exactly relate to the people on the opposite end of the spectrum who go under the knife to look younger. Of the 1.5 million people who received cosmetic plastic surgery in 2013, eyelid surgery was the third most common.
My fresh, young eyelids are nice, and being young is fun, but it is also terrifying to be caught in the uncertainty of what will happen and where society needs to progress in order to build the best future.
Once I figure that out, I will probably have wrinkles. And I will wear them proudly because I will view them as a marker of what I have learned. I have always admired people older than me.
Their grace and knowledge is inspiring, and the wrinkles just prove that they have lived through it all.
Whenever I see someone who appears to have endured surgery and botox, and who wears clothes that are too young for them, I feel unsettled.
Another lesson Gatsby taught me is that once youth is gone, it will never come back, and we need to be OK with that in order to grow.
I am not saying that I never fret over my appearance or I worry that I will age like a suitcase; I do sometimes. I just try to focus on the bigger picture and remember that youth is overrated.