Do You Want to Defy Your Age?

The AARP recently published a slide show that first irritated me then caused me to think more deeply about this relentless process of aging. The slide show illustrated age 70+ celebrities whom  the AARP labeled as “age defying.” All of them were women.  I would bet substantial money that most of them had invested substantial sums in plastic surgery.

First, I do not judge anyone who wants to enhance their appearance.  If you can afford plastic surgery and feel a need, go for it.  Just be prepared for possible negative outcomes (have you seen Bruce Jenner?) and/or head scratching by family and friends who may no longer recognize you.

What I don’t like is the AARP holding up wealthy celebrities as a standard of “age defiance” to which we all should aspire. No one should think that natural ageing is an illness or health condition that needs to be prevented or corrected.

This slide show was a mistake by the AARP.  I wonder who the editor was that approved this? Was it a female worried about wrinkles and sagging? Or maybe the editor was a male who can’t see beauty in older women who look their age?  Why weren’t any men featured in the article? We know that there are plenty of male celebrities who have had “work” done.

This brings up even bigger questions: What does it mean to “defy your age”? Should “age defiance” be on everyone’s agenda?

After considerable thought, I have arrived at this conclusion. First, we should embrace or at least accept our age.  Pushing against our age only adds to whatever stress and discomfort we might be experiencing.  However, we should all aspire to counteract the negative health effects of  ageing. By this I mean adopting proper eating, exercise and sleep habits. All of this can maintain and even improve your health.  Wrinkles won’t hurt you.  Thirty pounds of belly fat will hurt you. Being a couch potato will hurt you. Yes, these factors will hurt you at any age but the consequences are more dire as we move into AARP territory.

Sadly, it appears that in our culture, older folks have not done a good job of taking care of themselves so a more than a little “age defiance” help may be needed.  That help will not be found at the plastic surgeon’s office.

Here is a link to the AARP slide show.

So what are your thoughts on age defiance? Would you go under the knife if the price was right?





  1. John S. says

    My first reaction would be Jane Fonda’s line from the slideshow — “Get a life.”

    That said, I would never consider plastic surgery until it starts to look a lot better on the Hollywood stars who can certainly afford to engage the best practitioners possible but still manage to look like wax dummies.

    At age 67 I avoid getting my picture taken because I simply don’t like the way I am aging and I don’t even like to see what I look like in a photograph. I take care of myself physically, work out daily and watch my weight. I am in great shape but I am losing my hair, which really bothers me. I can put up with the wrinkles and the liver spots and the other normal signs of aging. I have no problem with these inevitable physical signs, but hair loss is not a universal part of the aging process. Despite what geneticists might say, it strikes at random. I am descended on both sides from a long line of people who died in their 80s and 90s with far more hair than I have today.

    In the greater scheme of things hair loss is certainly preferable to Alzheimers, Lou Gehrig’s Disease or Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I am very grateful to have my health and what I believe is an otherwise healthy attitude toward aging.

    If there was a guaranteed, relatively quick and painless way to add just a little more on top I would do it in a second. And I would do it because it would make me feel better about myself.

  2. Barb says

    I am a 59 year old RN and I can safely say I will NEVER have plastic surgery. I know too much about the complications and the infections that can follow any surgery so why needlessly exposure to the risk. I’d like to look 40 forever but I am a slender and fit healthy woman who is getting gray hair and wrinkles and there are far worse burdens to bear. I agree with you that AARP made a big misstep.

  3. JOAN HUHN says

    In this country, people discriminate against age. If you want to continue working for any reason, then you should consider looking better and consider a face lift. I had it done when I was 58 and it still looks good. I don’t have grey hair- I dye it- not fat and very few wrinkles (hereditary) I am in Real Estate and was opening my own office. Appearance is very important in most careers. IF you are going to clean houses, forget it, do it for yourself.
    This way you can look in the mirrow without feeling too bad and wear stylish cloths without people saying that you look like some old lady that is trying to prove something.
    Looking better is good for your mindset, and entire life (as long as your back and knees hold up anyway)

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