Everyone gets older, yet some people never seem to age. Earlier this week I met up with a friend I’ve not seen in years. We studied together at university and, without her much needed encouragement, I probably wouldn’t have got the grade I did. She now has a daughter and we’ve not met in person for around 4 years, so it was nice to be able to grab lunch with them both after so long. The first thing my friend said to me was that I haven’t aged, which took me by surprise. However, my frame of reference for ageing is a bit different to that of women’s magazines and mass media. Age is not about how you look… it’s about how you act.
Due to a vampire like aversion to bright sunshine, I have pretty good skin for a 38-year-old. So much so that I have considered photographing the look of surprise on people’s faces when I tell them my age. I’m always a bit shocked by the surprise because I often forget that many of my friends are younger than me, that some of my friends are older than me, and very few are the same age. I forget the actual numbers and subconsciously assume we’re all a similar age because we like the same things, visit the same places, talk rubbish, act daft and sometimes go off on big rants to set the world to rights. We may have a variety of responsible jobs and manage to do a perfectly good impression of a grown-up when we’re at work, but we’re not friends because of that. Even people I meet at work become friends because of something else.
It’s a passion for life and the ability to retain a child like wonder about something in this world that keeps us young. Bodies age – that part’s inevitable – but we can keep our minds young if we try. Stop worrying about wrinkles and start smiling at strangers. I may have switched off Radio 1 and prefer Twitter to Facebook, but anyone who’s seen the look of glee on my face when I walk through Topshop at Oxford Circus will know that I’m still a teenager inside. I recently listened to a retired fashion designer in her 70s talk about her career and noted that she had far more energy than many people half her age. Finding something, anything you really enjoy in life is what keeps you feeling young. Face creams are only worth the money if they make you feel good. There are plenty of free things in this world that make you feel good too though. Find them.
Image via By Diamond Geyser‘s Flickr photostream.