The other day my husband and I were in the car on our way to dinner when an expose of Cameron Diaz’s book The Longevity Book came onto the radio. We hit the interview about mid-way through so I missed the author’s name, but as I sat there listening to this woman so confidently and eloquently call out our society on its anti-aging culture I audibly questioned who she could be? A new voice from AARP? Or maybe, an expert representative from the National Institute of Health?
After ten years in the field, I’ve become so accustomed to the leading experts address the topic of aging that the very thought a Hollywood Actress would so boldly discuss the positive of aging was probably my last guest. Which undoubtedly calls into question my social relationship with Hollywood and the parallels to youth that we so desperately hold.
An open and honest depiction of the real beauty and privilege it is to experience the aging process.
It was refreshing to hear that a woman who for so long has been a symbol of youth and beauty describe her fear of turning forty. In her book, she describes experiencing this time publicly. In interviews, questions became more frequently around her age rather than her craft. And she realized that no one cared about the biological effects that she was physically experiencing, but merely what would happen to her career now that she no longer looked twenty-five.
Although these questions are a bit shallow, arguably they stem from our collective fear of aging. And without practice in real aging dialog, our society’s questioning of the maturing process to someone who is experiencing it (at least in the way our youth drove society understands aging) the questions may seem a bit crass and inappropriate.
But rather than hiding behind a perfectly manicured face or becoming a spokeswoman for the latest anti-aging product Cameron Diaz wrote a book. A book to guide women to a better understanding of the next phase in their life. An open and honest depiction of the real beauty and privilege it is to experience the aging process. And to combat the somewhat silly notion that the awkward and uncomfortable state of our youth should somehow remain our ever present.
The book goes on to explain both the biological and social effects of aging has on women and offers a new and refreshing dialog on aging within popular culture. Stated in Chapter One, the book’s mission is to be used as a tool to reshape an already well-established dialog on what it means to grow older. A guidebook to what is to be expected during the natural progression of life and to offer a scientific understanding to a woman’s cellular body.
It was Cameron Diaz’s journey that compelled her to write The Longevity Book, and she is just one of the many influencers speaking out against stereotypes on aging, but one of the few outside of the world of the aging services.
Changing the Way, we Discuss Anything Aging
Although every woman’s experience to aging is unique, we all have a shared involvement in the process. Unlike ever before, both men and women can live a healthy and active life well into their nineties even our centurions have expressed happy later years.
As I mentioned in my last post, Meg LaPorte the Founder of Age in America, a Collection of Stories Designed to Challenge Aging Stereotypes, when asked about their age and life more than likely older adults share the happy life they have led. They express thankfulness for the path they have taken to get to where they are today.
The Longevity Book is a surprisingly pleasant and easy read that is perfect to add to your summer reading list. It offers great tips on how to openly discuss our unique experience, which is so critical to our own perceptions of self-worth. And teaches us that when we change the way we talk about the aging experience, we begin to help others find the beauty in theirs.