In light of the recent anti-aging breakthroughs (namely scientists working tirelessly towards halting the aging process and a pill to prevent gray hair), it begs the question: is “aging” the new medical condition to fear? Perhaps an over-the-top question, but most women I know (and plenty of men) talk about aging as if it’s a major illness. Honestly, the way some of my girlfriends talk about wrinkles you’d think they had a degenerative disease of some sort.
These days, people are flocking to plastic surgeons like moths to a flame – all in hopes they’ll stop the proverbial clock. In fact, in 2010, 9.5 million people had cosmetic surgery. That’s up 9% from 2009, with breast augmentation and liposuction topping the list of procedures. Our fixation with youth is rampant, as the thought of age (such an ugly word) has become a stigma. It’s left me questioning my thoughts and character on the matter and, despite my best efforts, my virtues don’t seem to fall into the “grow old gracefully” bucket…
Is Aging Gracefully For Sissies?
After much thought and soul searching, I’ve concluded that I’m on the fence when it comes to this topic. While my moral character tells me I should consider my smile lines a badge of a happy life and my crows’ feet a brand of years of laughter, my vanity gets the best of me as I scrutinize my wrinkles in the mirror. (I’ll spare you my rants on the toll gravity has taken on areas below my the neck.) But instead of fretting over signs of aging, shouldn’t we be grateful we’re healthy and able? Not an easy task with titles like crows’ feet, turkey neck, old lady hands, cellulite, and age spots. It’s all too easy to get sucked into the frenzy.
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So, will scientists soon find a way to halt the aging process? It certainly sounds promising. In a study reported in the journal of Nature, scientists gave mice a drug that “flushed out” the retired cells (that accumulate naturally with age). Post treatment, the mice suffered from less fat loss under the skin (which keeps skin youthful), had fewer eye cataracts, and less muscle loss. While the research is still in early stages (read: you might be a senior citizen by the time it’s on the market), scientists are confident they’ll create a successful anti-aging cure. And if that’s not enough to lift your anti-aging spirits, this will be: they’re also working on a pill to prevent gray hair. After all, if science will soon allow us to stop the aging process, then we most certainly couldn’t have gray hair giving away our real age, now could we? L’Oreal says it is hard at work creating this cosmetic breakthrough, and expects it to be on the market by 2015. In short, this magical pill will stop “oxidative stress” (fancy words for the process by which follicles turn hair gray). The downer? If you’ve already got salt n’ pepper hair, you’re SOL.
So, what’s your take? Should aging be considered a disease? Or are we misguided in our unwavering quest for eternal youth? And if we do achieve the cure for aging, what will Mother Nature do for a living? (Starbucks barista? Wal-mart greeter?)
I’ll be the first to admit (through gritted teeth) I have definitely been “bitten” by the fear of aging (insert self-reproach here). Well then, bring on the snake oils…
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