Royce Shook

3 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Looking Young and Feeling Young

We may not have a corner on the market for an urgent desire to stay youthful but we certainly have set a high standard for creating a virtual avalanche of products and services to attend to that need.  The quest to look young in my age group has resulted in an explosion of profits in the cosmetic and plastic surgery markets.  It’s easy to criticize our desire to want to see ourselves as youthful as simple vanity.  But it goes a lot deeper than that.

It doesn’t take a lot of research or analysis to see that my generation rounded our identities in the youth movement of the 1960s and 1970s.  Before we erupted like a generational volcano, there really was no youth movement.  But in the 1960s, when youth culture virtually took over American and indeed world culture, everything changed and that change was never really reversed. 

The culture of that time that now seems very long ago, was one of the adorations of youth.  That desire to put an age on a pedestal and worship everything about being young has permeated the culture even as we moved into middle age and is now creating the largest retirement generation ever. 

Not all of the youth worship that is easy to document in some of my age group it is just about looking sexy and dreading the physical changes of growing older.  Some of us believe the concept of youth has to do with the idealism and the commitment to causes.  The desire to change the world and to be a force to make mankind better was part of what made the new youth culture in the 1960s so unique.  Because those values are laudable, we really can’t completely condemn the desire by some of us to stay youthful and committed to those ideals.

So, the quest to stay young often manifests itself in cosmetic attempts to look young.  You can almost understand the appeal.  We all like to look good.  But the real source of youth is not in tight butts and abs and smooth, wrinkle-free skin.  The phrase “you are as young as you feel” is often scoffed.  For some, this can be used to have an excuse to behave younger than you are and perhaps socialize with younger people in an inappropriate way. However, it can also reflect that an inner youthfulness which is fueled by a youthful outlook on life and a basic policy of good health and exercise will keep anyone spy and vital.

It is when we combine those elements of “inner youthfulness’ with their cosmetic efforts to stay young that we really do retain much of our youth beyond what their years would report.   We all have met an elderly man or woman who is so full of life and fun that they leave you feeling older than they are.  The sparkle in the eye, the curiosity about everything life has to offer and that optimism and idealism that you ordinarily associate with teenagers are truly inspiring when it is being expressed by a boomer.

This is the real youth movement that we are pioneering.  It is more than dying the hair or using Botox and wrinkle creams.  It is about being strong role models to the youth so they don‘t give up on their dreams and that their idealism and excitement in living can thrive no matter what age they are.  And if that is the legacy of our generation, it’s a fine ethic for us to leave behind for future generations to enjoy.

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