If you want to live in a consumerist-free society, you’re going to have to get comfortable with the advancing years. A lot of the toxic rubbish sold to us, is all in the name of ‘staying young’. There’s nothing wrong with staying young, but also nothing wrong with getting older either! In his book Healthy at 100, John Robbins writes that one of the main reasons for the four longest-lived cultures on earth (in Chile, Pakistan, Russia and Japan), elders are treated with such respect, there is never anyone feeling lonely. In fact, the battle over which relative gets to care for the mother/aunt etc is opposite here – it’s seen as shameful if you don’t ‘win’ the contract to house her!
Elena Rossini is a talented Italian filmmaker, who made the documentary The Illusionists, on why men and women spend time and money eliminating wrinkles, bleaching their skin (or in Japan, having surgery to look like western women). Just love yourself as you are.
During her research, Elena discovered that ‘sad people make the best consumers’. She says ‘The message always seems to be you’re not okay just as you are, you need to spend money in order to be beautiful, and ultimately to be happy’. Beauty company Raw Gaia became the first in the world to never use phrases like ‘anti-aging’ on its packaging. Whether you’re 19 or 90, practice self-care.
If you imagine a woman who is 50 years, and she’s perfectly happy with her natural appearance (doesn’t wear any make-up, doesn’t care about clothing) – she’s not going to make corporations any money. In order to to maintain this endless cycle of consumption, the ideal is unattainable. Elena Rossini
Getting Old (not always getting sick)
Ellsworth Wareham MD recently died (age 104!) but had TV documentaries made about him, due to him continuing to practice as a medical doctor well into his 90s. He said the only problem was when the patient saw how old he was, just before they went under! He was a strong advocate of doing most things himself (rather than paying others to garden etc) and came from the US town of Loma Linda, which is known for being one of just 4 places worldwide, where most people live over 100. This is thought to be due to the Seventh Day Adventist religion which has strict controls on the sale of alcohol, a ban on smoking and most people being vegetarian or vegan (the largest supermarket does not sell meat). Ellsworth himself went vegan over 50 years ago and was said to be of good mental health, until his death.
Read How to Age Wisely (and well) by 84-year old Dr Norman Lazarus. He’s 84 years old, and an expert on human physiology. He’s also living proof that your later years can be lived well. He is very active, takes no medication, walks and cycles everywhere, and has just written this book, to help other oldies like him.
As you get older, you may need more medical care. Care Opinion is a site set up by a GP, where you can review the care received on the NHS. This is not like an eBay review. The notes you make are carefully read and reviewed, and changes are made (especially if several people complain about the same thing). It’s ultimately a positive and respectful site, in order to change anything that needs improvements.