How women can shift their perspective on ageing

Why do women fear ageing?

Pearce believes that fearing the physical changes associated with ageing is often inextricably linked with profound, existential concerns about whether we are living our best lives.

Our bodies and appearance are convenient scapegoats for deeper concerns and insecurities. Many fall into the trap of thinking if they can just look the way society deems most desirable, everything else will fall into place.

“In Australia, longevity is going to happen to all of us. We are the eighth longest-living country in the world,” Pearce said.

But somewhere in our 30s to 50s, many start to question the quality of that longevity, perhaps prompted by the premature deaths of family members, a lack of passion for their careers, or losing touch with friends.

“People get to a point and think, ‘Is this as good as it gets? Is this all there is? Does my life get any better?’ It sounds a bit morbid, but these are some spiritually urgent questions people begin asking themselves. And I think that’s why they begin to question the anti-ageing and medical longevity movements because most people, regardless of how their skin looks and what pills and potions they’re taking, actually just want to have a great life,” Pearce said.

Once women realise the futility of trying to keep up with ever-changing beauty standards, Pearce describes a ‘graduation’ into asking more meaningful, better-quality questions to address the fear of older age.

These women may ask themselves, ‘How do I want my life to be?’ rather than focusing on how they want to look.

See also  Jo Westh on how 4 Voices is helping vulnerable women

When you start asking these more profound questions, the idea that diet, exercise, or a particular aesthetic can solve your self-esteem issues is exposed for the lie that it is.

Pearce knows this all too well, having personally overhauled his lifestyle from a self-described “beer-drinking, red bull-guzzling, cigarette smoking workaholic” to a “raging vegan” who shaved with imported Kenyan avocados while living in Ireland.

He remembers thinking, “If I can just get my body right, my diet right, and look a certain way, I’ll be able to deal with everything else”.

After a few years, he realised that the perfect diet could not guarantee a long and happy life, especially if he neglected his relationships, hated his job, spent more than he earned, and lacked a sense of self and spirit.