Fear not, ladies and gentlemen, for the Golden Years may truly be golden.
A recent study now indicates that men and women ages 65 and up feel the best about their appearance, racking up a 5% higher rate of satisfaction than Americans 18-34 years old and a 12% difference from those 35-64 years of age.
Good news for those in the 35-64 age range, as it seems that everything is not “all downhill from here.”
While the study does not enlighten us as to why so many more Americans age 65+ feel so good about their physical appearance, we can speculate that societal pressures (or lack thereof) might have something to do with it.
Google “Societal Beauty Standards” and you’ll find hundreds of articles detailing how men and women, but particularly women, are put under extreme pressures by the media to be thin, have this or that shade of skin, hair, and eye color, and this or that size butt and boobs. However, something that these articles don’t seem to address is how these beauty standards operate on the assumption that women are also young, or young-looking. Not once did any of these articles mention the lack of wrinkles, gray hair, or stretch marks across society’s standards of beauty. Only complaints about unrealistic jean sizes and the need or desire to conform to certain facial features and hair colors.
The study shows that men and women 35-64 years of age have the lowest satisfaction rate with their appearance, perhaps because they recognize the glorification of youth in our beauty standards, and find that it becomes increasingly difficult to chase after something so fleeting and unobtainable to begin with.
So why, then, the sudden increase in confidence once a person reaches 65?
Again we must speculate, but perhaps perspective has something to do with it. A survey from 2009 asked its participants about body and lifestyle expectations and realities at different stages in life. The surprising result was that men and women, for the most part, feel better about their physical abilities and “youthfulness” the older they get; meaning, people found that they were able to do more and be more active/ look and feel younger than expected at older ages.
So, much like tweens hitting puberty, perhaps men and women ages 35-64 are simply caught in that awkward transitioning phase, losing the perks of youth but gradually gaining the wisdom of life experience. Perhaps the older you get, the more you are grateful for. Perhaps by 65, you simply stop caring about looking like an 18-year-old. Whatever the reason, we should all take comfort in the idea that self-love and body confidence never has to be a thing of the past. We can all love our bodies, at every age. Besides, who’s to say that in ten years we will find the same things beautiful? Our standards for beauty are constantly changing.
Why waste time worrying about it?