|Pictured: NOT me|
This blog is NOT brought to you by Pepsi (who make 7Up), although I did consume other stimulants during it's production ;)
Aging - something we all go through and something consumers of beauty products spend billions of dollars attempting to fight. Love your tight, well-defined young skin? Well - aging doesn't care much for your vanity!
During the process of aging your skin gradually separates from your bones and heads south. As much as you might wish you were like Peter Pan and stayed forever young- aging will relentless stalk you and when it does eventually catch up - it will take your looks, body and faculties and make them all just a bit worse. Oh sure, some things will get better - you'll get a bit of wisdom and some people might call you a silver fox (if you're lucky). But if youth is the opening act, getting old is the third and final act and the prelude to the end - death.
I haven't felt the ravages of age too much yet and thank fuck for that. At 25, I should be in good health.
On this topic, if you haven't already check out the brilliant documentary series - Seven Up!
|How to age both gracefully and disgracefully|
If you are someone who like me thinks a bit about life and your general direction this is a really interesting look at how people's choices and circumstances affect the direction of their lives.
The Up series began in Britain in 1964. It interviewed a group of 14 seven-year-old children from different locations and socioeconomic backgrounds. The original intent seems to have been critically examining the class system in Britain (and public vs comprehensive education) and how it affected the opportunities and lives of the children they follow.
Up is now into it's 5th decade and in 2012, 56 Up was released.
I find it perversely fascinating to survey someones life in short seven year snapshots. We get to see them as cute little seven years old, shy teenagers, in their thirties as parents and now as people in their middle age moving towards retirement. While it's not a complete picture of their existence, it's a glimpse and that's all we need.
Up! participants have had varied and interesting careers: teachers, a lawyer, a nuclear physicists, a vagrant turned local politician, a stay-at-home Mum and so on.
During University I became obsessed and watched from 7 Up til 49 Up in a few days. Each of the eight iterations is about 2 hours long.
What I found particularly interesting was looking at what people predicted they'll do in the future vs what they actually end up doing. E.g At 21, one of the ladies says: "I don't want to have children." Nek minit (seven years later) she had two babies running around. It's fairly obvious that our plans change and lives often go in a completely different ways than we might have expected.
I enjoy people expressing their ambitions and thoughts on life. At 56, some of the adults talk of frustration about things that didn't work out as well as they'd like. Some have had multiple marriages, most had children of their own and many had grandchildren also. One subject moved to Australia when he was young so between 7 Up! in 1964 and 14 Up! in 1971 his accent changed from a cutesy English lilt to an Ozzie twang.
When reflecting on their lives, nearly all the participants emphasised the importance of friends and family in their overall sense of purpose and happiness.
If you strip away all the other factors in your life: work, money, influence, ambition, pride, lust - the most important thing left is your relationships with others. We all depend on each other to get through life and having close friends and loved ones to be there and support you is most important than can be put into words.
|The subjects' of Seven Up!|
If there is one lesson I take overall from the show is making the most of opportunities. A wise person once told me that one thing you notice as you age is you increasingly live with the impact of decisions you made in the past. (Basically - some doors are closed to you as you age)
I just hope I make the right choices and don't end up old and full of regret. Currently I think I'd doing alright.
So what's changed for me in the last seven years:
*Where I live:
Now: Wellington (with a year overseas in the interim)
Who I date:
Then: F (nearly two years together)
Now: W (nearly three years together)
What I do:
Then: Start of second year of university at Otago (Politics and Film)
Now: Work for Victoria University as a Liaison Officer (with many jobs and travel in between)
That's just things on the surface.
Some of my views are different, I've travelled, I learned a foreign language, sky dived, learned to Scuba etc. My body changed - I filled out.
I'm really not sure what I'll be doing in another 7 years and that's kind of exciting. If there's one thing I wish, it's that I still have a full head of hair in 2020.
|Six years passed. January 2007 and January 2013. Things with the penguin just didn't work out..|