According to a U.K. survey, discussed in an article in the Daily Mail, women give up on their appearance at age 59, while men flame out on their looks earlier — at around 46.
On the surface, giving up on our appearance sounds like a solidly adult move. Who wants to be in their 50s and still worrying about how to get rid of their muffin top? Shouldn’t we age out of our vanity and embrace the development of other qualities, such as compassion and kindness rather than try and schedule tanning and waxing appointments?
While it is refreshing to hear that appearance concerns wane as we age, the survey indicated there is a serious downside to giving up too. That downside? Reduced physical and mental health.
Half of the 2,000 people polled said they weren’t in good shape physically, while a third of those polled admitted that they didn’t care about what they drank or ate or how much. Those people polled in the survey indicated that they had a nagging health injury or concern that they had virtually given up on too.
That isn’t the only consequence to wellbeing, however. It seems not caring about the way we look may also affect mental health, as one third also put their lack of effort and enthusiasm for looking well down to the fact that they were unhappy and/or had poor self-image.
One of the barriers to keeping up appearances may be the culture’s high standards when it comes to looking good. Many of those polled said they couldn’t be bothered to keep up with trends.
Inundated with images of perfectly coiffed celebs promoting impossible-to-follow diets and health regimens, it’s no wonder many of us give up. The solution, however, may lie in looking to more balanced approaches to aging. My grandmother, nearly in her 90s, still sets her hair in rollers every night and is never seen without lipstick. She also swears by her daily constitutional. She’s no Gwyneth, but then again, she doesn’t need to be to age gracefully.