With Grace: Aging as Seen Through a TikTok Filter and the Fresh Insight of Youth

Aug 14, 2023 | Main Blog | 0 comments

I’m a child of older parents and have experienced age through a different lens compared to my peers. Whether it’s my parents’ health in jeopardy or seeing so clearly that as I age my parents do, too – the concept and experience of aging is something I’ve always viewed as a privilege.

As I scroll through my phone during my free time it’s become more and more apparent how unique this perspective is. Most view age as not something that is welcomed or a hopeful gift, but something that is feared.

On TikTok particularly, the discussion and disdain around aging has been a hot topic because of a filter that morphs your face into an older version of yourself. The dramatic reactions of disgust, crude (but admittedly) funny jokes, and sometimes blatant disrespect regarding those who are older initially caught me off guard.

With youth comes the feeling of being untouchable and even infinite at times, but how could one react like that to a face they may never see? Tomorrow is not promised, let alone growing old, and the way some respond to the blessing of aging highlights not only a privilege taken for granted but the issues within society on how we treat those of older age.

Experiencing the beauty that comes with aging is something I pray for. Wrinkles and moles are evidence of a life well lived and wisdom acquired along the way – two things I’d never want to disguise.

The main culprit that imbues such fear and even disgust around aging is the superficial. The fountain of youth is something so many chase, even if it means sacrificing the whole point of being on this earth – living. Whether it is not smiling or laughing too much to prevent smile lines, or the fatal risk of going under the knife to look younger, it seems to override the experience. It’s almost as if we’re clinging to control, big or small, to avoid evidence of our inevitable mortality.

I view aging as God’s intentional craft and gift where we’re able to see the beauty of life, and its precious impermanence, unfold in front of our eyes. We mirror the changes of the seasons where the greys and the wrinkles are previews of stories of the past and the lessons learned along the way.

When I see aging accepted and done with grace, admiration arises. What a privilege it is to have so much time to learn. To be able to get to know yourself and the world around you – and experience the love of all of the changes that emerge as time passes.

In a time fixated on the superficial, and the era of the selfie, I look forward to the journey ahead and the people I connect with along the way outside of my looks. To earn my stripes of silver strands but most importantly wisdom through experience. I hope that in the future the kids who once screamed at their hypothetical reflection of their older selves learn to embrace age, and we treat each other, ourselves, and strangers alike with a little more grace, empathy, and thanksgiving for the little time we do have on this earth.

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Olivia Marbury

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