Ageing – is it just us girls that dread it?

Posted on: 6th March, 2014

Category: Image

Contributor: Louise O'Dwyer

We are all attached to our ‘youthful looks’ and everybody is somewhat fearful of ageing — to a varying degree. What I am seeing over and over again is a state of confusion between ageing and maturity. Why is it that so many people look at getting older as a negative experience? Why is it that so many people assume that getting older means that you are allowed to be grumpy, lack enthusiasm and fade away? What about all the invaluable lessons learned through adolescence, the personality shaping through the 20’s, the confidence gained over 30 and so on? When are you old? Who decides? At the rate this country is going you will still be expected to work until you are over 80, so does that mean that ‘old’ is flexible?

There are many little boys in men’s bodies, and little girls in women’s bodies and YIPPEE for that. Who says that any of us have to get old? It’s a mindset, a sense of conditioning and a belief that young means powerful and old means ‘past tense’. So how do we overcome this ‘psychological stuckness’? What messages are we receiving on a day-to-day basis that can sway us one way or the other? Well, our concept of what is attractive and what we should look like comes from the mass media and successful marketing. You are supposed to be blessed with beauty and physical perfection, or else you are supposed to buy the products that will help you to attain it. The media plays a crucial role in the development of your image and your attitude towards ageing.

We all have a great respect for television, film, newspapers and magazines and we appreciate the educational and entertainment benefits of all forms of the media. Let me be clear that the media’s number one priority is to hold our attention and it does so by informing, entertaining, thrilling and exciting us. If the media is your only standard for your personal and physical self-image, you are setting yourself up for a huge disappointment — you cannot and will not be self referred when it comes to developing your attitude towards your image and your age.

Yes, this is a very unkind age to be in the public eye and who is setting the standard when it comes to young and beautiful and perfect? Is it the celebrities or is it ‘us’? Are we ever so quick to criticise their bodies, their wrinkles or weight gain? Are we making unrealistic demands when it comes to what celebrities ‘should’ look like? Yes, of course we are at fault but the media have manipulated our consciousness for as long as anyone can remember. Imagine an alien race studying our existence; looking at one section of the world where masses are dying of starvation and another section where people are choosing to ‘run’ the fat off of themselves (and I mean to a disgustingly skinny state). Have you ever thought about that?

Am I hung up on all of this because my birthday is coming up? Am I terrified about getting older? Undoubtedly ageing tends to bring more doctors check-ups and illness but I welcome it because I am one of those ‘little girls’ in a woman’s body. I am still playing dress up and enjoying every minute of it, even though I have wrinkles and blond hair that covers the grey! I have to be honest and admit that the only time that I feel old is when I am doing something online that needs my date of birth and it seems to take forever to scroll back to 1972! I laugh at that though, maybe I need a reminder every so often of what my actual age is.

Almost every woman on television seems more beautiful, more perfect than just a few short years ago. Every man has an almost nonchalant handsomeness, as if he’s really not trying very hard to look so good — with his perfect teeth, hair and skin! And it also appears as if no one ages. Oscar Wilde explored this perfectly in Dorian Grey but he also delved into the very dark side that comes along with it.

The expectations for men these days are also higher, contrary to most people’s beliefs, it is not only women who hate their bodies or fear what ageing will do to how they look, men suffer too, albeit mostly silently. Many men feel that they are not supposed to be concerned with their looks but others feel that having a negative body image threatens their masculinity. This is what men are told about how they ‘should’ look; men are supposed to be tall, have broad shoulders, a muscular chest and biceps, a small tight bottom, a 30 inch waist, strong facial features and a full head of hair. Now girls, swallow all of that! They have it just as hard as we do. It has caused many men to jeopardise their health with steroid abuse and excessive exercise. More than ever before men are seeking cosmetic surgery, hair transplants, chest implants, liposuction and face-lifts. All of the men the media push to the forefront send the message loud and clear that ‘I ‘must’ be physically attractive in order to succeed’.

Men and women compare themselves with media images and try desperately to keep up with the pace. But others of you rebel. You are the defiant ones. You intentionally distance yourself from as many of the media’s messages, you believe there is nothing out there worthy of your attention. You feel that you don’t have the time, money or the desire to achieve the look you are told is ‘in’. You dress and groom according to what makes you feel good, as if you are marching to the beat of your own drum. But you do care. In fact, you are potentially the ‘most stylish’ of all people. You listen to your personal style voice and as a result look amazing, you never think about your age or buy products associated with fighting time and as a result your skin looks incredible and it really is that simple. Listen to the voice inside, feel your two feet planted firmly on the ground and take your rightful position in this world and forget about how you ‘should’ look. This is why I love the Boxer breed so very much —they never age mentally, always and ever a puppy. Our Buzz is ancient now but he runs around the garden with Sean (a giant snow white husky) as if he was a puppy. Look to the animals, they will teach you how to live and how to really enjoy life.

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Strict visitor restrictions have been put in place with immediate effect at Bantry General Hospital due to the number of patients who have presented with flu like symptoms.

In the interest of patient care and in order to restrict the spread of the flu virus within the hospital, it is necessary with immediate effect to ban all visitors to Bantry General Hospital, with the exception of following: critically ill patients are restricted to one visitor per critically ill patient and confined to visiting times only, and attendance at the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and Local Injury Unit (LIU) should only take place if absolutely necessary, only one relative per patient attending these areas.

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8th January, 2018  ·  

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What makes Christmas special? Children and adults we support, our incredible staff, families and supporters - these are the people who make our organisation so special every single day, but especially at Christmas! Meet some of them here... Thank you to the wonderful team at AV3 Media who kindly produced this video for us as a Christmas gift! To make a Christmas donation today, go to We believe that together we can do great things and with your support we can do so much more! Please SHARE our video so that more people can learn about the amazing things that happen at Cope Foundation! Evening Echo; Irish Examiner; The Southern Star; The Avondhu; Cork Independent; West Cork Times; West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork; Bandon Opinion/The Opinion; Vale Star; East Cork Journal; Cork Chamber - Faces of Cork Business; Cork City FC; Cork Institute of Technology - CIT; University College Cork; Corks RedFM 104-106; The KC Show Corks 96 FM; Cork's 96FM; Cork's Best; C103 Cork; Cork Airport; Cork Opera House: The Everyman; Cork County Council; County Cork; Cork City Council; CorkLike; CCCahoots; Cork On Ice; Glow Cork; CIT Cork School of Music; RTÉ Today; Ciaran Bermingham - Actor; Rob & Marian Heffernan; John Spillane; Ger Wolfe; Eimear O'Brien PR; Jack O Rourke; Theo Dorgan; Mahon Point Shopping Centre; Blackpool Shopping Centre & Retail Park

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Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day that little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

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REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

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