Sunday

Even Supermodels Grow Old

I once saw a beautiful, elegant lady walk pass me. She was tall and fair, and she had the air of a supermodel about her. Her eyes were bright and immediately engaging, and she strutted past me with her head held high. However, all that aside, the thing that struck me most were the unmistakable wrinkles on her face. She was no longer the youthful beauty she had once been. One could see that she still went to great lengths to preserve the beauty of her youth, and she still had the outward confidence of a model. But the passing of age was clearly an inevitable effect.

It struck me then that people ACTUALLY grow old. I mean, when you're at my age, still young (they say 20 is still young), the idea of growing old actually doesn't come across very often. You often forget this simple, unavoidable fact of life. Gotta' admit, it's a rather unpleasant thought.

People nowadays worship the Hollywood stars and the apparent perfection of the girls on glossy magazines. But we often forget that those are merely externals. What are these people like in reality? Without the make up, without the brushstrokes of photoshop editing, without the heels and accessories, without their grammy awards and accolades? Who is the person within?

I am always interested in the person, the true individual beneath the surface layer. That's why it never fails to irk me when I see people 'hang out' or get drunk together, but never talk about the things that matter to them. You never get to know people truly if you just focus on the externals and on the trivialities of life. I mean, that's unavoidable, but you also need to delve into the other more vital half of the person and talk about the things that the person cares about.

What do people have to show for apart from their looks? I know, its inevitable that the world looks for good looks. And I am not against that. I am not against make up or looking good. I'm merely saying, if you take all that away, can people still see something more worthwhile and beautiful in you? In your personality, your character, your attitude, your words and actions?

Of course, don't tune me off as someone who veers off to the other extreme. I'm definitely not saying that people with good looks can possess no equally admirable character and values. Nevertheless, without a doubt, one's looks will inevitably affect how they behave towards others, how others act in their presence and how they interact with the world. What can you say? It is often unfortunate how society works. Why is it that the media churns out countless magazines on beauty and fashion and gossip, but seldom do you find anything on the lives of inspirational people who may not even care to use make up or buy the latest clothing? Why is our society so depraved of the things that actually truly matter to people as people?

Why is it that the people who are notoriously famous (for infamous) are those who've most probably done a sex scene or succumbed to drugs along the way? (Note that I acknowledge my tendency to make generalization here - quite unavoidably sometimes. But you get my point.) That's the general direction our generation is heading in. And it's so awfully pathetic and sad, because there are so many people with potential to grow their inward beauty and their outward attitude, but they settle for self-condemnation or lack of confidence because of all these 'perfect' portrayals (distortions of the truth, I'd call them) of what it apparently means to be successful or beautiful or desired by others.

I cannot believe how young people nowadays are so uninformed and ignorant about issues in our generation that truly matter. Many people have no idea about what's going on in other parts of the world that we all should be concerned about. All they know is the latest pop song, the trendiest fads, the hunkiest actor. I honestly don't give a damn about any of this. I mean, in what way does any of this enrich my life?

What young people deem as entertainment these days is just so shallow and utterly predictable. Surface-level stuff. Ultimately inconsequential. Am I being judgmental? No. People have to learn to distinguish between judgment (or discernment, to express it more specifically) and condemnation, as my Dad said once. You need to make wise judgment out of a spirit of discernment - but you are in no position at all to condemn others. The moment you speak to condemn someone else, you render yourself condemned. See, we need to discern the times, to judge between right and wrong and all the grey that's in between. If a house is burning, you don't continue sipping your tea and watching the tele. You have to shake people out of their slumber lest the flames engulf them. The shaking process might be a nuisance, but which is worse? To shake you out of your comfort or to let you breathe in toxic air while you are still fast asleep?

You need to know, I'm not vehemently against all the cool things that have emerged from the twenty-first century lifestyle and culture. There is much progress, one could say. But if you're honest with yourself, you'll dare to open your eyes to the reality and see that people (by that I mean you and I, too) are still lost in circles, and slaves to passions they think they cannot control.

I'm just saying, where is the balance? What is our priority? And where are our hearts in all this?

~ J a n i e ll e

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