It’s funny isn’t it – time? Sometimes a second can feel like an entire lifetime, then other times, a whole decade can pass in the mere blink of an eye and you wonder where the time went.
The internet at the moment has been flooded with images of celebrities and ordinary people posting pictures with the hashtag 10 year challenge. I must admit, even I posted something on Instagram for about 20 minutes, then promptly deleted it. Obviously, I had picked photos that showed me in, what I believed, was my best light. Two photos, both taken at my husband’s birthday celebrations, ten years apart. I posted them. Felt great about myself for approximately a minute, then took them down after I’d had a think.
Why? Well, the two smiling, preened, polished versions of me that I had posted didn’t accurately reflect what had happened to me in the 10 years that have passed. Honestly, I felt like a fraud. The two photos that I had chosen were only a snapshot – two seconds of my life. I purposefully chose two pictures that made me look as though time hadn’t even passed. An insecure moment. What was I hoping people would say? Oh Anita, you look exactly the same as you did ten years ago? And I would reply with, ‘Oh, that’s so kind of you! Or, ‘Do you really think so?’ Knowing full well that out of the many, many photos taken over the years, I had deliberately chosen two pictures that made me look vaguely similar.
Sometimes, I can be a real jerk!
But, to my credit, as I said before, I took the post down. I don’t want to be a fraud. There are enough posts out there on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, in magazines, which reflect people’s own insecurities and unintentionally make others feel bad about themselves. Why was I trying to become a part of that cycle of self loathing and self destruction? So, I took it down.
I was bothered by the concept – and it was mainly women who were sucked into the challenge – why is there an expectation that you should not age? Why is there an expectation that your wrinkles, or in my eyes, those beautiful lines, that showed that you laughed, worried, loved, were angry, felt things in life – why should those be blurred and obliterated? Why is there an expectation that your body should look the same as it did when you were ten years younger? Why is that pressure put, particularly on women? No matter how much we strive for equality, no matter how much we strive for equal pay, for a stop to sexual harassment, if we are judged by how ‘Stepford Wife’ like we are at our ability to not age, how have we moved forward at all?
I am not the same person that I was ten years ago. Not in any sense. I don’t look the same. I don’t think the same things. My outlook and feelings about life are different.
In ten years time, I will not be the same person either. I will look different. I will think differently. My outlook on certain things will have changed.
I will say that there have been some beautiful images that I have seen: people with their children, ten years apart. Those images have almost stolen my breath away, and when I look closely at the parents, there is that same expression of love in their eyes and smile, as they hold their child, or children close to them. There have also been hilarious parodies of the challenge too. Variations, which included ‘the ten second challenge’ – smiling, not smiling, and the comments on those posts are hilarious.
I’m not judging anyone who has taken part and posted in the ‘ten year challenge’. I just find aspects of it problematic, that’s all. The message to take away from this blog is simply this: If you haven’t changed, if you haven’t aged, if you haven’t grown in a ten year period, what the hell is wrong with you?
And I question society that celebrates and puts the expectation on women to not age. Be smart, be successful, look muscular or skinny, and oh yes, look like you did when you were 25. Forever. Thank you. Bye.
I have always tried to be a good human being throughout all my life – that hasn’t changed in the last ten years. But I will say, that I am more patient, kinder, wiser and have the benefit of something that I did not have ten years ago….hindsight. The things that I worried about in my twenties and parts of my thirties, I don’t worry about now. You can’t stick that in a photograph to compare and contrast – but those things are true.
On a final note, sadly, my husband this morning, has gone to attend the funeral of a friend who died in his 30’s. It puts life into perspective doesn’t it? When people of your own age, or younger pass away? It doesn’t matter that you are not the same as you were ten years ago. It doesn’t matter that things are different and that life has changed. What matters is – you are alive. You are here. You are wonderful. You being in this world makes a difference. Go out! Live! Take pictures! Celebrate!