Jamie Lee Curtis is essentially the poster child (ha!) for aging gracefully, having spent over 40 years in the spotlight. Though she is no longer the young starlet who first graced the silver screen in Halloween, we argue she’s developed into something even better. Not only is Curtis a seasoned actress, children’s book author, producer, and activist, but she’s an advocate for embracing the aging process—a sentiment that’s even more relevant now than it was when she first shared her view.
‘Death, Taxes And Aging’: Curtis’s 2012 Statement
In May of 2012, HuffPost published an article by the name of “Anti-Anti.” The author? None other than Jamie Lee Curtis. Yes, that one: the daughter of two Hollywood legends who has grown up to become one of her own. The topic? Aging in America—more specifically, our culture’s obsession with anti-aging practices.
“Anti. There are many things I am against. Anti-discrimination. Anti-drug. Anti-oppression. Anti-poverty and sickness…Why then are we obsessed in this culture with Anti-Aging?” Curtis began. “I am appalled that the term we use to talk about aging is ‘anti.’ Aging is as natural as a baby’s softness and scent. Aging is human evolution in its pure form. Death, taxes, and aging.”
Curtis continued: “We are in the chain of our ancestors, like it or not. These are truths to be celebrated and in other countries they are. The term older and wiser is actually in play everywhere but here.”
Americans And Aging
While Curtis begins her article by highlighting the inevitability and universal nature of aging, she transitions into an argument that rings even truer in 2022, 10 years after it was written.
“In America, we celebrate youth and all youth’s indiscretions and follies. We cling to the shiny new thing, we stare at altered photographs and wonder why we don’t measure up. If you stripped away all the airbrushing and injectables and stylists and talented make-up and hair teams and the thousands and thousands of dollars spent on any one image, and you look at them in the mirror—the deep dark truthful mirror—you might just see yourself.”
This statement is pretty much timeless in regard to America’s obsession with anti-aging. Ever since advertisements could be printed, they were used to sell hair dyes, face creams, and weight-loss supplements. But as we read Curtis’s article from our perspective a decade in the future, we have a strange kind of hindsight that makes her words more powerful.
At the time the piece was written in 2012, social media had been around for a while, but apps exclusively for photo-sharing like Instagram or VSCO were in their genesis. Facebook was used more for sharing funny memes and playing games like Farmville than for documenting our every activity. Our phones couldn’t scan our faces and apply filters with the tap of a finger as they can today.
In 2022, we can re-read Curtis’s words with the understanding that there are even more filters, fads, and products separating us from our authentic selves than there have ever been, which makes it all the more important for us to embrace our authentic selves. It’s absolutely impossible to live up to the standards we see online and on television because those standards are often created artificially: through an app, with an airbrush, with some extra padding here or there.
Everyone wants to put their best foot forward on social media. It’s basically a highlight reel, which has made it feel like a competition. Who is accomplishing the most? Who is aging the best? But the truth is, while aging is a beautiful process, it’s not always beautiful in the ways we expect. Our looks may fade away from 21st-century standards, but that “youthful glow” is replaced by an aura of self-assurance, wisdom, and peace with the world around us. What’s more beautiful than that?