Audrey Hepburn was one of the most beautiful, iconic stars that ever graced this earth. Not only did she have beauty and talent, but she had the brains and personality to go with it. When I think of the person I want to be, Audrey always comes to mind.
Her beauty is timeless, but the thing that makes her the most angelic human being is the fact that she was just that. Human.
We often idolize celebrities as larger than life, god-like characters when, in fact, they are not. They are human beings. What makes Audrey so extraordinary is that she was real, and the way she aged was beautiful, elegant, and like good wine, better with time.
Hollywood is known for it’s ageless appearance. Millions of dollars in plastic surgery and anti-age serums have been spent to look eternally youthful. Audrey didn’t believe in any of that.
She was always a little bit surprised by the efforts women made to look young. She was actually very happy about growing older because it meant more time for herself, more time for her family, and separation from the frenzy of youth and beauty that is Hollywood. She was very strict about everybody’s time in life.”
-Luca Dotti remembers his mother Audrey Hepburn.
I hear people close to me all the time talk about how they want plastic surgery to make their nose look better, or they want bigger breasts, or injections to smooth their wrinkles. Audrey let nature do it’s thing and look how beautiful she was! It makes me sad that they don’t see that we age for a reason. We look the way we do for a reason. It is not our duty in life to be aesthetically pleasing all the time. Besides, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
But in this day and age, eternal youth is what everyone strives for. We all try to be thin and beautiful and we crave perfection…but what for? It’s an impossible quest to be something you’re not. In fact, it reminds me a lot of the Capitol people in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.
They do surgery in the Capitol, to make people appear younger and thinner. In District 12, looking old is something of an achievement since so many people die early. You see an elder person, you want to congratulate them on their longevity, ask the secret of survival. A plump person is envied because they aren’t scraping by like the majority of us. But here it is different. Wrinkles aren’t desirable. A round belly isn’t a sign of success.”
-Chapter 9, page 124 of The Hunger Games
I remember reading about the gaudy Capitol people and seeing them portrayed on the big screen. I remember how outlandish and crazy they seemed, and I remember thinking, “I’m glad this is only fiction and our society isn’t really like that.” But I was wrong. Our society is like that, almost exactly like that. We may not have districts and a corrupt ruler but our social standings are the same. Suzanne Collins wasn’t making this up, she was pulling from real life…our American made society.
It should be a privilege to grow old. Every wrinkle shows that you have seen things, you have lived life, you have loved, you have lost, and you are a better person for it. In other countries, much like in The Hunger Games, there is disease and hunger that keeps people from ever getting to grow old. The ones that do are lucky.
I absolutely love this quote from The Velveteen Rabbit because it couldn’t be more true. He may be talking about a stuffed rabbit here, but that’s exactly what happens when you age. You become real. And “once you’re Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
So don’t dread growing older, don’t try to stop it or slow it down. Let the wrinkles come and let nature and your purpose in life take over. Wrinkles around your eyes and mouth show that you’ve laughed and smiled. Winkles and callouses on your hands and feet show that you have worked hard, helped others, and touched the earth. Sagging skin shows that you have lifted your share of sorrow and troubles, yet still survived. Gray, white, or no hair shows the world that you have loved and been loved so much that the color has faded or it has simply fallen off. It means you’re Real.
Age with grace as Audrey Hepburn had and know that if someone as extraordinary as her can do it, you can too.