I came across this advice column in the New York Times a few weeks ago, asking deep and important questions:
I’m nearly 40 and I find myself at a crossroads that feels more like a dead end. I’ve spent much of my life and thought and income in pursuit of beauty in one form or another: design, fashion, the beauty or “wellness” industries. This is very much a professional hazard: My career in glossy magazines and advertising as a photo editor is all about making beautiful images of beautiful things that I’ve selected look even more beautiful. Often, when I think how much of my time I’ve devoted to my own appearance or to matters of aesthetics I cringe, though I’ve often been the person in any given room defending things like style and design from accusations of superficiality and frivolity.
Part of it might have to do with the fact that I feel alone in many ways and unsuccessful by most measures. I don’t own a home and no one needs me; I am nobody’s mother and now I am nobody’s child, as my parents are no longer living. My friends and peers have gone on to have families, to marry and stop working, or have moved to other parts of the country or even foreign countries.
I feel such futility, like I’ve squandered my own youth and beauty in the hall of mirrors that is our consumerist society. Am I simply being solipsistic here? Or is this what getting older is about, acknowledging one’s comedown to the brutal reality of life?
The age of 40 is, of course, when we approach the midlife crisis transits. For the people turning […]