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Aging beautifully in Hollywood

Recently, Courteney Cox appeared on an episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls.  It’s was an uncomfortable hour for viewers as the 52-year-old Friends star grimaced her way through the wilds of Ireland with the TV survivalist.

Strangely enough, the pair took time to sit down and discuss the difficulties of aging in Hollywood – because apparently that’s what you do while back-packing through a foreign country.  She also discussed her regrets regarding her plastic surgeries, her past obsession with looking young, and her new Beatles-esque motto, “let it be.” (Paul McCartney must be so proud.)

It was a rather awkward conversation.  But what else is Cox going to talk about?  Her show Cougar Town is done and she’s not currently starring in any major productions.  Besides, ageism is a hot topic right now – along with racism, sexism.  Basically, any “ism” will do when looking for a viewer’s hot button.

Meanwhile this past May, Cameron Diaz appeared on The Ellen Show to talk about her new book.  “The Longevity Book” touts the five pillars of well-being which she says control how well we live and, more importantly, how well we age.  The actress explained that she worked with physicians to create an authoritative guide to aging that she wishes she’d had years earlier.

Of course, these ladies are hardly the first female stars “of a certain age” who suddenly want to proselytize on how to age well.  It’s a long-time entertainment industry phenomena.  Studios aren’t interested in hiring them so they turn their focus to their age.

But why?  I know how to get older.  I’m actually quite good at it.  In fact, I do it every day without fail.

So it’s a little ironic that an actress who’s just cracked 40 feels the need to explain to me that society devalues age and that we think we’re supposed to be 25 forever.  (Most of us actually don’t.)  But that “if you accept that you’re aging, you’ll live longer.”  (Oh, that’s deep.)

The truth is, the only ones who are really worried about aging well are those who are already obsessed with it – the Hollywood and entertainment set.

How many of us regular folk really fret over our sagging skin at work?  How many obsess about our grey hairs in our off-hours?  How many have time to think about “pillars of well-being”?

Okay, yes, I have looked at Christie Brinkley (62), Cheryl Ladd (65) or Jaclyn Smith (70) and wondered how they did it.  What better model for aging well than a Cover Girl or a Charlie’s Angel?

But I’d like to think that Cox and Diaz – after long and successful careers in Hollywood – have more to share than this self-serving pap.  I’m sure they’ve learned more over the years than the same basic truth that you and I naturally accept every day:  We all get older whether we like it or not.

But then, that wouldn’t get them a book deal.

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