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Finding Beauty in Imperfection

Finding Beauty in Imperfection

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese concept that encourages people to accept the beauty of flaws and rawness in natural things.  Instead of striving for perfection, this belief embraces letting things grow and progress as is, without refinement.

David Kalinoski, Associate State Director, AARP-PA, referenced this concept in an interview with me during an online Embracing Aging session titled Living in an Age of Disruption.   He shared why he believes we need to challenge outdated beliefs about aging to spark innovative solutions.  His reference to Wabi-sabi got me thinking.

The obsession with anti-aging

It seems unavoidable to go a day without seeing or hearing at least one anti-aging product promotion.  The average is probably more, as anti-aging products are a billion-dollar business.  This feeds into our country’s obsession with youth.  How many times do we hear people say, “you look great for your age?”  Although meant as a compliment, the message conveyed is your aging is okay (perhaps even better off) because you don’t have the wrinkles, crepe skin, gray hair, posture, or gait of a typical older person.

Anti-aging obsession impacts community

We live in a society that, too often, views aging as only impairment and decline.   We automatically use words and phrases that project negativity on growing older.  This is ageism.

Ageism is still an accepted form of social prejudice that affects everyone and impacts everything.

This leads to:

  • Age discrimination in housing and employment
  • A profound influence on the type and amount of healthcare offered, requested, and received
  • Lowered expectations about one’s abilities and interests
  • Community decisions being made that do not consider the needs and desires of older people

York County is committed to improve our community’s livability

As such, we are proud to be included in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.

A livable community is one that is safe and secure, has affordable and appropriate housing and transportation options, and offers supportive community features and services. Once in place, those resources:

  • enhance personal independence;
  • allow residents to remain in their homes and communities as they age; and
  • foster residents’ engagement in the community’s civic, economic, and social life.

An age-friendly community works for all ages!  

When we find the beauty in imperfection of aging, or in other words, when we address ageism, we create a community where people of all ages benefit.  To learn more about these benefits and David’s thoughts on improving attitudes on aging, watch the recording of our interview below.

Then, reach out to us with your ideas for embracing the natural beauty of aging and improving York County’s livability.

For more information, visit www.AARP.org/Livable, www.AARP.org/AgeFriendly, and https://yccf.org/york-county-is-part-of-the-aarp-network-of-age-friendly-states-and-communities/