The Korea Herald


[Weekender] Mind over matter to age gracefully

By Korea Herald

Published : Feb. 24, 2017 - 15:39

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In an age when people Google just about everything in search for a quick answer, know-how and guidelines on how to age gracefully are also popular topics.

In the quest to age well, many tend to search out anti-aging, with contents offline and online dedicated to such information as anti-aging foods and the secrets to staying young, as though aging is a process we should defy.

Seeking to bring about a society where people can age with dignity, Kim Young-ok is a feminist activist currently running research center Okee Salon in Seoul.

“I am anti-anti-aging,” Kim told The Korea Herald.

“In the past, people aged in their own way and they aged well. But excessive emphasis on self-improvement these days hinders people from aging with dignity.”

This means the pressure society puts on the older generation to make all-out efforts to achieve the same goal of holding on to youth and time is in fact an obstacle for aging well.

Kim noted that aging with dignity amounts to accepting nature’s clock. There is no absolute right or wrong answer for aging well, as everyone comes from different walks of life. 

Kim Young-ok of Okee Salon. (Okee Salon) Kim Young-ok of Okee Salon. (Okee Salon)
Highlighting mind over matter when it comes to aging well, Kim questioned the objective of people heading to aesthetics clinics to erase natural signs of aging, such as wrinkles and spots.

“Aesthetics identifies beauty as the power to attract others. That power is also shown in the wrinkled faces of those who have lived their life -- and not by others’ standards,” Kim said.

Kim also urged the older generation to be proud of the time they have lived and the contributions they have made, all of which are embedded in their wrinkles.

Meanwhile, Kim suggested three basic factors needed to age well: basic financial stability, a friend to share thoughts with and detailed plans on aging.

Financial stability must be guaranteed by the government as welfare for the elderly, while the latter two factors can be obtained through individual effort, Kim explained.

Kim said she hopes for a society that frees the older generation from looking and living younger than their age, ultimately granting everyone a chance to age with dignity.

By Kim Bo-gyung (