Of all the questions that journalists might want to ask Cameron Diaz throughout her twenty plus years as an A-list actress, one of the most repeated ones was, ‘Are you afraid of turning forty?’
It clearly bugs and bemuses the 43-year-old star in equal parts: “They were saying, ‘Aren’t you afraid that the death of your career is imminent because you don’t look 25 anymore?'” Cameron reflects.
As a woman who is part of the new breed of ‘age-nostic’ forty-somethings, who feel strongly that they are not defined or constricted by their age as previous generations might have been, Diaz was inspired to pen a new tome which explores the ageing process called The Longevity Book, which follows on from her previous bestseller – The Body Book.
“Why is everybody so scared of ageing? I feel better than I ever have,” Cameron asks. “It’s not just physical. I feel different mentally as a human being.”
And, she adds that having the best body in Hollywood is not a priority for the former model, instead it is feeling happy and fulfilled which is her main motivation in life, as well as pushing the idea of a mid-life crisis off a bridge – focusing on holding a mid-life celebration:
She says, “I’m not trying to have the best body in Hollywood. I’m very happy maintaining my wellbeing, which is a priority in my life. That’s important to me.
“As you get old, at any point in your life, the only way you can have success is if you focus on what you gain, not what you have to give up.
“Let’s push the mid-life crisis off a bridge and just throw ourselves a party instead. The mid-life celebration: a personal holiday that celebrates the journey we’ve made to get here, and the unexpected places we have yet to discover.”
Cameron points out that we’re conditioned by society from a young age to see ageing as a bad thing when in fact it is a privilege, especially as many people die before they get the chance to see their forties and beyond:
“I just think it’s a privilege to get older. Not everybody gets there. I’ve lost plenty of friends, who died in their 20s and 30s. We’re looking at ageing as a bad thing, but if you’re doing it, you are really lucky,” Cameron explains.
“We’re living the longest we’ve ever lived. I can live longer, but I don’t just want to be alive. I want to spend the next half of my life healthy in body, mind and spirit.”
Cameron admits that while Hollywood is one of the most age-obsessed industries there is, with the quest for eternal youth seeing women (and men!) spend thousands every year on the latest wrinkle-fighting technology, she’s no longer concerned about that and instead sees getting older as a journey:
“I’ve visited my fair share of dermatologists’ offices exploring their anti-ageing arsenals, all for the sake of maintaining a look of youth and beauty,” she explains.
She adds: “Believe me, I know that it’s easy to get caught up with what you see in the mirror and use it as a metric for how well you are ageing.
“But don’t be fooled – just because you look younger than your friend, doesn’t mean your body isn’t experiencing some wear and tear.
“This ageing thing is a process, and we all have our own individual journey through it.
“It wasn’t so long ago that I could skip a few days of working out and, while my energy level and mood might be affected, my body was still pretty resilient. It only took a few days of hard workouts to snap it back into place and regain a feeling of strength.
“It doesn’t seem like anything snaps back into place as it used to.”
Cameron practices daily transcendental meditation, eats well and exercises regularly in order to feel good, but says that she didn’t write the book to preach that others follow her own lifestyle, instead she wants to break the taboo around getting older and encourage women to love themselves as they are:
“If I don’t sleep well, if I miss breakfast or eat something that looked rich and delicious on a menu, but turns out to be too rich and delicious, if I miss my workout because I have a stack of meetings that seem more pressing at the moment – well, I suffer for it,” Cameron admits.
“One of the reasons I wrote this book is because I believe that we would all be a lot happier, feel a lot better, heave a big sigh of relief, if we could just answer, ‘How old are you?’, with the truth. Without fear. Without hesitation. Without shame.”
Below is a fantastically inspiring interview where Cameron discusses the deep-rooted cultural assumptions around ageing and talks about the science behind growing older – concluding that we need to focus on examining ageing on a cellular level.
We certainly approve of that.
To buy Cameron’s book you can find it on Amazon and at all good bookstores.