Forget the Botox
The recent announcement about the Canadian recipient of the 2010 Holberg Prize for academic work piqued my curiosity. University of Toronto professor Natalie Zemon Davis, is described by the Holberg prize committee as “one of the most creative historians writing today, an intellectual who is not hostage to any particular school of thought or politics.” What struck me was the photo of Dr. Davis which accompanied the Globe and Mail article. She looked confident, vivacious and youthful. Dr. Davis is 81 years old.
I love stories like this one. In our attempt to stifle the ageing process, we turn to eyelid surgery to correct drooping upper lids, Botox to smooth wrinkles and facelifts to erase jowls. Okay, the procedures may seem to take years off, but they don’t address the heart of the matter. To me, the best way to maintain a youthful energy is to remain curious and engaged. Going to work at the age of 81 may not the solution for everyone, but it clearly works for Dr. Davis. Her prolific body of academic work and continued engagement at the university has reaped her the $785,000 cash prize.
In a society that often dismisses senior citizens, especially women, Dr. Davis is a shining example of how remaining intellectually active can roll back the years naturally.