Home Motivation “Old” Isn’t a Bad Word: The Beauty of Aging (Gracefully or Not)

“Old” Isn’t a Bad Word: The Beauty of Aging (Gracefully or Not)

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“Mrs. Miniver suddenly realized why she enjoyed her forties so much better than her thirties: it was the difference between August and October, between the heaviness of late summer and the splendor of early autumn, between the end of an old phase and the beginning of a new one.” ~Ian Strather, Mrs. Miniver

As a teenager, I always wanted to look and act older than my age.

As the youngest of three, I always felt that my siblings had more power and their adult lives seemed more glamorous to me. They would hop off to college or high school, carrying their own bags and packing lunches, and I would have to wait for my mother to drop me off, holding her hand as we crossed the street!

Naturally, I looked forward to my birthday every year, waiting for the feeling of “adulting” to come over me, even as I got giddy at the thought of opening the presents. However, for the past few years, my birthday presents have been shrouded in a vague fear that I might become invisible.

In a society that values ​​youth to the point of insanity, reaching that dreaded “middle age” seems like a ticket to the circus of the Land of the Forgotten!

As I write down and reflect on my journey through all of this, I wonder why it even matters. In fact, in many families throughout nature, aging is a good omen. It is a symbol of status and respect.

Take the silverback gorilla for example: all that gray hair on their back gives them the right to make decisions for the group! Guide wolves, bottlenose dolphins, and senior dolphins are all examples of nature favoring age.

Why then are people obsessed with youth? From anti-wrinkle creams to references like ‘well-groomed’ (as if we were a machine!), we’re told that younger is better.

Personally, growing up has taught me some things and I wish I could go back in time and share that with my younger self. However, that’s impossible unless we invent a time machine, so I’ll list them here and you can take whatever you like.

For starters, don’t be obsessed with beauty. Or rather, what society tells you is beauty.

All the years of my growing up I tried to be beautiful even at the cost of my real talents. I underestimated my reading habit and acted meek so that men would think I was “prettier.” I have no idea where I got these ideas from, but they were exhausting. I wanted to be beautiful so that men would choose me, but I never stopped to ask myself: what kind of man?

It’s sad that I was desperate to be someone chosen even though I was giving up on myself day in and day out. After dealing with toxic relationships and a strong blow to my self-esteem, I realized that the pursuit of beauty was completely useless.

What really helped me through the tough times was my goofiness and foolish optimism. Surprisingly, being myself with gray hair, crooked teeth and a few extra pounds is easy, and it’s also brought me some great friendships with both men and women.

Second, age is just a number.

My dog ​​doesn’t know how old she is, so she can act however she wants. She jumps on the beds, goes crazy with sweets and is jealous. She runs when she wants and as much as her body allows. It’s easy for her to do all of these things and more because she doesn’t have a limiting belief called “age.”

Ellen Langer, a psychologist from Harvard, conducted an unusual experiment where elderly subjects were asked to live as it was twenty years ago in a simulated environment. The men who underwent the experiment allegedly improved their memory, cognition and more.

Even if the experiment seems strange to you, there is an important conclusion: the way you perceive your age greatly affects the way you approach it. So why not approach it with positivity?

A few months ago I read a very powerful quote and it made a big impression on me: Don’t regret getting old; it is a privilege denied to many.

How true! My mind immediately goes to my own father, who passed away before he fulfilled many of his dreams. I’m sure he would have met many more years with open arms, warts and all.

For a terminally ill patient, every day of growing up can be nothing but happiness, even if the body feels weak. We don’t have to wait for something like this to feel grateful for our age. We have this opportunity every day and at every moment.

You don’t have to “support” yourself.

You don’t have to look younger.

You can be thin, overweight or average or more.

Don’t hold yourself back from doing what you love just because you feel older/younger.

Don’t feel pressured to age gracefully or whatever society tells you to do. You have the freedom to grow old haphazardly if you want. Hell, it’s your life, and out of chaos comes order!

You may not have a full head of black hair, but so what? You may have sucked your thumb when you were six, but you don’t do that anymore, do you? It is one and the same.

Nostalgia is only useful if it lifts the mood. If it takes you on a downward spiral”how I wish I was that age again!”, then it’s time to close this old photo album. New sunrises and sunsets await you. Make yourself a cold frothy coffee and move on!

There is nothing that needs to be specified before a certain age. We all have our own trajectories and our own truths to learn. Get inspired by plants and animals. They don’t strive; they are simple there is and their life is beautiful! Be brave enough to own your messy self and your messy life.

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