Whoever said age is just a number was apparently a teenager and had yet to experience the side effects of aging. It amazes me that one five letter word like aging can conjure up so many thoughts and emotions. Each and every one of us will have a different picture in our minds when we hear the word aging. Many of us will experience a multitude of images that include wrinkles, sagginess in places that didn’t use to sag and using a wooden stick to assist us in getting from the living room to the kitchen. Others will experience at least one of the following: Fear, regret, appreciation and/or denial.
Many of us fear aging. We are afraid to accept that our bodies may no longer do the things we were once able to do easily. We become afraid of losing our independence, our abilities to take care of our own needs. We fear reverting to the days of having someone else monitor our lives and plan our activities. We fear our loved ones living day to day without us.
Regret stems from our past. We may regret long ago interactions with loved ones, choices we made in the past or chances we didn’t take. We regret not spending enough time with our children or spending too much time with toxic people who added nothing to our lives but heartache. We regret not taking the dream job, or vacation and watching our lives pass us by with little participation from us.
Appreciation of aging often arises from recognizing that aging is a gift not received by all. Many of our loved ones are denied the ability to see their first gray hair in this life. We may look back upon our life with appreciation, knowing we lived to the best of our ability and with intention.
The majority of us are in denial of our aging selves. We continue to attempt activities that we could easily do two decades ago. We look in the mirror and wonder who is staring back at us. Suddenly there are lines and wrinkles that weren’t there yesterday. We have skin sagging in places that shouldn’t sag and our clothing doesn’t quite fit the way it used to. And don’t forget the energy. Where did our never ending energy go?
Anti-aging products make up a multi-million dollar industry. Personally, since I had my children at an advanced advanced maternal age, I am probably more sensitive to how I look. I am always in fear of being mistaken for my boys’ grandmother. Truth be told, I could be. So, yes, I happily support the anti-aging industry. I also do my best to make sure I work out and am a role model for strength and wellness for my boys. Eating well, drinking water, exercising, self-growth; all of the right things we should be doing to ensure our own wellness.
My advice? Meet aging head on. Do your best to look and feel the way that makes you feel amazing; however you have to do it. At the end of the day, be grateful you are here with your family. Practice gratitude every night by writing down three things you are grateful for from that day. Some days it may be that you are grateful because you made it through the day, and that’s ok. Practicing gratitude helps us ease into aging without regrets. It also helps to accept those little lines that weren’t there yesterday when we are grateful for another day with our loved ones.
I already know I don’t act my age, I give myself permission to not look it either. And you know what? I give you permission too!