How do You Feel About Aging?
With a combination of genetics, healthy living and luck, we will get older. Aging does have its challenges, but it can also be a badge of honor. It's all a matter of perspective.
Aging can be, at times, challenging, thrilling, complicated, difficult and confusing. And at times, it can catch us off-guard. We all want to age, of course… because the alternative is not exactly the next best choice.
I know I’m not speaking for us all here - and if you take exception to what I’m writing, please do share with us all how you embrace aging!
It’s a love/hate relationship, this aging game. I’m grateful that I’m aging, yet at the same time I dislike what it’s doing to my bones, my joints, my eyes, ears, skin and hair…you get the picture.
Speaking of pictures, tell me something: When you look in the mirror, do you see the same picture that other people see? It’s likely you don’t. I feel so young - still - on the inside, and it translates into what I think the face that returns my gaze in the mirror looks like. But alas, there is a stranger peering back, that never fails to startle me. “Who is that?” Surely that can’t be me.
Even though we are trending - by 2030, people over the age of 65 will surpass the number of people under the age of 18 in the U.S. - we are not the trendsetters. Of course, there will always be those blessed exceptions of ageless trendsetters, like Diane Keaton, Iris Apfel, Mae Musk, et al. Our nation will be one of older people holding the majority. But does being in the majority grant us the votes to overrule ageism? (Likely not.)
And one other question that keeps bugging me: Do we need to be on the pages of a fashion magazine to be recognized as “worthy” of aging “well?” (A rhetorical question at best.)
My friend and colleague, Bonnie Taub-Dix, recently wrote a wonderful article for U.S. News.com. Bonnie is thePause’s nutrition guru, as well as being a guru to many through her work as a dietitian, writer, blogger, podcaster and product spokesperson. Her words really resonated with me and I’m pretty sure they’ll resonate with you, too.
Some tidbits Bonnie points out (my inner voice responding in italics):
According to a new study, oIder people who felt younger than their age had a lower mortality rate than those who felt older.
I can easily see how that’s possible! Feel young, think young, act young. All that adds up to greater optimism and caring for yourself. We all know people who are sucked under by the expectations of what they *should* feel like and think like at their age. They don’t seem all that healthy and vibrant, now do they?
We need to focus less on halting how we change on the outside and pay more attention to healthy aging from the inside.
Yes, I know, Bonnie! But I, for one, struggle with this. I’ve yet to let my hair go gray (trust me, those strands are fighting for their freedom.) And I don’t eschew certain things to help “equalize” how I feel on the inside to how I look on the outside. But… I am very good about making sure I age healthfully from the inside by eating a healthy diet, getting my sleep, plenty of exercise and managing my stress levels. I don’t always succeed, but get a ‘A’ for effort.
Though men and women age at the same rate, age is perceived differently for men than women. If a woman has grey hair, she’ll often dye it to keep her looking younger until she’s ready to join the silver sisters, sporting a more natural look. I’m not ready…yet!
Yet when a man’s hair turns to a salt and pepper combo, it’s considered distinguished. When women put on a few pounds around the middle, they may squeeze into Spanx or resort to fad diets, cleanses and punitive plans while men might just loosen their belts and wear their shirts out of their pants. Of course this is a generalization, but if you pay attention to the ads for bikini bodies, Botox and skin solutions, women are most often the target. Yes, so true, dammit. Why the disconnect? Another gender issue that defies common sense…
Read Bonnie’s full article here: https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/healthy-aging-from-within
For A Pause
Aging does have its perks. Like a huge boost of self-esteem. In case you missed it in an earlier edition of thePause, I wrote about it here. #itgetsbetter
I also wrote about 7 Ways to Own Your Age for Northwell Health. Pointers, here.#embraceaging
Enough about me. The NIH shares intel about reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. #healthylifestyle
Despite all the bitching and moaning, older people are actually much happier than people in their 20s. #moretosmileabout.
One More Thing…
It used to be true that 64 felt so very far off and was “many years from now.” And those “many years” are now for many of us!