In the times we are living in, aging seems to be a dirty word. Something that you must ward off for as long as you possibly can. No matter how forward weve become in our thinking many men and women still see aging as a threat to their quality of life and their sense of self-worth. People are expected to have a mid-life crisis and often seniors mourn as they get older instead of enjoying what is supposedly their golden years. There are multi-million dollar industries built on the attempt to stay young everything from plastic surgeons giving face lifts to a new skin cream guaranteed to take 10 years off your looks.
There is a place for these things of course, and its important to care about how you look, but if you view the aging process with so much anxiety it gets your heart to racing, Id ask you to take a deep breath, relax, and rethink your perspective on aging.
Ive always been told that with age comes experience and wisdom so what if we looked at the aging process in terms of us aging like a good wine instead of getting worse? Many eastern cultures revere their elders for their wisdom and knowledge. How we see things, our attitudes and beliefs could have a profound effect on how gracefully we age.
Aging Gracefully in a Youth Obsessed Society
To age “gracefully” in a culture which idolizes youth is not an easy thing to do. It requires inner strength and wisdom. It also requires a great deal of self-confidence and being comfortable in your own skin.
I think we’ll find that we can do away with some myths about aging which limit our quality of life, and also discover some of the “perks” of aging that we often ignore.
Being vibrant in “later life” is not just for the famous. Undoubtedly everyone knows at least one person who is living a full, rewarding life “despite” their age. This is really the way it should be – life should get better as we age.
What I’ve discovered is that there are two “basic steps” to aging gracefully. To borrow from the “Serenity Prayer,” graceful aging requires the “serenity to accept the things we cannot change; courage to change the things we can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Of course acceptance of aging is a key to aging gracefully – but which of the changes that commonly come with age are the “things we cannot change” and which are the “things we can change?”
Things You Can Change and Things You Cannot Change
These two major requirements of successful aging – accepting the aging process and changing the things we do have the ability to change — may seem to contradict each other.
Sometimes success in life involves the ability embrace the paradox that when we accept life at it is at the moment, it opens a door for positive change somewhere else. A common example of this is the couple who finally “get pregnant” when they’ve given up and decide to adopt a child.
The bottom line is to have the ability to relax with whatever challenges may come our way and that includes the changes aging brings. When we are relaxed, we are open to seeing things in different ways.
We are no longer in the “fight or flight” mode that causes us to act impulsively, and we then have the ability to reflect. Instead of running out to buy every new anti-aging product, we can spend some time looking at our fears and learning whether they are based in reality or on some “societal expectations” that we’d be better off ignoring.
It’s a fact that attitude has an enormous role in how we age. Much of the decline that people experience with aging comes about due to the belief that decline in function and quality of life is part and parcel of aging.
Of course, many of the problems of age are not due to the process of aging itself, but rather due to the effects of a lifetime of stress and poor health habits. Proper diet, exercise and social support are all just as important as your mental health. Getting the proper nutrients and antioxidants can literally eliminate your risk of getting some of todays top health threats such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. So one of the things you can change is giving yourself some extra insurance by making sure you are getting the proper antioxidants and nutrients to help your body help itself.