“Imagine a world where you didn’t spend your entire life trying to stay young.”
Where do I sign up for that world, please?
I’ve been a proponent on the pro-aging movement for a long time. Because the alternative of not aging isn’t so good. I’ve experienced it first hand when my father died at the age of 54.
I recently came across a newly released TED talk on “why getting older needs more heroes.” This is a talk you can’t miss – I agree 100 percent with speaker, Matt Hirst!
It Starts With A Little Wrinkle
If you’re reading this, you probably can think back and remember freaking out when the first wrinkle appeared. I remember it well.
But then life got in the way. I bought cremes, serums, and a whole slew of anti-aging products designed to hold back the hands of time for as long as possible. Quite frankly, I was a little too busy living to ever think much about it.
I’ve noticed that’s not the case anymore. While we didn’t have access to things like Botox and Fillers until we were well into adulthood, today’s millennials are jumping on this bandwagon younger than ever.
And that scares me.
Especially when they justify using Botox because:
“I’m drawn to the fact that it delays the aging process.”
No, it doesn’t.
Every day you’re alive, you age. Why isn’t that a good thing? And when did “aging” become synonymous with youthful looks? Why don’t we stop that crazy talk now!?
I think about all I’ve learned from when I was twenty-something until now as a fifty-something. I love who I am today. And I sure as hell don’t want to go back to my twenties, any more than I want to look like I’m a twenty-something now that I’m in my fifties!
When Will The Assumptions Quit?
We used to be in the wedding photography business. I’ll never forget one wedding, the bride’s mother warned us about “crazy aunt Helen.” The groom’s aunt was a bit eccentric, she told me. We would be able to pick her out of the crowd. And while crazy aunt Helen would be in family portraits, they wanted us to avoid capturing her in candids. They didn’t want “her behavior” captured forever in their photographs.
I watched for crazy aunt Helen that day. I couldn’t find her.
But I did see this fantastic woman in her sixties jumping in to be part of the action. She pulled the groom out to the dance floor and strutted her stuff. She laughed and had fun all day long. She joked with us, having the time of her life. So, of course, she ended up in quite a few pictures.
The bride and her mom were upset. They wanted all of those photos taken away; they didn’t want them in their final wedding albums.
Quite frankly, I was shocked. I bit my tongue, but was trying to figure out why her behavior was so wrong. The bride’s mom finally hit the nail on the head: Why doesn’t she act her age?
And there you have it.
Culturally, we’ve determined what we think is appropriate for every age.
When someone says they’ve reached a certain age, your mind instantly jumps to abilities and actions.
Did your mind jump to assumptions based on age?
Now watch this.
How many 50, 60, 70, or even 80 year olds state they feel as if they are still twenty-something? Maybe their bodies won’t allow them to do what they did in their twenties, but in their minds, they haven’t changed.
It’s perception that changes everything. And that’s what we need to focus on, especially as more of us in society are entering our 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s.
It’s Time To Be Proud Of Our Age
The concept of pro-aging isn’t going to change unless we change it, one person at a time.
That’s why I’m on a crusade to change the way we talk about growing older. It’s a GOOD thing, not bad. So let’s look at it that way.
Find beauty in every day
I get the fact that the world is a pretty crazy place right now. But if you look back throughout history, it’s always been pretty crazy. People always have thought the end was near, something dreadful is about to happen, and catastrophe is right around the corner.
Stop listening to it. Stop watching it. Stop believing it. Truth be told, we live in the best times in history. Don’t believe me? Read the fantastic book Factfulness by Hans Rosling and you’ll quickly believe it to be true.
Then start finding the beauty in everything you do. I go for a morning walk, and for the past two months, a family of bald eagles greets me almost every morning. How amazing is that?
I’ve also started looking in the mirror and telling myself how wonderful I look each day. Finding the beauty in yourself changes everything about you and your day. Just try it! (And just ignore what those naysayers say. They don’t matter anyway. 😉 )
Realize we’re developmental beings
People seem to think that once we reach adulthood, we’re finished growing. Nope. Because we’re living, breathing souls, we continue to change throughout our lives.
Our bodies may stop growing taller. Our actions and abilities may peak. But that doesn’t stop us from learning, growing, and changing.
Stop asking what you can’t do, and focus instead on what you can do. Don’t pay attention to what the “journals and experts” tell you is normal for a person your age. You know YOU best!
We’re always evolving. If you don’t like who you are today, who do you want to be?
Get out there and make that happen!
Change your mindset, change your life
Want to know the biggest predictor of getting what you want out of life? It’s having a growth mindset.
Study after study shows that people really can change if they believe they can change.
When a 70 year old says she’s old, overweight, and living a downward spiral, that’s her mindset. If that same 70 year old changes her mindset to believe anything is possible, it is. One of my favorite success stories from 2019 is TrainWithJoan. Or as her Instagram bio reads: You can’t turn back the clock but you can wind it up again!
Here at VisionOfSuccess, we believe aging is a beautiful thing.
Here’s to 2020, the year we become everything we’ve dreamed of being, doing, and accomplishing.
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