There is so much talk about getting older.
Maybe that’s because I am getting older. That means the people I hang out with are therefore getting older too, so of course I keep hearing people speak about it. I have definitely entered the period of the 50th’s!!
What is perturbing to me is that so much of the conversation is negative, like getting older is a bad thing. What the?? No it’s not!!
My own personal experience of getting older has been fabulous. In my 20s I was so grateful that I had a level of freedom that I certainly didn’t have in my teen years. In my 30s I noticed how much deeper and more loving my relationship with myself had become now that I had grown up even more. Having “been around the block” a few times, I had certainly learnt some cool stuff!
In my 40s, I have now developed a powerful communication style and ability to influence that I only dreamed of in my early 30s.
How can getting older be a bad thing when each passing year is an opportunity to grow, expand and learn more about ourselves and others?
Ok, I can hear you saying “But what about my body – it aches, things are heading south and I can’t physically do what I use to be able to do”.
The question I would ask in response to that is “How well do you look after your body?”
It seems unrealistic that – if you have caned yourself through poor food choices, lots of partying and a lack of holistic movement – that twenty years on, your body will be able to do the same things it could when you were younger.
The old saying of “we reap what we sow” springs to mind in this instance!
I am always so inspired when I see people in their 70s and 80s who are physically in amazing shape. They have treated their temple, well, like a temple and they are reaping the rewards. Yes, maybe they no longer have the full range of abilities but they certainly aren’t limited in what they can do. They are still running marathons, doing some impressive yoga moves, and swimming significant distances.
I have a sneaking suspicion these people weren’t complaining about getting older when they were 45!! I imagine they were dreaming and planning for the next decade of their lives, excited about what they could do next. They were moving and growing and learning, and instead of focusing on their diminishing skill level they focused on how they could expand.
As for the wrinkles and the cellulite, well my personal view is our body is a canvas. All the moments are captured on it, the scars from falling out of trees as a child, the stretch marks from pregnancies, and the smile lines from decades of laughing.
Instead of viewing these things as a negative, we could celebrate them and all they represent – our journey. This continual push by the media to be “eternally youthful” is so misguided. In my opinion it creates a sense of not being enough – especially as we get older. Let’s be honest, there are many examples of people overfeeding the Monster of Eternal Youth and it’s not pretty!
I challenge you to see how you are viewing ageing. If you are scared of it or find the thought of it depressing, I imagine that you have no examples in your life of people who are ageing well.
And yes, I get it, most people don’t age well. Could that be partly because the majority of the conversations people have around getting older are about how much it sucks instead of how fabulous it is?
There are so many examples out there of older people doing amazing things like enrolling in university in their 70s, doing the Hawaii Ironman in their 60s, and becoming parents in their 50s.
Find some examples of inspiring and healthy 70 and 80 year olds and ask them what their belief on ageing is. Be curious about what they have done and how they have such vibrancy in their ninth decade on the planet.
The best thing about ageing is the wisdom and knowledge we get to accumulate along the way. We just have to remember to ask for it.