“Getting older makes you more alive. More vitality, more interest, more intelligence, more grace, more expansion.” ~ Frazer Harrison. Aging is something that happens to all of us. In this age of television commercials and social media, we hear a lot about “anti-aging”. Whether it’s used outright in face cream commercials or in subtle ways, promoting that “youth” is ‘where it’s at’, we’re constantly bombarded by the idea that aging is a bad thing.
Aging and ageism
Massive corporations spend millions of dollars a year in trying to make us believe that we have to look young to feel young and to deny that we’re all aging. This not only proliferates an attitude of ageism, it creates a subtle, but perpetual disrespect for our older population.
In many western societies, the glamor of youth is glorified and the beauty and wisdom of aging has been diminished. It hasn’t always been so and the swing of the pendulum seems to be coming back around towards an understanding that age is beauty.
Aging in other cultures
Japan has one of the high life expectancies for seniors in the world. In fact, as of January 20, 2022, the current title holder for the oldest person on the planet is a Japanese woman by the name of Kane Tanaka. A deep respect and reverence for the family and community elders, rooted in tradition means that many elders live with their extended families and have stronger and deeper bonds with the community.
While there are hundreds of Native American tribes across the United States, one thing they share is a reverence for their elders. Most tribes understand that with aging comes wisdom and the passing on of traditions. Approaching death is viewed as just a part of life and is generally not feared, but respected as part of the journey.
In Greece, the term “old man” is a term of endearment instead of a slur. There is a respect that comes with age, both for men and women. While governmental programs supporting the elderly need to be bolstered, the family structure and support of the elderly is strong.
4 Secrets for embracing aging
It’s no secret that celebrity drives some of our perceptions of beauty here in the United States. Thank goodness, beauty and wisdom in aging is now being touted by celebrities such as Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Jamie Lee Curtis and Helen Mirren. It’s about time.
So how do we accept and even embrace our own aging?
Bring your skills. Whatever you have always done well or what you do well now is what you have to offer. Great cook? Offer classes or share your personal creations. The thing that you have spent time in mastering over your lifetime is much needed by others, no matter the skill.
Take care of your skin. Beauty as we age changes and “dewy skin” is left to the teenagers. But no matter our age, we should always be using sunscreen and decent quality moisturizers. If you wear makeup, understand how to apply makeup in a way that is flattering and doesn’t leave you looking as though you’re clinging to an age you have already passed.
Stay curious and have fun. Perspective truly is everything and we create our own reality. Part of creating a fulfilling reality for ourselves is to do the things which we enjoy. Hunger to learn new things. Some of us may not be able to fulfil dreams that we had when we were younger, but adapting and pursuing a new goal or dream is important.
Not giving a doggone. Speaking of perspective, so many of us grew up being taught “what people think of us is important”. As we’ve aged, many of us have realized that we just don’t care anymore how people may think of us. Understanding that we’ve earned our stripes and also have earned the freedom to be who we truly are, can set us free. We’ve fulfilled (and in many cases surpassed) the expectations for our lives and now we can do and be what and who we want to be.
Worrying less about others’ expectations, being gentle and accepting of yourself and living that freedom you’ve earned is what the golden years is all about. And when all else fails, looking to a role model can provide a little inspiration. Have a peek here for yours: Women Over 50 Are Finally Having A Moment
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