Wrinkles, wrinkles and more wrinkles! Aging can seem to creep up out of nowhere. When you look in the mirror expecting to see a ‘younger’ version of yourself and you see this person staring back at you with wrinkles, worry lines, crow’s feet, or sagging skin it can feel a bit unsettling. You may ask yourself, ‘how did this happen and what can I do about it?’ Perhaps you change your diet, purchase expensive skin care products, go for a make-over, or go for Botox treatments. While any of these may help, when you are reflecting on your changed image, what is it that you are actually feeling? What might you be frightened to admit to yourself or others?
Does a feeling of dread or fear wash over you? Have you convinced yourself, knowingly or not, that growing older means you are ‘outdated, obsolete, past your prime’ awaiting the inevitable ‘dismissal’ by society? This feeling is very real because we live in a youth-obsessed society that values beauty, youth and a fantastically fit body over age, wisdom and experience!
You are not alone if you are feeling this way! Many, if not all women, have felt this way at one time or another. The good news is you can take steps to feel alive and empowered no matter what age you are.
Here are a few suggestions:
Change your Mindset: Let go of old, outdated stereotypes. You are not your Grandparents. Dismiss the notion of sitting in a rocking chair. Now, Seventy (70) is the new Fifty (50) and continuing to live an active and meaningful life is a reality.
Attitude Adjustment: Age is only a number and it is not a reflection of who you are. That saying ‘young at heart’ is apt because you are only as old as you feel.
Eat Healthy, Stay Physically Active & Rest: Eating a well-balanced diet, taking up activities that keep your muscles and mind strong (such as yoga, walking, pickleball) and getting a good night's sleep are essential to keeping your body healthy, vibrant and working for you, not against you.
Find Your Passion: Painting, pottery, volunteering, spending time with your loved ones, etc. By focusing on what you love to do, it will keep you connected to purpose and bring out the best in you.
Be Mindful: Stay present in the moment, keep your focus on what you are doing, and pay attention to what is going on around you. Awareness and acting with intention keep the mind strong.
Regardless of our culture's youth-obsessed mindset, aging can be beautiful! It all comes down to how you choose to embrace this reverential natural life process. Remembering that this phase of life is an honor and distinction, a celebration of all your wisdom and experiences, shifts the perspective into viewing aging with grace. Hold a positive mindset and stay active in ways that matter most to you, and your journey will be uniquely your own!
By Tracy Mignone and Jen Rizza, co-leaders of Coming Home: Women Embracing Aging (in a youth-obsessed culture)
**Join Tracy and Jen and other women who want to talk about what aging is really like with Coming Home: Women Embracing Aging (in a youth-obsessed culture), a women's sangha group. We get real, discussing the struggles, the learnings, the body's shifts, the changes of life roles, and how we can collectively support one another and champion aging in all the beauty it holds. You are not alone. Learn more here.