Whether you’re in your 20s, just starting your journey as an accountant and a mom, or you’re in your 60s, ready for retirement, today, we’re going to have a real talk about something that affects all of us: our relationship with aging.
Did you ever stop to think that you actually have a relationship with aging? It’s not just this thing that happens to everyone—it’s a whole mix of thoughts, emotions, and perspectives.
I remember back when I was in college watching this TV show called “30 Something” and thinking, “I can’t even imagine what my life would be like in my 30s.” Then once I had my daughter when I was 26, I remember looking at my parents in their early 50s and thinking, “I can’t even imagine what my life will be like in my 50s.”
Now I’m in my late 50s, looking back at the time that has passed and being amazed that I’m at the stage that I couldn’t imagine when my children were younger. It’s as if we’re constantly leap-frogging over time, getting to the next stage that we couldn’t imagine a decade ago.
I think we each have different perspectives on aging based on various factors, especially as women. In this day and age, we’re surrounded by messages that tell us we need to find the fountain of youth or else we won’t be found attractive or be as valuable in the workforce.
The truth is that how you view aging can shape your experience of growing older, both in your personal life and in your career. How you view aging can bring you stress and worry, or it can open doors to new possibilities and bring you curiosity and energy.
Think about it for a second – where do you currently stand in your relationship with aging? Are you constantly judging and criticizing yourself as you see those wrinkles and gray hairs? Or are you completely ignoring the fact that you’re getting older, trying to push it out of your mind?
Believe me, I’m always on the search for the latest wrinkle cream and will continue getting my hair dyed every month. I’m not above doing what I want to do to feel and look my best.
But, no matter what age or stage you’re in, it’s important to find balance, embrace awareness, and show ourselves some compassion as we navigate the natural changes that come with aging. Whether you’re in your 30s or well beyond that, this episode will give you valuable insights and practical tips to help you develop a more positive and empowering perspective on aging.
This week I’m going to discuss your current relationship with aging and how to improve it no matter what your age currently is.
Your current relationship with aging
It’s important to take some time to understand our current relationship with aging. To do that, we can start by defining the different ways people approach aging.
On one end of the spectrum, there’s a disconnection from aging that comes from a place of judgment. This means viewing aging negatively and criticizing ourselves for the physical changes and limitations that come with getting older.
On the other end of the spectrum, some people disconnect from aging by ignoring it and pretending it doesn’t exist. They might deny the realities of aging, thinking of it as something distant in the future.
However, by avoiding the topic, we miss out on embracing the transformative journey that aging can be and setting a positive example for younger generations. Reflecting on our past attitudes toward aging is also important.
When we were younger, we often ignored the aging process, focusing on building our careers, raising families, and dealing with life’s challenges. But as we grow older, it’s common for judgmental thoughts about aging to surface.
We might find ourselves focusing on perceived flaws or complaining about the passage of our youth. These thoughts can harm our self-esteem and limit our ability to fully enjoy life at any age.
The ideal position in our relationship with aging lies in awareness, acceptance, and connection. It means cultivating an open and accepting mindset toward aging, appreciating its beauty and value.
We acknowledge the passage of time while embracing the wisdom, experiences, and growth that come with each year. To move toward this ideal position, we need to examine our default thoughts about aging and how they affect us.
What beliefs do we hold about getting older? Do these thoughts empower us or hold us back? Are we constantly striving to look younger or feeling overwhelmed by the passage of time?
Taking time to reflect on these questions helps us become aware of our mindset and consciously choose more supportive and empowering beliefs about aging.
It’s also important to point out that in Western society, we are constantly bombarded with messages that promote anti-aging as the ultimate goal. Advertisements, media, and societal norms reinforce the idea that youthfulness is the ideal state, and signs of aging should be fought against or hidden.
This narrative creates unrealistic expectations and leads to a negative perception of natural aging. Challenging this narrative is crucial.
We need to recognize that our bodies are meant to age, and instead of resisting it, we can learn to embrace and appreciate the changes that come with each year. Shifting our focus from external appearances to inner vitality, wisdom, and fulfillment is essential.
However, it’s important not to swing to the other extreme of idolizing aging. Embracing aging doesn’t mean that every aspect of it is desirable or without challenges.
We should acknowledge both the positive and challenging aspects of aging to maintain a balanced perspective. Embracing aging without idolizing it means celebrating the growth, wisdom, and self-acceptance that come with getting older.
It means cherishing the experiences and memories that shape us while also taking care of our well-being through self-care and healthy habits. Take a moment to think about the cultural messages you’ve encountered regarding aging.
How have these messages influenced your perception of getting older? Have you felt pressured to conform to the anti-aging narrative? Or have you seen aging being idolized without acknowledging its challenges?
Remember, we are not bound by societal expectations or cultural norms. We have the power to redefine our relationship with aging and create a more empowering narrative for ourselves.
How to improve your relationship with aging
As I’ve shared on the podcast before, our relationship with anything or anyone is based on our thoughts about that person, place, or thing. The same thing goes for our relationship with aging.
That’s why, when it comes to aging, it’s important to approach it with curiosity. Embracing curiosity allows us to explore our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about aging without judgment.
Take a moment to reflect on your own thoughts about aging. For example, have you ever questioned why certain thoughts or emotions arise when you think about getting older? By being curious, we can uncover the underlying reasons behind our attitudes toward aging and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves.
It’s crucial to recognize the power of intentional thinking when it comes to aging. This involves understanding the facts about aging and the human body.
By educating ourselves about the natural processes and changes that occur as we age, we can counteract any misinformation or unfounded fears we may have. Intentional thinking empowers us to take control of our thoughts and emotions related to aging.
We can choose to focus on the positive aspects, such as wisdom, experience, and personal growth, rather than getting caught up in societal stereotypes or negative self-perceptions.
As we navigate the aging process, it’s essential to prioritize self-love, acceptance, and surrender. This means embracing our bodies as they change and accepting ourselves for who we are at each stage of life.
Rather than dwelling on external appearances, we can focus on nurturing our physical and mental well-being. By aligning our actions with our values and priorities, we can make choices that promote our overall health and happiness.
This might involve engaging in regular exercise, practicing self-care, cultivating meaningful relationships, and pursuing activities that bring us joy and fulfillment.
Understanding that our values shape our decisions regarding appearance and self-care is an important realization. We have the power to choose how we want to approach our own aging journey.
By prioritizing mindfulness and self-awareness, we can make intentional decisions about the way we care for our bodies. This includes considering our personal values, beliefs, and aspirations when it comes to beauty standards, cosmetic procedures, and overall self-care practices.
Being mindful of these decisions ensures that we align our actions with our authentic selves and not solely with societal expectations.
Rather than succumbing to societal pressures, it’s crucial to appreciate the natural growth and aging process of the human body. Aging is a testament to the resilience and strength of our bodies and a reflection of the experiences and wisdom we have accumulated over time.
By letting go of societal ideals and accepting the uniqueness of our own bodies, we can embrace the beauty and purpose of aging. Each wrinkle, gray hair, or physical change tells a story and represents a life well-lived.
By shifting our perspective, we can celebrate the journey and find gratitude for the aging process. It’s up to each of us to define our own relationship with aging and choose the thoughts, values, and perspectives that align with our authentic selves.
The last thing I want to say is that it’s important that, as women, we don’t judge each other for the choices we make in our aging journey. If someone wants a facelift, some Botox, to let their hair go grey, or to get a boob job, support their choice even if it’s not something you would choose.
Being the healthiest, most attractive version of ourselves for our own sake is not a bad thing. How we go about that is totally up to the individual and shouldn’t be looked down upon.
We each need to honor our aging journey and not make other women feel bad for theirs. Just get clear about your relationship with aging and love yourself no matter your age or what you choose to do to feel good about yourself.
The truth is that how you view aging can shape your experience of growing older, both in your personal life and in your career.
How you view aging can bring you stress and worry, or it can open doors to new possibilities and bring you curiosity and energy.