The Secret to Growing Old Gracefully

WHEN time steals your youth, how do you embrace a life you have always feared would happen?

When beauty fades and laugh lines start to dominate your face, when Botox can’t hold the skin in your neck tight anymore, when growers couldn’t stop that receding hairline, when no amount of exercise could bring back the shape and body features you used to have, when your charm doesn’t work on people anymore, when that beautiful smile turns ordinary – because someone else does it better now, someone much younger, someone much more vibrant and appealing, someone way wittier than you used to be —  how do you finally accept that? How do you let go of your youth and start facing the life as an old woman now?

They say life starts at 40 for men, but for women it’s something we will all come to terms with — we live in an era where looking young and staying pretty appears to be the concentration of Science. They have never stopped researching and inventing machines, discovering herbs and magic potions that could keep women looking like their 2os. Those cream advertisements have instilled in us that aging is something every woman should dread about.

With age comes wisdom, but why do we fear growing old so much? What exactly is so scary about growing old?

When you’re on your near 30s you fear that you’re no longer that desirable and younger men would start calling you “tita” behind your back because you’re not as attractive as you were when you were in your early 20s, and its going to be a little depressing because you were used to being the center of attraction. When you reach the age of 40, you fear dealing with midlife crisis and how everything about your life and body changes. At the age of 50, you fear menopause and hot flashes. At the age of 60, you fear retiring from whatever passion you are into. At the age of 70, you fear being sick and bored and if you’re lucky to reach 80, you fear it’s already time to go.

But more than those reasons, what truly scares us is the fear of losing the kind of life we used to enjoy. Imagine how painful it is to want to do something you have been passionate about all your life and then had to give it up because your hands aren’t steady anymore, or your eyesight has already deteriorated or your knees are too weak to even race that Ferrari. We fear not being recognized anymore despite all the achievements we had in our younger years, because someone else is greater now; or, sometimes it’s actually the fear of reaching a certain age and not achieve anything, and I have figured that’s the problem. We are too consumed with our fears. We worry too much of things that aren’t even there yet. We are too occupied with the idea of proving something to people. We are too focused on making ourselves pleasing to others that we fail to enjoy our journey to our sunset years.

We all have our own reasons why we fear reaching our dotage. Some have mastered growing old gracefully and some are still in denial. And this kind of thinking — the denial thing — is what we should learn to change. Women growing old should pay more attention to making themselves wiser as they age, than looking for ways to look 10 years younger.

Growing old is dreaded because it has been infused in us that growing old is pathetic and sad, that life becomes tedious when we reach our twilight years, but life only becomes monotonous when we stop looking forward to something — when we stop planning.

How about changing this thinking? How About creating a bucket list for 40+ something, a trend that would cater to aging women only. Something that would make growing old much acceptable, something to look forward to by the youth when they grow old and not something for old people to look forward to, to look young. We are expected to act more intelligently and more proper as we age but it should not restrict us from doing anything that would make us happier. Just because you’re 40 doesn’t mean you can’t wear those tight jeans anymore, just because you’re raising three kids doesn’t mean you have to stop your singing. Just because you have retired doesn’t mean you should retire from your ambitions too. We only age when we lose enthusiasm.

You want to grow old gracefully? Just keep planning, even if planning just means waking up and watering your plants or having coffee. At the end of the day, just plan — don’t lose that enthusiasm. Have something to look forward to everyday.

Enjoy life, learn from your mistakes and when you grow old teach the things you have learned to the young ones.•



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