Appreciating Aging
Appreciating Aging

Youth and thinness are the pillars of the beauty standard. One thing is certain; we will all age and our bodies age every single day.  Aging in our culture can be challenging, especially through the lens of the beauty standard. We have products, procedures, and cosmetic surgery all to help “rewind the clock” and reverse visible signs of aging. Inevitably, if we’re lucky, we will get to age and our age will not be able to be hidden forever. This learning to accept that we cannot control aging. It is letting go of needing to like the way we look is crucial for accepting our body. Let’s talk about what you can do to reframe the aging process. Learn to accept body changes so that we can begin appreciating aging. 

Wisdom to Begin Appreciating Aging

We can gain wisdom through experience and pain. The older we get the more life experience and pain we will have and in turn the more wisdom we eventually have. Can we learn to value the wisdom of age that you can only simply get through time on this earth? We can learn to reframe aging as an opportunity for gratitude for what we will learn about ourselves, the world, and the people around us. Remember, your pain and struggles as you go through life will be your wisdom later on. 

Giving up the materialistic 

As we grow older we learn that material things are far less important than the people in our lives. As you grow older you will experience the inevitable loss of a loved one. This can bring a greater appreciation for the people in your life. Loss can help shift us away from materialistic things and remind us to cherish people over things. Our connections in our life and the quality of those connections will far outweigh any material object you will ever hold. Research continues to show the biggest factor in your happiness is not what you have but rather the quality of relationships. Materials can be replaced and you learn that people, moments, and memories cannot. 

Appreciating Aging and Time 

All of our time on this planet is finite. We can learn to be more appreciative of our time through mindfulness. Aging can teach us how important time really is and is not at the same time. We can learn to be more present-minded through age and value our time as we become aware of how fast time goes as we get older. Use this to your advantage to be more present. When we are young a day might feel like a lifetime and as we age a year might pass in the blink of an eye. 

New experiences

Speaking of time, research has shown that if you want to slow down time, try to have as many new experiences in life as you possibly can. Think back to your childhood, every day was likely a new experience. When we are young we have many firsts. It’s why a 5 minute time out might have felt like it lasted ages. The older we get the less new experiences we have. Focus on learning new things and having as many new experiences as you can. The longer we have in this world, the more opportunities we have to have new experiences and there is something simply beautiful about being able to acknowledge the experience of aging that it allows you to have new experiences. 

Self-growth 

As they say “Beauty fades, a shit personality is forever”. What they mean by this is if you focus your energy, time, and money on your appearance, what you will be left with is just that, an aged appearance that lacks personality, values, and growth. The truth of the matter is we cannot defy aging despite what Maybeline may try to tell us. Invest in yourself instead. Take your time, energy, and money and do the work for improving yourself, building positive habits, enjoying life, and building the best possible version of you. Remember, yes we age but our soul is ageless. 

Don’t let age hold you back 

How many times have you or someone you know said something along the lines of “I’m too to old to do ____”. Don’t let societal stereotypes and messages on age and what you should or should not be doing at a certain age confine you. Don’t get stuck in the timeline trap of life for when you “should” be doing certain things. Age sometimes really is just a number. So wear that bikini, fall in love at 65, start over at any age, be silly, play games, get a new job, and don’t let your age stop you from doing what you want. The truth is, there are very few things that age completely stops you from doing.  Appreciating aging simply allows you to change your perspective and live your life in the most fulfilling way.

Article Written by Julie Raymond, LCPCa licensed Chicago therapist who specializes in treating a variety of mental health disorders with evidence-based treatments. To schedule an appointment with her or one of our other therapists, contact intake@cityscapecounseling.com

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