This morning, I saw yet another “Anti-Aging” advertisement. And I noticed how much this phrase can totally set me off. From 0 to 60 in the nano-second it takes me to read it. Yup. Pretty much every time. Upon reflection, I will take that as a blessing, since it also brings awareness to the reasons behind WHY it affects me so.
It’s not that I don’t want to look great, it’s just that I don’t particularly want to look young anymore.
I have 2 amazing sons, one a stone’s throw away from turning 30; our youngest will be 25 in weeks. I pay attention to the foods I eat, incorporating a daily regimine that includes healthy protein, loads of veggies, and as much water as I can possibly drink! I practise Yoga twice/week, and have taken up cycling again now that the spring has arrived. We have a large yard which I call my “Outdoor Gym”, since there is much body movement by mowing lawns, weeding, planting and tilling our vegetable and flower gardens. More and more, I am selecting healthy cleaning products – yes even toothpaste – and am enjoying the benefits and multiple uses for Essential Oils.
I have gleaned much wisdom in my 5 decades (plus) on this earth, and I am always happy to share it. I value discovery, wisdom, connection, compassion, kindness, courage, and integrity. But NOT Anti-Aging. Are you kidding me?? I would much rather be aging (healthfully is my preference), than the alternative. The alternative to me is to not wake up to tomorrow. And with my rich Hospice experience, I have seen much beauty in final moments. Beauty, and deep sorrow, and true love, and unmet longing, and also trust in something larger than ourselves. But that’s a topic for another time…
To get back on point….
Perhaps I resent the fact that aging is promoted and marketed as a bad thing. A negative thing. Something to avoid at all costs. I personally relish sharing long-standing history with others; with reaching into my past for a lesson or gem or common bond that can help someone within their current situation; with the growing perspective on the importance of people, not things, that comes with aging.
I realize the reasons behind the current ‘Anti-Aging” advertising fad are really not about aging. It’s about looking better, or feeling better. Or ultimately, both. Which I will stand behind – both feet in – arms full out, YES! But it is not, in my opinion, about aging at all. It’s about our misunderstanding and negative thoughts that surround aging. Yes, there are physical limitations that occur as we age, but many people live from a young age with physical limitations. There may be a loss of independence, and we may reach out to others for assistance. But this is a life lesson, is it not? There are many times in our lives when we recall the immeasurable gift of family and friends coming together to help us along the path. And, conversely, if your life resembles mine, there are multiple times where we have simply given to others, completely and gladly, as we notice their need. No requirement for repayment, no I.O.U. – simply giving of ourselves in whichever way we can to help another. No matter the heaviness of their load, simply recognizing that we have something to offer in the moment, and then giving it joyously.
I suggest we shift the jargon, and our mindset from Anti-Aging, to Aging Well. Aging Joyously. Aging Fully (oh yes, that’s my favourite so far…..).
I choose to be a touchstone to the glory of aging. To sharing the wisdom I have assimilated. To sharing my heart as deeply as I can. To use the courage it sometimes takes to lift my head off the pillow and show myself the gentle kindness and messages of love and support so often provided for others. To caring enough about myself to fuel my Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Spirtual aspects mindfully and daily.
Here’s to the courage to be beautifully and fully who we are, and to choose (or not) to become more healthful as we simply, and happily – and FULLY Age.
In health and vibrancy, Laurie.