Why are we terrified of getting older? Why does aging have to suck?
Because we are conditioned to think that way. Advertising and media campaigns train us to think the fleeting moments of youth are all we should value. They need us to think that way & feel miserable with our current state so we buy their youth-inducing serums and magic pills. And it doesn’t help that in the ballet world in particular we all start talking like we’re over-the-hill at twenty-six.
That mindset leads us to give up. Maybe not overtly, but subconsciously you start to let yourself go while clinging to the glory days of your youth.
- Oh well, I can’t do that anymore because I’m getting old.
- Must be nice to be young...my body just can’t look that fit anymore.
- I can't get through this variation without huffing and puffing...I'll just step things down a notch.
You are convinced you are already in your decline so why try to fight it? You use age as an excuse. But what if it were an opportunity instead?
If you really think about it, aging just means you are awarded more opportunities. My birthday is this Thursday. And from how I see it, I’ve had:
- 39 years to make mistakes…and learn from those mistakes.
- 39 years to understand my body…and use that understanding to optimize it.
- 39 years to develop my art…and appreciate the unique version of ballet that I bring to the stage.
- 39 years to to discover true nourishment for my body...and soul.
- 39 years to build my confidence…and the vulnerability that goes along with it to allow openness and connection.
- 39 years to finally feel comfortable in my own skin…and trust that I have something worthwhile to say.
- 39 years to experience life…and all the joy, pleasure, pain, and wonder that comes with it.
I’m still working on all this. It’s been literally a lifelong journey. But each year is a chance to get better.
Here’s the secret the money-hungry advertising industry doesn’t want you to know - the key to aging gracefully is not trying to stay the same...but listening to your body as it matures and adjusting to what it needs along the way. Don’t pretend you can hold on to a younger version of yourself. Don’t fight the change…optimize it. If you scratch and claw at life as you try to get back to the look & feel of your 18-year-old self, you are going to be miserable. Not only will you be miserable but you’ll be unaware of your current needs. And if you don’t address your body’s current state and give it what it needs to be healthy and vibrant, you are only going to escalate your decline. You’ll feel older, look older, and act older. Meaning you'll fall right into the trap your social conditioning has laid for you.
Think of nurturing your body into maturity…into its next level. Allow your body and mind to develop with each year that provides new challenges and puzzles to figure out in your self-care. Don’t fight age…embrace it. Use time as a tool to get comfortable in your own skin...which is really all beauty is anyway.
Instead of attaching the words “years old” to our age, we should start saying “years better.”
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Photo credit: Sean Cook