I was first introduced to this concept by Ram Das when I read his book “Still Here” about 20 years ago. This spurred me to start thinking of aging in a different context. As I moved through the age brackets, I vowed not to give in to the status quo.
Our culture is extremely youth oriented in regard to appearance. There are countless commercials about anti aging cream, extending one’s youthful look, et nauseum. When we examine the entertainment industry, we find actresses holding on to their youth with Botox treatments and numerous trips to cosmetic surgeon. Of course, we only need to look as far as the producers who want that youthful appearance for the camera. Advertisers who pay the expenses, then sell their products to the now conditioned masses who worship youth as a model influence. Speaking of “Influencers,” social media is a harvesting ground for ‘big bucks’ as youthful models post soft porn pictures and tell folks what to buy.
All of this not so subtlety tells us that as we age we are worth less, because in general, people want to appear younger, not older (unless your 15). How do we handle this? We, as a culture, need to re-value our aging population. We, as an aging part of the population, need to see value in our aging. I hope I don’t need to point out that with age mostly comes wisdom. I know that in every case that may not be true, but let’s assume it is in general. Therefore, wisdom aside, what can we value?
Seeing An Aging Appearance As Beautiful
Looking in the mirror, as I approach 70, I certainly don’t look like I did at 21. I remember 21, “Holy Cow,” I don’t want to be their again! Then I look again, seeing the wrinkles, I see a journey, the challenges met, and failures. As I peer deeply, I see a life lived. There is a treasure trove of experiences, lessons, wonderful and terrible times, but they were all real and they led to this moment in time which I cherish above all others because it is now, I live now. Yesterday is just another tiny crease on a face tattooed by experience and life lived fully. I am happy, and when I look in the mirror, I do not see regret, I see the Joy of a wonderful life lived. To top it off, I get to share that now! I get to help others through their tough times. Now who are you going to trust to help you with your most challenging life issues? Someone who Botoxed their wisdom lines right off their face because they didn’t like what they saw? Is their ANY wisdom their? I think not. You’d want someone with a face that shows they’ve been though what you are going through and you’d like to also see kindness, understanding without judgment. Rather than seeing an elder with a pruned look, see instead a fellow journeyer, an adventurer with a story, and wisdom to share. Smile, see the beauty of life! True beauty, not from a bottle, pill or surgeon’s scalpel.
The sprout of a Redwood tree is almost unseen. So tiny, it is lost in a forest of giants. The young adolescent is bright in its color, but still muted by its mature family all around. A young adult tree, standing tall and healthy, has much beauty, but the eyes or the observer look for the old ones’.. those that have experienced centuries of challenges and somehow survived. Those ancient species 2 or 3 millennia old, they have the authentic beauty, that’s what everyone wants to see.
Why then can’t we see that same beauty in humanity? It’s up to each of us to change the narrative. Don’t allow media to direct the narrative. Take a stand, see beauty in aging. If you’re not their already, you will be, When you look into that mirror in your old age, you want to fall in love with the life you’ve lived and the person you’ve become. It starts now with seeing beauty in the process of aging. This can be a practice as well as a journey. When using products, use those products that resonate with Nature. I use Fyve products because they are simple and don’t harm the earth or my body.
1- Change your mind by affirming what you admire. When you see an elder, smile. Say to yourself: “That person lived a real life.”
2- Remember daily that every living being ages and dies. It’s not a tragedy, its a journey! We see a baby come in and we celebrate! Aging and death can be celebrated instead of being revolted by the idea. We all make this journey, see it as a beautiful process, all the way to the end! We only speculate what’s on the other side, but the unknown is an adventure as well. No fear, be ecstatic that you or your loved ones’ can graduate from this school of challenges and experience the next phase, whatever it is with a sense of wonder and joy!
Most emotional pain comes from attachment. If we are attached to the idea that youth is good and aging is decrepit, we will be full of pain when we age and our loved ones’ age. One more time: Don’t let media lead the narrative, see aging as beautiful, remember the redwood tree. Live Life Fulfilled!
Thanks, and To Your Health!