I was listening to the Howard Stern show on my drive to work, yesterday and there was a segment in which they went out on the street to ask people “What’s one thing people never tell you about getting older?” I sat, listening to their answers which ranged from “Your teeth and hair start falling out” to “Your hands hurt”…all things which everyone tells you about getting old.
Do you want to know the real secret that no one ever tells you about aging? Well, I hope this doesn’t send anyone into an existential crisis, but here it is: getting old doesn’t magically make you feel like an old person on the inside. You still feel like the same person you were, when you were young…except now you’re trapped in this old person’s body.
Now, that’s not to say that no internal change occurs. Certainly, you gain some wisdom along the way. You mature and develop your character. But, these changes don’t make you feel like an old person, internally. You still feel like the same youthful individual you’ve always been.
Except now, you’re tired more often than you used to be. Like…all day. Your skin doesn’t seem to fit as well as it used to. It starts to droop and sag in more and more places with each passing year. Your joints start to ache for no apparent reason.
Older folk still want to do youthful things, they have just been weighed down by a lifetime of experience and body that’s betraying them.
Basically, your body ages, but your spirit doesn’t. That’s the real tragedy behind getting old and it’s half the theory behind that famous quote, “Youth is wasted on the young.” People always assume that the quote simply means to say that young people don’t have the experience and wisdom to know what to do with all their youthful vigor. But, it’s more than that. Older folk still want to do youthful things, they have just been weighed down by a lifetime of experience and body that’s betraying them.
Internal vs External
In my opinion, the greatest struggle in getting older is maintaining a sense of self-identity in a body that is changing more and more with each passing year. With
It’s also no wonder so many people have a midlife crisis. Around that age, they are starting to realize the effects that aging has had on them, realizing how quickly the last twenty years
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to let the years ravage us so thoroughly. There are several methods proven to mitigate the damage we suffer due to nothing more than the passage of time.
Top 5 ways to age gracefully
- Nutrition. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Just be sure you’re getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, and a healthy dose of protein while cutting down on refined sugar.
- Exercise. Physical exercise is critical in maintaining your health and youth as possible. It helps to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and even dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s important not only to your physical health but your mental health, as well.
- Reduce stress. Meditation and mindfulness are two exceptionally effective methods of relieving stress. But, I understand they aren’t for everyone. Luckily, exercise plays a role here. Getting active is a great tried and true way to let off steam. Another thing to consider is talking to a therapist. You don’t have to have a verifiable mental illness to benefit from talking out your problems with a licensed professional.
- Sunblock. Staying out of the sun can help to keep your skin from aging prematurely, but it can also lead to boredom and sedentariness. So grab some SPF and get out there.
- Skin care. To keep your skin looking and feeling its best, it’s important to maintain its moisture and thereby its elasticity. Here at The Nines, we have lots of options to help keep your skin looking as good as possible for as long as possible. You may also want to check out this entry I wrote previously on the best skin care regimen.
To me, this provides a holistic approach to maintaining your mental health by keeping you feeling and looking your best as well as developing healthy and beneficial self-care habits. If we can slow down the aging process and relieve some of those physical issues – the loose skin, the aching joints, the fatigue – then our sense of self-identity won’t be at odds with what we see in the mirror and, more importantly, what we feel in our physical being.
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