My bathroom shelf boasts a collection of over a dozen anti-aging creams and serums, reflecting my adherence to society’s fixation on halting the aging process.
The onset of my forties intensified my discomfort with the natural aging of my body, leading to a quest for preservation that went hand in hand with societal expectations.
However, a profound shift occurred today as I realized I had been fundamentally mistaken about the entire aging dilemma.
In a dream that unfolded more like reality TV than a movie, my older self, now in her late seventies, made a striking appearance. Gray hair peeked beneath dark chocolate highlights, and wrinkles adorned her cheeks, upper lip, and neck. Age spots, sagging abs, and thigh cellulite were present — embodying my mom’s dreaded aging fears.
Contrary to my expectations, the older me exuded contentment. She sported a broad smile, her topaz eyes radiating brightness and teasing light, unaffected by Botox interventions. Despite the visible signs of aging, she was undeniably HAPPY.
This encounter left a profound impact, prompting me to reevaluate my relationship with this future version of myself — perhaps the most significant relationship of all.
Discovering how to navigate the shame associated with aging as a woman and finding beauty and joy along the way becomes crucial in this journey of self-acceptance.
He wrote: “So, the timer starts the moment I touch the dough. The current world record time to beat is three minutes and fourteen seconds. I rolled the first chapatti, and by 20 seconds, I was done.”
Understand how we build our perceptions
As a mental health professional, I know that our entire reality is created from mental conclusions formed in early childhood. When we’re born, our minds are a clean slate, and we look at the world with innocent wonder.
As we grow older, observing our environment, we form mental conclusions about life, people — and especially about ourselves. Over the years, these mental beliefs form thick layers of human conditioning — or lenses of perception — through which life appears to us
This is what I call perceptional non-reality. Knowing this, I have to re-focus my lenses in regards to aging.
Reevaluate your core beliefs.
I’ve been asking myself, what is my core belief about aging?
What does “getting old” mean to me? So I write down, getting older means: ugly, decline, disconnected, feeble, depression, loneliness, death.
Inspired by my dream, I cross out these words and write another, a more useful description of what getting older means to me: Maturity, wisdom, self-knowledge, self-respect, awareness, richness of life experience.
The image from my dream floats into my mind, and the realization follows: The beauty of my old self’s self-esteem is radiating brightly from within, consuming wrinkles and age spots. Her physical appearance has NOTHING to do with the emotion of happiness — the most desired state craved by all.
However, I can’t be happy and in “fighting aging” mode at the same time. I have to make the choice to be happy and old. Year after year. Otherwise, I’ll be paddling against nature, totally wasting my time on unnecessary suffering and stress — and today, EVERYONE knows that stress is not good for the skin.
Choose to age gracefully
If I choose to age gracefully, my entire lifestyle evolves into self-love and self-care.
I choose foods that are good for my body—fresh, natural cuisine to fulfill and satisfy me. I stay active and well hydrated. I exercise my body in ways that are fun and enjoyable.
I keep my mind positive and calm. I focus on the bright side of life while accepting its dual nature. I forgive easily and smile more. I recognize no one is perfect and people do the best they can, including myself. I criticize less and praise and appreciate more.
I choose to see my future as vivid and bright, like that bouquet of candles on my birthday cake.
All these are the signs of healthy maturity — an optimistic and exciting aging quest worth celebrating.