I admit that when I was a young 20 something, I used to be utterly baffled about the huge fuss made over face creams that claimed to “turn back the years” and “reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” I’d smile at the adverts, dismissing such products as items appealing to vanity – the thought never crossed my mind that I might some day have any interest in them.
The years snuck by when I wasn’t looking and suddenly I’m standing at the bathroom mirror, shocked at the lines and creases that seemed to have become etched onto my face almost overnight. Surely they aren’t a permanent fixture? The realisation gradually dawned that not only were they a permanent fixture, but they were quickly being joined by their friends, who were even deeper lines and unevenness and there it was – I finally appreciated just what all the fuss was about! My jaw dropping open as I contemplated some of the astronomical prices being charged and wondering if their promises of the restoration of youth could be believed!
Welcome to growing older! I’m there, I’ve hit that point when I realise that the terms “young” and “prime” aren’t adjectives commonly applied to me anymore. The rest of my body is also starting to pipe up that it’s no longer in its first flush of youth – I get aches and pains from minor activities that were never a bother before; bits of me are sagging that I didn’t even know were capable of sagging and my choice of hair colour also includes a determination on its ability to cover grey!
Not only do I need glasses for distance, I now need them for reading! I wonder why it is that what I used to see so very clearly, now doesn’t seem at all in focus anymore – when did that happen?!
People who were born when I was finishing school are now progressing into middle age and young adults were born in the millennium – help!
My music choice on those well-known download apps, is heavily made up from the “throwbacks” section and my avid listening to the Top 40 charts has tailed off.
I’ve even noticed young people looking at me with kind indulgence at my lack of know how about the latest app/tech/trend. Shopping for clothes has become a minefield – I don’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb; but on the other hand, I don’t want to look old fashioned!
Perhaps this amounts to what is commonly known as a “mid life crisis”? The realisation that you’re not young anymore and then the sudden onset of panic to try to regain your youth, or at the very least, become a cool oldie/silver surfer, or whatever the term is.
Yet, it seems to me that aging isn’t what it used to be! I remember folks donning a flat cap, pipe and slippers when they hit retirement; but thankfully, this just doesn’t happen nowadays.
40 is the new 30, 60 is the new 50 and so on. The thing to be avoided is being a 60+ year old trying to look like a 20+ year old – I guess you have to accept the aging process (if you’re lucky) and embrace the onset of the years with dignity. That said, you shouldn’t decide one day, “that’s it; I’m old!” You shouldn’t give into the temptation to put your feet up and watch the rest of your life going past your window without you.
I think it’s a tricky balance to get right, but the main thing to remember is that well worn saying that age is just a number – and to an extent it is. How many times have you come across a young person, who seems to be quite traditional, even old fashioned in their views? Likewise, there’s many a game granny out there who hasn’t yet accepted that they’re in their 70s and is still up for challenges like sky-diving or running a marathon.
I guess it all comes down to what’s in your head. My mum used to tell me that even though she was in her 60s, she still didn’t feel any different inside as to how she’d felt in her 20s – I find the same to be true and I think that could be the reason why the realisation that you’re getting older can come as a shock, because in your head you don’t feel any different, so it’s a bit of surprise to find out your body has other ideas!
There’s a lot of positives to being that bit older – hopefully, you’ll have the benefit of experience and have learned valuable insights and lessons along the way that equip you well in life – who knows, you might even find a willing youth, who wants to listen to your advice!
The trick is to be thankful for reaching the age you are; for the life that you’ve lived and for everything you’ve experienced along the way. You can even allow yourself to feel well rounded, matured, seasoned (sounds like a good wine or cheese!!)
Rather than bemoan your lost youth, embrace the gently mellowing and slowing pace of life – a chance to take it easier and relax a little – but not an excuse to give up!
Yes, I’ve decided that growing older should definitely be a cause for celebration – both of what’s gone before and what’s to come. I don’t think I want to grow old disgracefully, but to mature gracefully 😉