I feel old, and my current self-talk includes: “Jennifer, STOP. You can’t change the process, so accept the fact and embrace the experience.”
American journalist, Andy Rooney, said, “It’s paradoxical, that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.” I agree. I’ve known forever that if I don’t die young, I will grow to be old. Logically, I shouldn’t be disappointed
when it happens, but it comes with gray hair, face and body “ruffles,” memory loss, aches, double chins, elastic waistbands, Velcro shoe straps, and my mother in the mirror.
I am not alone. Seventy-eight million Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, now span ages 55 to 73. Our shared aging concerns contribute to billion dollar industries. Three presidents, Clinton, Bush, and Trump were born in 1946—making them Baby Boomers.
People can deny the natural process of aging, and some spend big money trying to look younger. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in the 2018 statistical report for people over 55, report substantial numbers: 4,168,693 cosmetic procedures, leading with eyelids, facelifts
and dermabrasion; 3,784,240 minimally invasive procedures with the most popular being Botox, soft tissue fillers, and chemical peels.
I don’t criticize anyone choosing to look better, but intervention needs to include healthy eating, exercise, and a positive attitude. One without the other is anticlimactic.
I am thrilled to be alive and finally accept the fact, I am older. Age is out of my control. The best I can do is quit whining and join the group called “Wearing Out, Not Rusting Out.” I want to enjoy the journey and laugh as I write about the experience.
With age comes freedom; freedom to do what I want, say what I want, and hang out with people I like. Also, others usually expect less from me; showing up is often the only expectation. Nice.
I encourage us to replace degrading thoughts and worry with an intriguing Bucket List. What do I still want to do? Where do I still want to go? How can I maximize each day? Who do I still want to visit? When do I start?
The Serenity Prayer by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr provides sound advice on more than getting old: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
Closing with humor from the cartoon character, Maxine: “Don’t get all weird about getting older! Our age is merely the number of years the world has been enjoying us!!”
Until the next time: Live while you live!
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