In my world, the only alternative to aging is death.
With that in mind, getting older seems like a pretty good alternative.
So I am putting this out there as my official announcement.
I AM PRO-AGING!
This declaration does not come easy for me.
I’ve spent plenty of time, thought, energy and other resources trying to keep myself looking good as I move well into my 40’s.
Last week I got a phone call from a longtime out-of-town friend who is nearing 40.
He called to talk about his frustration with what he called “the whole work-out mentality.”
When I asked him what he was looking for in a physical or exercise discipline, he said an “anti-vanity” and “anti-self-loathing” practice.
He said he’s tired of all the emphasis on looks as if it were a competition. And tired of working out to make his body conform to some arbitrary definition of perfection.
I feel the same.
Like everyone else, I can find cringe-worthy flaws when I catch a surprise view of myself at a weird angle in the mirror.
So I’ve invented a few silly tricks to deal with the harsh reality of the fluorescent-lit retail fitting rooms mirrors. (Hint: use the mirror to look at yourself in the clothes, NOT to look at yourself from the back in your underwear!)
That’s a trick that works for me.
And I avoid certain situations that trigger self-loathing in me – like looking into magnifying mirrors or spending time with friends/family who comment on my latest pimple or skin tag.
I catch myself often. I hear an inner voice saying “I’m too this” or “I’m not enough that.” Then I stop and ask myself what is this self-judgement going to accomplish?
You could compare yourself to others’ standards of what’s acceptable at your age and what isn’t. But why don’t you join me in changing your inner conversation? Ask yourself you really want. What are you looking for?
Here are a few ways I answer this question:
I’m looking for the experience of feeling good in my body.
I’m looking to have the energy to do the things I love to do.
When I am with my friends and family I want to be myself.
I want to enjoy my activities as much as possible.
I want to pursue my life with passion and joy.
The above 5 things help me decide how I will spend my time.
If 60 minutes in a spinning class does not make me feel good in my body…if I have ‘friends’ who expect me to be prettier or thinner…if reading all the ‘right’ books bores me to tears…then FUHGEDDABOUDIT!
Life is too short.
I’ve considered my own death pretty seriously two times in my early life. In times of serious depression I’ve wondered if the world might be better off without me.
The end of my life would have been the ultimate anti-ager. I would have been dead at a young age — etched in everyone’s memory with nary a wrinkle or ounce of cellulite.
Why not end it all while you’re still looking young?
I’ll tell you why.
Because life after 20 and 30 and even 40 can be pretty damn good!
The crow’s feet and the (potential) jowls are a small price to pay for all the amazing experiences from each decade of my life.
This is why I am PRO-AGING!