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Are You Afraid of Getting Old?

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So, a few days ago was my birthday. And you know what, I couldn’t remember how old I was turning. I couldn’t remember my age. I’m not even kidding. Matt and the kids were all trying to help me figure it out. I finally had to Google “if I was born in 1977 what is my age” 

Anyway, thanks to technology, I officially turned 43 this past Thursday. That sounds so old when I say it out loud. And I know its’ not old because anymore 40 is the new 30, but when I was a kid I remember when my mom turned 40. That was the time when you had an “Over the Hill” birthday and I just remember thinking, “Oh my word, my mom is so old.”  

My whole life, that’s the year you become old. 

So, when I turned 40, it was a strange conundrum because I didn’t feel old. I didn’t even feel like I looked old, so to have it in the back of my head that I am now old gave me a bit of a conundrum. 

That was the year I had to come to terms with this part of life – aging.

I didn’t have any sort of crisis or anything like that, but I did put a lot of thought into it because over the last few years I’ve become so committed to loving my life, and really steeping in Love in all areas of my life. It’s a journey, it’s never perfect, but that’s my commitment.

My commitment is to live in Love, not in fear. 

So, anytime fear bubbles up and I become afraid about a situation or a thing or whatever, I immediately pay attention. “Ok, where is this fear coming from? What’s the root of it? How can I pull myself out of the shadows of fear and into the light of Love?”

I started to feel afraid about growing old, so I decided to pay attention to that fear. If I was going to release myself from the icy grip of fear when it came to growing older, I had to take a step back a look at the bigger picture. 

Aging is a natural progression of life. And I don’t want to despise the process that the greater source of life, the greater mind of the universe, found fit to establish this process. And in all things. All things are birthed, grow into their fullest and then they decay and then return back to earth. And I’m part of that. I don’t want to despise it. I really wanted to come to peace and to come to terms with it. I made a commitment to age with grace. 

I’ve put my stamp on it. I’m going to embrace this natural process and trust the greater mind behind it all, who established this law of nature. So for me to hate it and resist it creates frustration and creates an unfulfillment within me. And that’s not what life is about. Life is about enjoying the journey. And that means the whole entire journey. 

I know this isn’t an easy thing to do, because we live in a society that glamorizes the youth and we hide away the aging, but I’ve noticed more and more people not accepting this and I too am joining the forces. I’m not going to listen to the norms of society. I’m not going to listen to what society deems as disgraceful in the aging process. 

It’s not perfect, right? I have my moments, but the way I’ve come to define aging with grace is a radical acceptance of the entire life process, every single part of the journey. And to begin to look at growing older from a different perspective.

Aging actually has two different tracks. There’s the biological age, which is how many years you’ve been alive, and then there’s the physiological age, which is how old the person seems. And the physiological age is rooted in your physical body and in your mind. Both are the deciding factors that contribute to how old you seem. The more active these are the more youthful you stay. So, always keep an active mind and body because if you don’t use it, you lose it. We’ve all someone in their 80’s who make you think they’ll live another 80 years and we’ve all met someone in their 40s with one foot in the grave. 

Our actual age has nothing to do with the quality of life a person experiences, it has everything to do with their physiological age. It has everything to do with keeping a positive outlook on life and how active you keep your mind and body. 

The bottom line is you’re gonna age, but you don’t have to grow old.

One way to come to terms with your fear of growing older is to let go of your timeline of expectations.

When I hit 40, I was so disappointed because I hadn’t accomplished the things in life that I thought I would’ve accomplished by the time I was 40. I guess I had pictured in my mind a list of things, you know, like financial freedom and a flourishing career. I just thought I would be farther along in life, that I would’ve had a lot more things figured out. I had to come to terms with the timeline that didn’t match up with what I had originally expected. 

I think as we get older, we have this fear of running out of time, right? We’re not accomplishing what we thought we would’ve and we’re running out of time. But I don’t want to be afraid of any of that. It was only a few weeks ago that Kobe Bryant, his young daughter and the seven others that passed away in a horrific accident that reminds us there’s no guarantee of tomorrow. We’ve only got today that’s promised.

There’s no rule book anywhere that says you’ve got to accomplish certain things by a certain time. Sure, set goals for yourself, but then throw the timeline out. the. window. We’re all on our own journey and we get to do it on our own time. 

 

Another way to come to terms with the aging process is by accepting the changes in your body.

A few years ago, we were hosting Matt and I was hosting a birthday party for a family member at Matt’s offices when we still lived in St. Louis. Suddenly in the middle of the party, everyone began to freak out and run outside, because the annual Naked Bike Ride was passing the offices. That’s right, every year St. Louis hosts the Naked Bike ride and it’s exactly what it sounds like. People ride through the city naked. The purpose of the ride is two fold, protesting oil dependency & body positivity. I take that back. It’s three fold, to ignite shock in observers. And that’s exactly what was happening with everyone at our party. We all stood outside gawking and laughing like middle schoolers. Well, my sister-in-law decided to take a selfie with the riders behind us to commemorate this occasion. 

After we took the picture I was horrified by what I saw in the picture. there were weenies on bikes blurring past behind us. There down the middle of my hair, right along my part was a strip of white in stark contrast to my black hair. I was mortified. I had never noticed my hair getting that grey before. I didn’t want anyone to see the picture. I hated the picture because it created serious anxiety in me. 

I was now at the point in my life that I now had to get my roots touched up every couple of weeks to keep my grey from showing. For the next year, it was a serious pain point from me, because within a week or two my roots would grow out and you’d be able to see my white grey coming through. And when I take a picture and you can see my roots and that’s all I can see, now I’m living in an unfulfillment. I don’t want to stress over my hair because that’s not living an abundant life. 

So, I began to ask myself, “What do I need to do to create a more peaceful transition with my hair?”

Up until this point, I dyed my hair black and LOVED it. I’m not kidding, I felt the most confident with my black hair, pale skin, and blue eyes. It really made me so happy. But I decided to embrace grey hair and accept it because resisting a natural process would only create frustration and rob me of my happiness. So, that’s when I decided to let go of my love for my black hair and no longer cover up my greys. I’m going to let my greys live and exist in the world.

So I had to make my hair a color to allow them to blend in better. That’s when I went through the two year process of removing the black and highlighting my hair. The first girl I started with messed my hair up royally, but I found a really great stylist and spent a small fortune on getting my hair grey friendly. Now I can go months without getting my hair done, and my grey come through, but they’re no longer an eyesore. Right? It’s part of my life. I made my hair welcome the grey. I no longer have to stress out trying to cover it. That was one of the first physical aspects that I had to come to terms and peace with.

And I believe as each part of the aging process appears throughout, I’ll have to reestablish, “how am I going to embrace this part of aging?” Then, I’m gonna embrace it with love, not fear.

Began to pay attention to your mind and body and begin to look for ways to help yourself age with grace. Pay attention to what nutrition you need, are you staying hydrated, are you getting enough sleep, are you staying active to live at an optimal level. 

This is something over the past few months, Matt and I have really begun to ask ourselves because our bodies may be aging, but we’re not interested in getting older, but to really live to our fullest potential, we need to be supporting our minds and bodies to continue to allow us to do that. 

I don’t want to get into the discussion of my thoughts on cosmetic surgery or botox or anything like that, because to be honest, I’m not opposed to any of it, but I did want to mention when making the decision to do anything along these lines, first ask yourself, “am I making this decision in love or in fear?” Am I doing this to support my body as it ages, or am I trying to resist the process through masking it?” This isn’t an easy question to answer, and you’re the only one who can answer it honestly, but no matter what remember this is a journey and keep practicing self-love and self-acceptance along the way.

Aging with grace is a radical acceptance of the process. Don’t live in fear of a natural progression of life, because someone greater has established this law of nature. He knows something that we don’t know, so if you spend your life trying to resist this process, it’s going to put you in a place of frustration and lack and will keep you from living an abundant life. Learn to enjoy every phase of your life. Embrace all of it and accept it as it comes. 

Here’s my challenge to you: You’re going to age, but you don’t have to get old. Begin today to accept the process with radical acceptance. As you begin to notice the signs of aging, embrace it. It’s not going to be easy to go against societal norms, but living a full and abundant life is up to you. So take the journey with me. Each time something new pops up, reestablish, “how am I going to embrace this part of aging?” Then, embrace it with love, not fear.

Here’s the recap: Aging is a natural progression of life. And I don’t want to hate the process that the greater source of life, God, found fit to establish. All things are birthed, grow into their fullest, they decay and then return back to earth. And you’re a part of that. I Don’t want you to despise it. Aging actually has two different tracks. There’s the biological age, which is how many years you’ve been alive. Throw that out the window, it’s just a number. And then there’s the physiological age, which is how old the person seems. The physiological age of a person is rooted in your physical body and your mind. Both are the deciding factors that contribute to how old you seem. Always keep an active mind and body because if you don’t use it, you lose it. One way to come to terms with your fear of growing older is to let go of your timeline of expectations. Set goals for yourself, but then throw the timeline out the window. Another way to come to terms with the aging process is by accepting the changes in your body. 

Aging with grace is a radical acceptance of the process. Don’t live in fear of a natural progression of life. The greater mind of the universe knows something that we don’t know, so if you spend your life trying to resist this process, it’s going to put you in a place of frustration and lack and will keep you from living an abundant life. Learn to enjoy every phase of your life. Embrace all of it and accept it as it comes. 

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  1. Pingback: How to Overcome Your Fear of Death | Charity Craig

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