Why Do We Fear Getting Older?
Age is one of the few things in life that we can do nothing about. It’s going to happen; the earth is going to continue to circle the sun, and we are going to add another candle to our birthday cake every year.
For something that is so inevitable, it’s odd that we all seem to have such a strange relationship with aging. We are constantly looking for methods to slow the aging process, be it in terms of our bodily health or just the way we look. It’s something of a common joke that people lie about their age, from celebrities who shave off a few years to your friend who is celebrating her 40th birthday for the ninth time.
So why do we fear aging so much, given there is very little we can do about it?
We Fear… Infirmity
The simple truth is that, as we age, our bodies will begin to fail. We’ll become more likely to injure ourselves; there is something of a stereotype of broken hips for the elderly, the idea of which terrifies our mobile, young selves. Then there is the threat of illness and the general sense that we will lose our mobility and independence.
Why We Shouldn’t Fear It: Being 75 is easier now than it ever has been. Those in their 80s – thanks to medical advances – can live happy, fulfilled, and mobile lives. Just a short time ago, pioneering treatments like the Hip Pac treatment for hip fractures and damage, the knowledge of how meditation can slow aging, or the ever-increasing understanding of dementia didn’t exist – which meant that getting old could be unpleasant. Now we have those – and many more – developments, and that’s just going to improve over time as well.
We Fear… Being Unattractive
You only have to glance over advertising to realize how much youth is prized in terms of beauty standards. No one markets their makeup using models with gray hair and lined faces; if they do, then they’re only targeting those of the same age. Youth is beauty. It’s natural to want to feel beautiful so, of course, we see our advancing years as a loss of beauty.
Why We Shouldn’t Fear It: There are more ways than ever before to keep ourselves looking great, no matter what age we are. Then there is the simple fact that for some people, beauty will always be in the eye of the beholder. There are people who will find you more attractive at 60 than they ever did when you were 30; look outside of the traditional, advertising-lead model of “beauty” and you will see this all around you.
Ultimately… we’re all going to get older. Fighting against it as if it’s a battle we can win is not a wise use of time. Instead, try to learn to strive to be the very best you can be – in terms of healthcare, your looks, or whatever else matters to you – for your age. Embrace your age and the wisdom that comes with it, rather than running from something that is always going to catch up.