Aging is an often polarizing topic. Think of celebrity culture and how we talk about women as they get older. Society says people either age gracefully, like a fine wine, or they age poorly, and that becomes their identity as the years pass.
Even non-celebrities are terrified of getting older, of showing signs of the life they've lived, whether it's been fulfilling or not. Why do we want to get rid of laugh lines, physical evidence we have a sense of humor and have been surrounded by people who make us smile? While there's no shame in taking preventative care to keep your skin looking healthy and youthful, you shouldn't feel like you have to.
"I think more people, especially women, should embrace their age as they get older. I have found that the benefits of aging have been greater wisdom, more compassion, deeper insight and a fuller appreciation of what's truly meaningful. Although getting older comes with new challenges, the emotional and intellectual maturity that [is gained] with each year far surpasses these difficulties," said Sabrina Hamilton, creator of FinanceOverFifty.com.
Don't discredit all of the lessons you've learned, mistakes you've made, places you've been and so on just because it means you're getting older.
It's about time to look at all of the positive ways aging impacts your life and not the negativity that has been perpetuated enough already. Hamilton used to view aging as an inevitable circumstance that limits life's opportunities with each passing year.
"Now, as a 50+ woman, I see more opportunities to have a fulfilling life than I did 20 years ago. Although getting old may eliminate some opportunities, new ones will arise for the aging adult, [and] you have more knowledge, wisdom and experience to make better decisions that align with your values," Hamilton added.
Jeanette DePatie, a certified fitness instructor, said that aging has helped her live a better life.
"As I've aged, I've learned to let go of a lot of ideas about how I should look. I've come to understand that we've been forced to live with unrealistic beauty standards, and I've come to recognize my own unique kind of beauty and worth. I've started to really evaluate things that I do. I've given up a lot of 'busy-ness' that seems important but really isn't and focus on things that give me joy," DePatie explained.
There's a lot of freedom that comes with aging. Hopefully, like DePatie, you'll realize that it's about what you bring to the world and not the size of your waist that matters.
Aging also tends to be viewed differently depending on the gender you identify as.
"In America, I do believe aging is perceived differently between men and women. I think older men are more highly regarded for their career expertise, while women are often discounted for their aging looks," Hamilton noted.
Jill Leonard, the founder of ImPowerAge, agreed and said it especially happens in the first stages of what we perceive as "old age."
"A man of 50 is often viewed as a person at the peak of their life, career, beauty and even wisdom. And rightly so, but the problem is the perception is different when it comes to women of the same age. Our gray hairs are not seen as sexy. The menopause that usually strikes at this age can make matters worse," Leonard said.
It's never too late to start looking at things a little differently and look forward to all the good that can come with aging.
As Leonard put it, "Once you pass a certain age threshold, you become much more serene and immune to a certain type of feelings and reactions."