A trio of links to “link” you to other voices that are reflecting on aging!
Join me as I drink in some other thoughts about aging. We may or may not agree with what is said in the articles below, but I’ve found the words provide plenty of food for thought and can give really great encouragement. (I've also pulled out quotes from each article that really resonate with me.)
The first two links are more current (within the last month), and the last link is what I affectionately call an “oldie but goodie”: an older article I think warrants a read.
What Jennifer Lopez Said About Aging Deserves a Round of Applause – Here’s Why:
“For me, it was important,” she said. “It was important as a woman to do that; to let people know that you don’t get to write women off at a certain point in their life. You don’t get to write people off.” She continued, “I didn’t realize that in just being myself and being unafraid to say that to the world: ‘I’m a woman, I’m 50 years old, and I’m here and I’m not going anywhere,’ was going to mean so much to so many people.”
21 Things I’d Tell My Younger Self:
Drink lots of water and moisturize. Water is life and the more you learn to love drinking it, the better you’ll feel. In addition to preventing your skin from aging too quickly.
What Is So Good About Growing Old?
This may be news to people who equate being old with being sad and alone, but it fits with a body of work by Laura Carstensen, a psychologist at Stanford. She led a study that followed people ages 18 to 94 for a decade and found that they got happier and their emotions bounced around less. Such studies reveal that negative emotions such as sadness, anger and fear become less pronounced than in our drama-filled younger years.
I’ve had to drink a big ole cup of truth about myself. Those things other people do that annoy me? I do as well.
This horrible realization was made VERY clear to me the other day when I answered my door to pick up a delivery. As an American who lives in the United Kingdom, I hear the accents all day long, especially the word “Brilliant!” When I took the item from the gal doing the delivery, I was extremely pleased, and I said the first thing that popped into my mind: “It’s brilliant!”
I closed the door and I groaned inwardly. Seriously Gina? All I could think of was the Friends episode where Monica and Rachel’s American pal comes back from England and annoys them all with her overly exaggerated/fake English accent. I know people in real life like her. I’ve been known to judge people like her.
So, I defended myself, to myself (a little weird, I know). Why did I say that word?
I really think it’s because I hear it so often. I think also because I’ve noticed my English neighbors don’t use the same small talk words that I use, so I feel self-conscious and try to blend in and borrow their words. I wasn’t just suddenly ‘fancying’ myself British while making an embarrassing attempt at a British accent.
As I’ve gotten older, I’m less judgmental, but apparently a little of it is still alive and well and doing the tango. Unfortunately, it takes my own mishaps to help me understand why people do what they do - AND even more humbling, the very things that annoy the living daylights out of me.
What about you?
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
I love hearing from you!
Why can “older” people be so hard on themselves and those younger than them? Growing up, I heard the following:
“Enjoy it now, while you don’t have to worry about cholesterol.”
“Wait until you are older, and your joints don’t work anymore either.”
“Well, you’re young so that dress looks good on you now. Wait until you are my age.”
They left me with the uneasy feeling that in my delicate state, I was somehow superior to the messenger, but I wouldn’t be for long.
Where I think these bitter people went terribly wrong was how they coped with truth of aging: it’s hard. However, instead of pushing forward with a positive mindset, they felt miserable and wanted to ensure others did too. Misery loves company. Or maybe they felt a sense of justice because aging is, in a way, an equalizer.
To be fair, they did convey some truth: unless we die, we all grow older. It’s just the cycle of life. We will ALL face aging and its consequences (whatever they may be). We can take comfort in the fact that we are not alone in getting older.
However, we wouldn’t look at a little one and say with a snarl, “You are inevitably going to get your heart broken. You just wait for it!” How awful! Instead, we might gently take her hand and explain to her that there is pain in life, but it can be overcome and help turn her into a stronger, better person.
And this is exactly how we should talk about aging to ourselves and others: acknowledging the negative but balancing it out with the positive. If not, we sound bitter and unhappy and try to pull others down with ourselves. And no matter how we face it, we still grow older. So let’s do it positively and proudly.
Sometimes I’ll be in the grocery store shopping for something mundane, like tomatoes, and a certain song will come on that will just transport me to another time. And there I am, standing in the aisle among all the vegetables, getting goosebumps.
Are you like me in this way? I hope I’m not the only one.
I am so happy when I encounter something or someone great from my past - and not just a song, but a childhood toy, a familiar smell, or a book I thought was out of print.
We are a conglomeration of all our experiences, but it’s hard to continually remember them. Even the good ones. That’s why all these encounters are beneficial, because they carry with them such fantastic memories.
As some might say, we get “all the feels.”
And yet what a difference they can make as we age, because they represent something greater: a part of us we may think is gone is actually alive and well. Though it’s temporarily forgotten, it’s still very much woven into the history of our being.
A trio of links to “link” you to other voices that are reflecting on aging!
I hope you will join me as I drink in some other thoughts about aging. We may or may not agree with what is said in the articles below, but they provide plenty of food for thought and hopefully some really great encouragement for you.
1. Gwyneth Paltrow Opens Up About Aging
2. FaceApp and the Savage Shock of Aging
(The first two links are more current (within the last month), and the last link is what I affectionately call an “oldie but goodie”: an older article I think warrants a read.
3. What can we learn from people who succeed later in life?
I know you’ve seen it often with kidlets in the grocery store: they have to have that piece of candy. Their world becomes contingent on having it, and at the moment, that silly piece of candy is the whole focus of their being.
Until they turn the aisle and see the chocolate cupcakes lined up in the bakery display case.
However, I’m guilty of doing the same thing! But not with candy. Instead, I revel in the pretty things I see, for example, in a beautiful clothing store. I will touch, stroke, exclaim and squeal over so many items on those hangers. I’ve been reading a lot about minimalism, and the lifestyle has merits (even in the area of a more pared down wardrobe) but it has caught my eye for another reason. While growing older I've realized that if I don’t obtain the item that I really admire, the thing I think I must have…
…another something else that I really admire, that I think I must have, will come along later. AND sometimes even in the same day!
I believe it takes a while for this lesson to really sink in, but since it repeats again and again and again, I’ve learned it: We can “miss out” and forgo so much (especially tangible items) because there is usually something else around the corner that we will love just as much.
And the previous something that we were so passionate about? It’s often forgotten.
People all over the world are so different, yet so similar. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, I’m sure. But this concept was so clear to me recently when I lived in Turkey.
I would visit a Turkish antique market near my home that would set up once a month. Well, it was mostly antiques, but there were also handmade items and yummy smelling kebabs.
At first I was overwhelmed. There were so many people and tables that everyone had to sort of edge around each other to move throughout. But then I started seeing the same stuff table after table: old toys, crates filled with records, and dusty knick-knacks. The sellers were absolutely drinking their Turkish tea, but the whole set-up really was so like flea markets back home in the United States. Even down to the collections of tiny Hot Wheels cars and books. Lots and lots of old books.
As we age, we can find ourselves out of our comfort zone. In Turkey, I often felt waves of homesickness. Everything around me seemed so, well, to be cliché, foreign. But then, even though I was surrounded by a different culture, “the familiar”, like the antique market, would pop it’s head out and smile at me.
Like sweet and spicy, hot and cold, hard and soft, people and cultures are a conglomeration of opposites. But as I age, I realize what a great thing it is to have them in my life. It’s the opposites that keep me grounded when I find myself outside my comfort zone. And it’s the opposites that make life, including the aging process, mysterious and intriguing, yet still familiar enough to not be overwhelming.
Creator of Love, Auntie.