As my 36th birthday approaches, I feel happier and healthier than ever. I’ve gone from accepting ageing to actually embracing, heck even looking forward to it!
I mean, why should I succumb to the media-led, youth-obsessed culture we live in that seeks to only canonise the newest, latest and freshest? If I were to limit myself to that, I’d be consigning myself an un-winnable battle. Newness and freshness is only a moment. And moments, like life itself, passes. Moments get replaced by newer and fresher moments. That’s a completely unsustainable model for leading a fulfilling life.
The antidote to trying to freeze frame and preserve the last drops of youth, is to accept ageing. It’s unavoidable and no one can escape it. But accepting something happening is different from embracing it. You accept having a cold. You accept getting stuck in traffic. You shouldn’t have to accept a part of your life, that if looked at from a different perspective, is actually quite enriching, exciting and fun.
That’s why embracing ageing isn’t as ridiculous a term as it may first seem. The key is to reframe the way we look at it. If we see ageing as something that’s bad, that will result in us becoming less desirable and less relevant, clearly ageing would suck. While these concerns are all valid, they don’t represent the totality of getting older.
Ageing is more than what you see on the surface. It’s about the transformations that take place inside of you. After acquiring 30, 40, 50, or 60+ years of lived experience on this planet, you start to become smarter in ways, and about things, that you didn’t even know about in your teens and twenties. You’ve been in and out of love, got promoted, been fired, travelled, been sick, scared, excited, nervous and lived through so many, many things.
Your lived experience starts to shape you and you start to shape yourself more too. You get to a certain age (an age that is different for everyone) and you ask yourself, ‘Who’s in control here?’ Is it things, people, circumstances outside of myself? Or is it me? Realising your own role in creating your life is powerful and liberating. It can happen at any age, but there’s something more authentic when it happens once you’ve confronted and dealt with certain fears and issues, especially those relating to ageing.
And while all of this is going on inside of you, you also begin to realise that you have a greater deal of control over your own physicality too. Sure, your body may be changing in ways that maybe initially you don’t like. You might not be able to lift as much as you used to, or your hair’s getting greyer, or thinner…But again, it comes back to – do you let these things define you, or do you take control (and power) back and say ‘Hey, I’m going to look and feel good – at any age.’