The fear of growing old is pushed upon us from an early age, so it’s time to change perspective.
Click the “play” button above to listen to the audio.
When we struggle to get up from our seat or when we can’t remember something, we’ve all heard or said it before: “That’s just what happens when you get old”. But how come we never say that when we do something really awesome? Like giving great advice or accomplishing something of significance, how come we don’t hear, “See! That’s what happens when you get old!” How did our society get so focused on the negative aspects of aging that we don’t connect the dots with its benefits? It’s because we’re afraid of it.
Why are we afraid of aging?
When we see a gray hair the general response is to dye it another colour. When we see a wrinkle, the response is to grab some incredible anti-aging cream and smother it on the spot. And when we see the elderly, the words ‘outdated’ and ‘irrelevant’ are more prevalent than ‘experienced’ and ‘knowledgeable’. How did that happen? How did the natural process of aging become so unloved by us?
Well, we learned it. As children, we listened to our parents or their counterparts complaining about the ill effects of old age, or saw others belittling or marginalizing the elderly. We watched shows where the elderly are rarely showcased, or if they were, they were usually kooky and flighty personalities. We visited grandparents in homes tucked away from ‘normal’ society, making us think that ‘old’ means invalid. We soaked up advertising that sells us on all the benefits of youth, irrespective of how old we are. So it’s no surprise we ended up despising all that equates to old, and became infatuated with all that represents youth.
But why would this Divine wonderful universe make things so backward? Everything else seems so harmonious and beautiful, so what’s the point of being born in the first place, if there’s nothing to look forward to? Okay, so now’s a good time to pause and think: What if the “signs of aging” are signals for something more profound? Something more meaningful in life?
We’ve got it backwards.
What if, when you see an elderly person, instead of seeing the former glory of youth, you see the physical incarnation of wisdom – they’re someone you can learn from. And what if, as you see the gray or white hair develop on your head, the crows-feet at your eyes, the change in your skin and body, you recognize this not as old age, but as the signs of wisdom.
And we all know, you can’t bluff wisdom. There are no eyelash extensions which will make you look or become wise. ha! Wisdom is not something you learn, it’s something you become. And for that reason, it’s important to not undertake extremes to avoid the process of aging. Now, I’m not condoning hurrying up the process of life, because no matter what, a cake takes its time baking, turning up the temperature just burns it.
So, we’ve had it backwards all along. The path of age is one of achieving wisdom, a path you want to walk on, not run from.
Are you afraid now?
Have a think about how this simple change of perception – seeing aging as a sign of wisdom – will not only alter your view about the elderly, but of yourself as you age. How about you take a week revering growing older? As though each sign is a badge of honour, letting others know you have traversed this physical plane, drinking in the elixir of life – both good and bad – and you’re still here, still forging forward and all the wiser for it.
Do you think you can spend a week embracing any signs of your body aging? Or respecting and acknowledging any elderly people you come into contact with? If you try, I’d love to hear how you went by reading your comments below. Namaste sweet friends, Melissa xo