“Old” is a state of mind

» Posted by in Weekly Column | 6 comments

It’s been an interesting year. Many of the men in my circle are pushing beyond their mid fifties. The differences between us are widening. It got me thinking about aging. So many men seem disturbed by getting older. We may have no choice in aging, but we can impact the process significantly. Getting old is more a state of mind than our fate.

Yes, of course there are things that can’t helped. Our hair may turn grey or disappear altogether. We may sprout lines and crevices on our faces and elsewhere that can’t be remedied without drastic measures. Some parts of our bodies may break down, or not work as well as they used to. Those things are undeniable, but are they serious concerns?

A friend of mine comes to mind. He’s in his 70’s now. He has spent a lot of time in the sun and very little taking care of his skin. He is deeply wrinkled everywhere I’ve seen. He’s long and lanky but gravity has him sagging in places we all wish we wouldn’t. The one thing about him that strikes me is that he is still very sexy. Not just a “good looking older man”, a hot guy.

Then I look at my husband Jack. He turned 65 earlier this year and our much younger friends have trouble keeping up with him. Yes, he does look good for his age but it’s his vibrancy that stands out. Perhaps it’s his high energy that’s the cause of his aging so well.

It seems that my people with the most positive outlook are aging best. They are also more physically and mentally active. The people who are the longest lived, and often the youngest looking, remain positive even in the face of outrageously challenging circumstances.

As we age we can experience limited mobility, and even some disabling degradations in our physical condition. I remember my grandmother, her fingers so gnarled she had trouble chopping, calling me into her kitchen to help knead dough. Her solution wasn’t to stop cooking. It was to ask for help when she needed it. Some of my best memories of her are of us yakking in her kitchen. Even with her many physical challenges she lived happily until 85.

Most very positive people aren’t overly concerned with how they look. They may take good care of themselves, and dress well, but they aren’t obsessing over every new wrinkle and fold they discover in the mirror.

I’m all for people doing whatever they can to feel good about themselves. No one has any business judging you for your choices in that. But, if you spend a lot of time worrying about physical aging, or working hard to fight the process with “procedures” it’s time to take a step back and ask yourself why. You are much more than your body, and your appearance. They are important and should be cared for, but not when that impacts your ability to contribute as much as you can and live a joyful life.

Check out these other interesting posts :

As Time Goes By

 

Our Role as Elders

 

The Age Divide

 

 

6 Comments

  1. While I am fairly comfortable in my aging skin, my sexual currency has decreased a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I have more suitors than I have time for. I live in Los Angeles, where being super beautiful is a dime a dozen, and external beauty is probably over valued.

    What I have noticed most and your article doesn’t acknowledge, slowly becoming less physically attractive has taken a tole on the number of party invites, strangers approaching me for conversation, dissipating eye contact.

    [Reply]

    Brian Reply:

    That’s an interesting point Mike. What impact has the diminishing attention had on you?

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  2. Like your Husband I’m also 65, but I’m HIV+. I lost my husband four years ago. Instead of brooding I’ve taken on volunteer work. Keeps me busy and frankly mentally sharp. So yes, keep busy, be useful and above all else remain optimistic.

    [Reply]

    Brian Reply:

    I love that attitude Jeff. Clearly it’s paying off.

    [Reply]

  3. 55 year old and understand completely about the aging process and my naked body. But in truth, I still love to bike ride, and cook and work full time. Love to serve and be helpful to others. Happy Thanksgiving!😉Cheers!🌈

    [Reply]

    Brian Reply:

    Thanks for sharing Ron, and good for you. You’re setting yourself up t remain vibrant and active as long as possible.

    [Reply]

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