American culture has a strange view on aging. In general our population denies aging – as if it’s not going to happen. What makes aging so wrong? The facts are that we age the moment we are born. Cells in the body die which are consistently replenished. In youth it happens quickly and unnoticed; in older ages that process has slowed. Cell replacement still happens until we do actually die. There is nothing wrong with aging as a process. Aging just has different speeds.
In aging the rate of replacing worn out cells is based on factors in which we actually do have some control. Genetics plays a role, but lifestyle actually trumps genetics.
How we live day to day matters quite a bit, in fact how we think, feel, move, nourish ourselves, rest and sleep plays a huge role in the aging process. Stress by far is the biggest component to how well we age.
We all have some stress living the American lifestyle, but it is how we respond to stress that creates the problem. The glass half full vs. half empty attitude makes a huge difference.
Author Lauren Kessler wrote Counterclockwise in 2013 and did many anti-aging self-experiments. Her conclusion was clear as a bell: how we think about aging is what ages us!
Chronological vs. Biological Aging
We grow up and start freaking out on our 30th birthdays. By the time we hit 50 we are buying the casket with all the disparaging jokes made about getting old.
Dr. Christiane Northrup is an exciting voice speaking out about how to honor aging by gloriously stepping into our older years with grace and ease. She reminds us that we are not necessarily the numbers of years on the calendar, but biologically young by how well we take care of our bodies and mind. I totally agree with her and feel better and more vibrant now than 20 years ago. I endorse her book Goddesses Never Age where she encourages women to enhance human biology by changing aging attitudes.
In this period of time attitudes are changing about getting older and better. Boomers are smarter and asking for what they want, which does not include the end of their life spent in a nursing home facility.
First, we must honor elderhood. Many other wise cultures already pay respect and are inclusive to aging family members. As a young country, America has yet to learn this.
Second, one needs to take full responsibility for excellent self-care – no excuses.
Thirdly, releasing old resentments, past traumas, and regrets and living fully each and everyday in appreciation for life is the best way to assure health as we age.
Embrace all your years with enjoyment and gratitude. Rediscover the things that lift you and then do it! Add love to the mixture, starting with you first. Make aging right.