In this week’s willPower blog, I mentioned the commitment to the wrong numbers. One of these “wrong” numbers can be our age. Age isn’t just a number. It is a number to be wary of…wary of how much we identify with it.
Remember when you couldn’t wait to reach key age milestones? Old enough for PG-13 and R-Rated movies, old enough to drive, vote, drink. Age brought new privileges and freedom. But, leaving our twenties…thirties…or beyond, we often trigger exactly the opposite type of feelings – feelings of restriction and imprisonment.
Is forty now the new twenty? God, I hope not…
As we get older, we identify more with our age for worse or for worse.
For worse #1. “You look good for your age.” Looking good for one’s age fuels an obsession to freeze our bodies right where they are…or in the words (and actions of Cher) to “turn back time”. Nip, tuck, color, inject. There are a host of products and procedures to entice our fears, insecurities, and…wallets. The most clever ones will draw your attention to inadequacies you didn’t even know you have! I remember when Latisse came onto the market with Brooke Shields and I thought, thicker eyelashes, really? That’s what a man is going to notice on me…EVER?!
Disclosure: I cover my grays. I indulge in facials. I just put in hair extensions to hide the awkward short-to-long growing out stage. I’m not as worried today about expression lines as I was in my early thirties. Frankly, Botox and injected lips freak me out. I’m over fake nails because I dislike maintaining them.
But, that’s just me. We all have our preferences. The key is to acknowledge and honor these.
The problem arises when we’re not mindful of our preferences and we get victimized by the herd mentality. If everyone else is doing it, we feel we must. As women, our self-worth is often inextricably tied to our perceived sex appeal. But, are we really undertaking measures that enhance or serve us? Product marketing is most effective when it taps into our insecurities and low self-worth. Empowerment comes from owning our wants and needs. Basing decisions on wanting to look and feel good is empowering; basing decisions on perceived lack or inadequacy is self-hatred. Your word choice reflects and reinforces your internal commitments.
For worse #2, “Not bad for (insert your age here).” Here, age serves as an excuse and becomes a self-fulfilling belief mechanism. What is the difference between 39 years 364 days and 40 years? Well, give me a few more hours, and I’ll let you know! But, I doubt my workouts will feel different this weekend compared to last. I doubt my metabolism will slow overnight. The tragedy arises when we overidentify with a particular age and the perceived attributes of that age. You will absolutely manifest them…through a shift in your behavior, the attraction of people with similar mind sets, and places and spaces that foster these. So, be mindful of your age-related beliefs and others’. Be careful who you allow to become an authority on you.
I’m too old is a poor excuse for living. It is an enticement to stop trying, an invitation for decline and self-pity. It masks fear and inevitability. “Whose beliefs are these anyway?” is the question we should be constantly asking ourselves. Only face reality when it is pleasing to you! So much of our destiny is in our hands and malleable.
To look and feel good. Whatever that means for you in this age and stage. It will evolve as you evolve. Forget anti-aging, the business of evolving is much more satisfying. Dream big. Desire more.
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