A NEW PHASE OF LIFE, WITH ALL ITS BEST AND WORST
“A NEW PHASE OF LIFE, WITH ALL ITS BEST AND WORST” They say that age is just a number, but the act of growing old and the many changes it brings with it is often viewed in a negative light. One thing for sure is that cosmetic surgery aside, there is literally nothing we can do about it. As each second ticks by every single one of us is getting older and so it is time for us to embrace this fact and stop worrying about something we cannot change.
At 40, so hardly of an age considered ‘old’ , but now that I’m in these midlife years I find myself reflecting back on how I looked and how I felt when I was younger. I see photos of myself looking slimmer, fresher, crease free and without any white hairs and I sometimes wish that I could have just a teeny tiny bit of that body back, there’s nothing in this world that would see me trading places. Because with age comes experience, and with experience comes wisdom. And quite frankly I’d take both .
I’ve put together some of the best and worst things about getting older and combined it with some cold hard facts.
Let’s start by looking at the worst, simply because the best is yet to come
The Worst Things About Getting Older
Of course there are downsides to getting older, but lets try and put a positive spin on them. And so to kick us off, let’s address what most of us think of first when it comes to the downsides of ageing…
Wrinkles; saggy skin; age spots; dry, dull, thinning hair; turkey neck; the list is about as long as the hairs growing out of my moles. As we get older gravity takes hold and everything heads south. And it really gets us down.
It’s such a tough one to get our heads around, because we look in the mirror and spot these so called ‘flaws’, and yet inside we feel exactly the same as we did when we were younger. And this is precisely the reason why some people opt to cosmetic procedures to try and cling onto their looks for as long as possible, in a vain attempt to feel good about themselves. When ultimately that isn’t really the problem. The problem is that we have become programmed to believe that looking old is wrong. That it means we’re past it, we’re no longer desirable, we’re spoiled goods. Just because I’ve got a few lines on my face does not make me a lesser person.
However, it’s all well and good me saying this, because of course I still dye my hair to get rid of the white hairs, I still pull and stretch my skin when I look in the mirror and I 100% still look at my hands in disbelief to check whether these aging signs can actually be a part of my body. There is no getting away from it and so we must learn to embrace every single white hair, every wrinkle, every new fold of skin and consider ourselves to be sophisticated and mature.
LIFE Didn’t Offer You Any More First
“A NEW PHASE OF LIFE, WITH ALL ITS BEST AND WORST” If i sit and think about this one too much it makes me feel really sad. Because at some point in your life, probably at that midlife crisis point, it dawns on you that you’ve had all your firsts. First word, first step, first crush, first love , first spouse,first baby, first time on a plane, first holiday without parents, first job, first house etc. etc. You’ve been there, done that… what’s left!?! And life suddenly starts to lose that shiny, glittery coating that our childlike eyes looked out with, because nothing’s new, we’ve seen it all before.
But it needn’t be like that. What’s stopping us from appreciating the simple things in life? Why should we be any less amazed by puddles, shooting stars and ladybirds than we were when we were five? And as for all this business about never having any more firsts. You’re telling me you’ve literally done and seen everything the world has to offer? I don’t think so. The only thing that’s changed is our outlook. We just need to keep a hold of that zest for life and do the things that take us out of our comfort zones, the things we’ve secretly always wanted to do but not quite had the courage to do before. To explore every inch of the globe while our health still allows it and to keep creating those first moments until we take our very last breath. One shot people, one shot.
Metabolism Slowing Down
“A NEW PHASE OF LIFE, WITH ALL ITS BEST AND WORST” This one’s a right bitch and is especially hard for women. As we get older our bodies change both in terms of appearance as well as the inner workings. Our metabolism slows down and so we have to work harder at staying fit and keeping the weight off. We can no longer get away with eating all the junk without the risk of it heading straight to our trunk.
As we age, our muscle mass decreases and the amount of fat we store increases and it is this that slows down the metabolic rate. We’re no longer growing at the accelerated rate we were when we were young and we definitely don’t have or need as much energy. So whereas we could easily scoff ALL the ice cream when we were teenagers and burn it off almost as quickly as we consumed it, when we eat all the ice cream now our body hangs onto it as back up fuel.
A slower metabolism is an inevitable component of the aging process, however you won’t be expected to survive on salad leaves alone in order to keep yourself feeling fit and trim.
There are some steps you can take to help your metabolism from slowing down even further:
- Get Enough Sleep
- Eat a Balanced Diet
- Get Your Hormones Checked Out
These four factors, either on their own or in combination with one another, are enough to throw your metabolism out of whack and so it is important as we age to try and keep them in check.
Becoming Emotional Wrecks
“A NEW PHASE OF LIFE, WITH ALL ITS BEST AND WORST” Periods, pregnancy the peri-menopause, the menopause… hormones have got a LOT to answer for! And aside from all the other stuff that comes with each of these things, emotionally it just gets worse and worse the older we get. You find yourself crying, shouting, moaning about EVERYTHING , where once we loved a good rollercoaster we now have an irrational fear of anything fast, anything that involves flying, heights, and basically anything that could possibly result in death.
But when you stop and have a good think about it, of course we’re more emotional when we’re older – we’ve got more emotional experience, we care about stuff more, we feel more, and we’re very aware of the clock ticking away in the background.
Stress, loneliness, disturbed sleep, hormone imbalances, depression are just a few of the factors influencing our emotions. And so as the years go by you can fully expect to break down at children singing, sad stories, abandoned dogs, and pretty much film you watch.
Wedding Invites Converts in Funerals
love a good wedding. When you get to dress up, get everyone together at someone else’s expense, drink free flowing champagne and have a good old knees up? There is a time in your late twenties when it felt as though you had a wedding to go to more or less every weekend – it was amazing. And then all of a sudden there was no one left, every one you knew had got married and suddenly the wedding invites started to dry up. Then there’s a dry spell and before you know it your kids are getting married and suddenly you’re in the spotlight again, performing your role marvellously as the mother or father of the bride.
But Then What….?
As you get older, the people around you start to die off. Grandparents, parents, friends, partners and a big burst of reality comes rushing in. And smacks you round the chops with a big reminder that no one is invincible.
We are ALL going to die. And knowing that at some point you or your partner will be left on your own without the other one. Well it’s just depressing isn’t it? But we must focus on the here, the now, the today and relish every waking moment we have with one another.
Not Quite Sure Where You Fit In
“A NEW PHASE OF LIFE, WITH ALL ITS BEST AND WORST”. We know ourself more than we ever have. This feeling of being comfortable with who we are strengthens with each passing year. However, there can be moments where we start to question our purpose. And what we have, or more likely what we have not, achieved in our life.
- What if I had studied something different at university?
- What if I had been more assertive in my first jobs?
- What if I’d gone back to work after having kids instead of being a stay at home mum?
Seriously, those ‘what ifs’ are enough to drive a woman crazy.
And then there’s that sense of no longer feeling desirable, of almost feeling invisible in society.
“I don’t know what to wear! I feel like the clothes I like are too young for me. What I do wear is ‘safe’ and boring.”
So what the hell do we wear and where on earth do we shop when we’re in these middle years?
Now The Best Coming Your Way
“A NEW PHASE OF LIFE, WITH ALL ITS BEST AND WORST”. let’s move onto much more positive matters. And explore some of the best things about growing old gracefully. Despite the health problems and slowly deteriorating looks that come with age. I like to think of myself like a fine wine – expensive, full-bodied, mature, yet still has a lot of life in me yet. The best things come to those who wait and so here I present to you the very best things about getting older – no honestly, there really are some perks
No More Desire ToTake Validation From People
Seriously, we literally have no more to give and that feels pretty damn epic let me tell you.
“Really not caring about what people think”.
“No longer giving a damn where once I would have cared far more.”
“Mentally I feel no different a little wiser.”
“A NEW PHASE OF LIFE, WITH ALL ITS BEST AND WORST”. It seems we’re not only older but far wiser too. We care less about what other people think of us, about what we weigh. About actions we may have considered embarrassing when we were younger. We say what we think, we embrace our weirdness, and we positively own that shit.
Less Is More
“A NEW PHASE OF LIFE, WITH ALL ITS BEST AND WORST” Youngsters want it all don’t they? The latest bit of tech, designer handbags, etc. and not only that but they want it NOW! But as we get older it suddenly dawns on us that we don’t need all of that materialistic crap to make us happy and instead we are actively advised to decrease our possessions.
The logic is simple really – what use are possessions when we’re 6 feet under!?!
“Really appreciating the small things.”
“A NEW PHASE OF LIFE, WITH ALL ITS BEST AND WORST”. As you and the people around you get older and as health starts to deteriorate. You start to become much more grateful for being alive. It becomes a privilege to be granted more time on this earth. To be able to spend more precious time with your loved ones. And we truly appreciate that not everyone gets the chance to grow old. Many die way before their time, which makes us thankful for the smallest of things.
By far the greatest thing about getting older is that feeling of truly knowing yourself.
“Confidence. I may look older, but I feel like I fit better in my skin now.”
“The feeling of totally winging it doesn’t change but I am more comfortable with that and the realisation that I am most definitely not the only one! Definitely more comfortable in my body and in myself as I get older. Even though it’s the most ‘unkempt’ body I have ever”
“Experience and Wisdom.”
“I LOVE getting older!! I’m feeling free!! I am no longer bound so tightly by other people’s expectations of me. I refuse to conform, I refuse to age gracefully, I refuse to dull my sparkle, dim my light or be bullied any more. Now i have a new found confidence and have very much turned inward to be really true to myself. My children are grown and I have time for me. I’m so much more me than I have ever been and I’m loving it.”
“On some things, I feel like I care a whole lot less what ‘other people’, whoever they might be, think. I also feel like I can take up my rightful amount of space in the world more easily. Both of these realisations help me be far more tolerant of others’ inadequacies, as I see them. I also realise that I’m much more confident than I used to be. And freer about my general existence, sort of a ‘what you see is what is here’ kind of thing, much less shame about myself in essence. Yep my body is getting older, but with the new confidence that is emerging, that makes a lot less difference. Yes, I’m slower than I used to be, but I can keep running for very long periods .
So yeah, growing old can really suck, but my goodness there are so many lovely things. That come as part of the package. At the risk of sounding disgustingly clichéd and sickeningly self-help .life is a journey and this is part of it. Enjoy every bump in that road, every sight that passes you, every passenger that hitches a ride. Because you’ve got a one way ticket for the best ride EVER!