The way we talk about ourselves can be unhealthful, and we don’t even realize it. Even when we celebrate aging, we put ourselves down. Look at this statement from Jane Fonda:
“Staying involved and passionate and curious helps one remain youthful for sure…but spiritually and energetically, I feel younger than when I was 20 and 30.”
What is “youthful” about involvement, passion, and curiosity? Those are the attributes of a good life at any age. Let’s rewrite Jane’s statement.
“As I’ve aged, I’ve become ever more involved and passionate and curious…at almost 80, I feel more spiritual and energetic than ever before.”
Dear Reader, how do you feel now? Invigorating, isn’t it?
When we classify ageless qualities like passion and curiosity as “youthful,” we hurt ourselves. Among other things, negative beliefs about aging can shorten your life by 7.5 years.
Second–(jeez, we just had a 4.8 earthquake and I forgot what I was saying! Whew. Calm down, heart.) Second, be aware that positive human attributes aren’t often age-related. Here are the qualities I admire in my friends and family. Guess what ages they are? Three to ninety-two.
- vibrant, vital, vigorous
- mentally healthy
- happy, strong, colorful
- energetic, vivacious
- dynamic, bold
- fiery, exciting, spirited
- insightful, wise, confident
You can be any of the above at any age. Learn to strip away the age-relatedness from the descriptor. You’ll feel empowered, and maybe live longer, too!
There’s good news in this article as well:
When you read it, be mindful of the derogatory way they use the word “old.” They mean well, but awareness is slow in coming. As with Fonda, it’s a habit. We need to be aware of what we do in order to change it. And here’s another reason to try:
Happy New You!