What If We Didn’t Consider Aging a Problem?

Rossellini younger

The world is a magical place limited to some extent by our low expectations.   Today while I was meditating these ideas bubbled up:

  • If it’s true that forming a new habit takes 21 days of repetition, shouldn’t we be able to form a new habit every 21 days? So if you picked three new things you want to groove into your brain (say, meditation, Kegels and exercise), and did them for a month, wouldn’t you have three new habits? Over a year you could develop 36 new habits/behaviors. Is that really possible? What a better person I could be in a year if that were true.
  • What if you looked in the mirror on a regular basis and thought, “You’re smart! You’re pretty! Dang, you’re awesome.” Oh, put away the modesty. You love yourself, right? Why not unabashedly tell yourself that? Oprah does, or at least I assume she does. I wrote about it here. I think it would feel wonderful if we could stop with the negativity and start celebrating ourselves. My shrink used to say, “change the behavior and the feelings will follow.” Isn’t that a lovely thought? What if we could change our feelings simply by acting like we believe it?

Rossellini older

Okay, now that I’ve laid the groundwork, now that you are floating on a bubble of what might be, I would like to share with you a fabulous anecdote. A reporter asked Isabella Rossellini what she does to try to look younger. She fixed him with that half-mocking, studious look of hers and said, “I do nothing. I don’t think aging is a problem.”

Can you imagine feeling this way? Let me create a mental image for you: we look in the mirror and see that our necks are veiny, our eyes are surrounded by a starburst of lines and our hair is thinning. We shrug, because we know that looks go away.

We accept with a peaceful heart and good humor that older women look different from younger women. We marvel at their strength and ability to bend down and reach into the lower shelves, and we hand them things to carry and put away because they can. We laugh, knowing we’re taking advantage. They laugh, knowing it’ll be their turn one day. It’s all good. It’s just the way of the planet.

What would that feel like? What if we acted as if we believed it for twenty one days? Change the behavior and the feelings will follow.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my AST friends. I am grateful for the companionship we share.

Comments

  1. says

    Lynne, I love this! I wrote this week about my amazing 90-year-old aunt. She gets around better than I do and has the most beautiful positive attitude. She likes to laugh, too. Attitude and self-talk are so important.

  2. says

    I think we all have the problem with criticizing ourselves too much and not liking the way we look.

    Oh, okay. I’ll speak for myself. Yes, I do a lot of negative self-talk in the mirror at times. I’m not proud of it. But I think I remember an episode of Oprah where models like Tyra Banks thought they were ugly–at the height of their careers! This tells us that beauty is really just in our heads. If only we can learn to accept ourselves just the way we are. I think we all struggle with that. I’m not there yet, but I hope to be one day. :)

    • says

      Ollin, I appreciate your comment. I think we could maybe come around to a place where we feel grateful for what we have and not the opposite – ie not throwing back in the face of the cosmos that great gift of our uniqueness, and the fact we’re blessed to be alive!

  3. says

    Lynne, I love the idea of thinking our way into believing, kind of a “fake it till we make it” mentality! It definitely puts the responsibility for our life experiences squarely on our own shoulders. I agree with Debbie, that we live in an “age-defying or denying ” society. Your idea to think our way into being ageless or whatever we want to be is fantastic. I’m just going to tell myself,age is merely a number and I am living a joyful life right now. Thanks for the reminder :-)

  4. says

    Some cultures don’t look on aging as a burden; too bad ours does. Mature people have so much to give, so much wisdom to share. We’re inundated with media photos of lovely young people. Why should ALL of us feel worthless unless we look just like them?? Thank you, Lynne, for pointing out what should be obvious yet often isn’t — hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful, too!

  5. says

    Great idea Lynne! I am going to try it for 21 days then send you a photo to let you know how happy, fit and ageless I look. That damn mirror has been distorting our self image for years!

  6. says

    Excellent! Personally, I embrace aging. There are so many benefits that far surpass the negatives. We are wiser, we are more the person we were meant to be, we care less about what others think about us, and best of all we become grandmothers!

  7. says

    Beautiful thoughts. Perhaps we’ll start seeing our faces on the covers of magazines, in major media like movies and television, when we stand in the power that being an elder gives us naturally. I earned every wrinkle, and I’m delighted that most are laugh lines and none of them hurt. Look at the extraordinary beauty of Mother Earth. She’s been smiling for billions of years!

  8. says

    Life has gotten better at every stage. Do I miss the fresh faced Nanci? Sure, but do I miss the bundle of anxiety and worry about what everyone else thought….. Nah! I love what Isabella said and plan to rev up my 21 day habit to include that thought. Thanks, Lynne for bringing this back to center stage. Maybe if the largest generation (Boomers) start to believe and act on this concept it could change things for future gens.

  9. Jean says

    It isn’t looking in the mirror that counts. It is looking into the faces of others. Are you smiling? Are they? That’s ageless! Great post, Lynne. Thank you.

  10. Sarah says

    I love that quote. I’m going to practice saying that to myself every day, and to others, if the occasion arises: “aging is not a problem.” Then I might even add: “aging is a blessing.” After all, consider the alternative- not having lived long enough to earn those wrinkles.

  11. says

    Thanks Lynne. I actually enjoy the aging me, though I must confess, I do what I can to look the best I can without resorting to anything drastic – including – coloring my hair. I like the peace and contentment I feel and the dissipated desire to prove myself.

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