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OTHER ITA SITES:
Aging in a Straightjacket? How to Avoid Being Old
I recently asked my newsletter subscribers "What kind of help do you need but are not finding in your quest to put old on hold". One respondent replied, "How to stay young forever."
Facetious answer? Doesn't matter. Let's be honest. Every woman (and probably every man) would like to stay young forever. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, most would agree that a dry, wrinkled, debilitated face and body is not appealing.
Women want to avoid becoming invisible. Men don't look at an old or older woman, they look beyond her for something more visually appealing. Older women miss being looked at; that's why they work so hard to stay attractive.
But not to worry -- you can stay young forever.
First, let's start with your face. You can buy beauty same as you buy a car – on time. Cosmetic procedures of all kinds are becoming easier, safer and more affordable. When you look as good on the outside as you are healthy on the inside, nothing beats the "wow" effect of a successful cosmetic procedure. You are back in the game.
Next, your body reveals what and how much you eat and if you exercise. If you can't control food intake and are not motivated to exercise, you can always find a doctor who will suck fat out every inch of your body.
So much for physical beauty. It's yours if you want it. You can look any way you want to look for as along as you want. You can keep guys gasping in wanton appreciation forever.
But you and I know that staying young forever is not all about looking like a Barbi doll. There is something far more important.
It's about being young inside. It's being 40-50 with "insides" that function like a 25 year old. And the only way you are going to achieve that is by conscientious attention to how you treat your body day in and day out. There is no magic pill. No doctor can do it for you.
Having "young insides" includes having a young attitude. If you can control what goes on in your head, you have it made.
You have to work at having a young attitude because everything in our society militates against it. Once past midlife, tradition dictates that you think, act, dress, walk and talk in socially accepted ways. It's like a straightjacket; the older you get the tighter the straps on the straightjacket squeeze the young attitude out of you.
You have to hold onto a young attitude while you still have one. After it's lost it's tough to get it back.
Once you arrive at seniorhood, a young attitude is severely challenged. You begin to do "senior" things: you go to the senior center with like-minded friends, reminisce about the past, and trade stories about aches, pains and doctors. You go to bingo and the casino and do other socially accepted but stagnating things women your age are supposed to enjoy doing. By the way – nothing wrong with bingo and all the rest. It's just "old" behavior. Young people don't do it.
You accept the culturally imposed straightjacket as "this is the way it's supposed to be." With each passing year, the straps on the straightjacket continue to tighten. Your reflection in the mirror gradually becomes that of a squeezed, drained, blank, little old lady.
Here's the antidote: Don't allow your young attitude to be hijacked by outdated cultural norms.
One of the best ways to avoid an old mindset is to choose friends very carefully. If you are 50 and associate primarily with other 50 year olds, you are going to adopt an old attitude before you know it. We learn from each other. We copy each other's behaviors; we adopt each other's thinking.
Even if you are the gutsiest, hippest role model in your group, straightjacket thinking will catch up with you because ultimately, it's easier to fit in than to be different.
I've said it before: To stay young mentally, regular association with young people is a must. But don't wait for them to come to you. Young people hang with other young people. They don't have the maturity to pursue and value older friendships.
If you still work and meet younger people, you are in luck. If you are retired, get a job that puts you in contact with young people. Go back to school or volunteer to mentor young people. I can't stress too much how important this is if you want to maintain a young attitude and outlook on life.
I know from personal experience the value of being around young people. You won't always like what you see or hear; you may be dismayed by some of their ideas and behaviors, but you will benefit from their energy, enthusiasm and openness. It will force you to rethink some of the social straightjacket thinking society foists on people as they progress through stages of aging past midlife.
A bonus: If you maintain a young attitude, and you are looking for a significant other, your chances of catching a "live one" escalate astronomically! Remember, youthfulness attracts youth; "oldness" attracts what is old.
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