Is society’s view on ageing unhealthy?
Today’s my Mum’s birthday. In her late fifties, she bemoaned the fact to me this week: “I’ve had enough birthdays, they just remind me that I am getting old.”
This made me sad – anyone who knows my mum, knows she is a beautiful woman, hardly looks her age (not that it even matters if she did) and has a kind heart and loving soul.
But for her, her birthday just symbolised ageing- rather than a time to celebrate being grateful for another year on this Earth we have been gifted with.
When I look at my Mum I see a lifetime of memories – first day of school drop off, home cooked meals, arguments through my teenage years, a mix-match of the good and bad, all of which have made us the people we are today.
When SHE looks at herself, she sees wrinkles, and age spots and weight gain. It is difficult for her to acknowledge her beauty staring right at her in the mirror – because she cannot get past the lines.
I am using this story as an example, as I know that ageing – and especially the physical changes that come with it – can be especially challenging. Particularly as the signs of an ageing face are so blatant to ourselves as we look in the mirror – fine lines, wrinkles, sunken eyes, and skin marks that were not there when we were younger.
All acting as cruel little reminders that we are not as young as we once were.
But what if we changed the way we looked at these marks of our passage through time? Instead of bemoaning our forehead lines, what if we were grateful for the years of laughter we have had that have allowed these lines to form? Instead of picking apart our facial changes, how about we start acknowledging that our face bears marks of memories: moments in our life we felt would break us, but we overcame, signs of strength, of motherhood, of joy.
Chances are when you look at a loved one – be it your mother, your grandmother, your sister or your bestie – you do not notice the lines or the wrinkles or the ageing. You see love and happiness and light. And, believe it or not, that is EXACTLY what people in your life see when they look at you.
It is time for us to stop bemoaning our ageing bodies. How lucky are we to even HAVE our physical form in the first place – to have vision to watch our children grow, to have our sense of hearing to listen to our favourite music, to have four working limbs, a mouth that can smile and speak, hair that we can style.
This is not the case for all of us. And when we bemoan what we are given, we are also offending those who may not have it as good as we do. Read our tips on self-love here
Something to remember next time you look in the mirror.