You know when you meet somebody who had aged gracefully. You admire them and you wonder how the heck had they done it! As our life expectancy keeps rising the question about HOW TO AGE and what it means becomes more important than even just a few year ago.
Some common stats here.
Globally, life expectancy has increased by more than 6 years between 2000 and 2019. The number of people living past 100 years of age is increasing. Actuaries predict that babies born in the year 2000 will have an average lifespan of 100 years. Maximum human life span could reach 130 years by 2100.
I had written an article about women aging, menopause and sexuality and an interesting fact came up as I did my research on the topic. Women health after 50 is relatively a new subject for scientists because in olden days women rarely lived past their fertile years. Sex only had one function - make babies... now we are dealing with a completely new understanding of love, intimacy and sexuality. If it is not biology driven... how do we experience it then? You can read my recommendations here.
So here are my 10 rules of thumb for dealing with aging, accepting your age and gracefully owning your new phase in life for as long as you live.
GOLDEN RULE 1 - Stop hiding your age.
Especially if you are a public figure information about you is somewhere out there. Lying takes too much effort as you would need to separate yourself from the friends you had in the past, keep up the appearances which is going to drain your time and money, doing things in life you are actually not interested in. Lying alone can age you prematurely.
GOLDEN RULE 2 - Accept your age.
Accepting your age is a process - give yourself time to go through it. Chances are the less you resist addressing the issue, the easier and faster you will arrive to a beautiful gracefully place and start enjoying your life as it is.
Process of accepting age is similar to accepting the loss or grieving. It has five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Here's a little exercise you can do right now.
Ask yourself, what stage are you at right now for yourself?
Still acting like you are 20 years younger? Angry at society and all the restrictions you have as you are getting older? Are you trying hard to keep fit and slim at acceptance of your joy? Are you given up on life and decided to just let yourself go? Or are you curious about how your life is going to unfold and take full responsibility for making your life happy and enjoyable?
GOLDEN RULE 3 - Reframe how you age.
It's very likely that you don't have a great positive role models for aging. You had seen your parents, your grandparents age at the time when medicine wasn't as advanced, and hard work and a lot of stress and personal trauma informed the experience of aging that you had witnessed. But times had changed. Now it's your job to come up with a new paradigm for aging. What will it be? Anything you want, actually!
Close your eyes and for a moment imagine what would be the way you wanted to age. How would you want to feel? What would you want to look like? What would you be doing? Keep coming up with your own version of an old age. Be the positive role model for all of us and a future generation.
GOLDEN RULE 4 - Invest in your relationships with people.
Scientistic research had shown us that it wasn't the genes, or the quality of health or health care that affected longitivtiy of life. Harvard study, almost 80 years old, has proved that embracing community helps us live longer, and be happier.
So, do your best to be invested in relationships - family, friends, community.
Make sure that those relationships create a warm positive atmosphere around you. Have deep intimate connections with your friends where you can share not only your troubles but also your successes and joys.
GOLDEN RULE 5 - Care not only for yourself but for others.
This way you will create your life's purpose and have motivation and energy to live longer and be healthier.
Right now celebrate your input and impact on others. Keep yourself relevant. Find the ways to be useful and meaningful for others.
If you have any doubts about being wanted, check out local charities and volunteer to work with people in your community. If you have skills that need updating, invest in that. If you need to change your career or learn new skills, do that. As people will live for 100 years in a very near future, you can imagine, career transition, second or third education and occupation will become a normality. Same with marriages and places of living. You are not alone in searching for the new identity and a makeover.
BTW, I have something you might like to help you transition and improve all areas of your life. Click the link at the end to check it out.
GOLDEN RULE 6 - Respect your looks.
Take care of your looks and hygiene. When it comes to aging women often go two extreme ways - letting themselves go or trying hard to look as young as possible. Plastic surgery, expensive procedures, fancy supplements... when is it too much? I think good balance is the best thing to do here. If you are really suffering with accepting your age and your looks first try therapy and 'work' with your fear of aging... and if after that you still feel that you objectively want to invest in looking radically younger that you are, do your research on what are the best ways to do it. But remember the Golden Rule 1 - laying takes a lot of effort, simpler and easier is to start accepting and loving yourself just as you are.
GOLDEN RULE 7 - Fight your hypochondria.
If you find yourself endlessly going to doctors or researching illnesses and looking for what is wrong with you, you may be at danger of getting depressed.
Self-help for hypochondria can include learning stress management and relaxation techniques. Avoid online searches for the possible meanings behind your symptoms. Focus on outside activities such as a hobby you enjoy or volunteer work you feel passionate about.
GOLDEN RULE 8 - Stop fishing for compliments about how young you look or act for your age. It can drive you to exhaustion: running arround, chasing, rasing, competeing with your younger peers and collegues. Know when to gracefully retire or take a position of a mentor or a coach. Career change can also be a very healthy thing to do.
My students love how I approach career transition in my programs. We look at how to take your life lessons and skills and package them into a beautiful transformational coaching offer. Many of my clients replace their old careers and make 6-figures with selling their experience and expertise for a great 5- and 6-figure fees. You can learn more about my business programs here.
GOLDEN RULE 9 - Go from a Barby to a Lady self-image and style.
Treat your age as an achievement, not as a problem. This is a great excuse to have a great makeover and match your wisdom, your successes in life with your new wardrobe. What kind of image you want to project to people? How do you perceive yourself, now you respect your age? Play with different outfits and styles. Given your radical self acceptance phase 'work' your body. With your type, with your weight and shape what would be the most flattering thing to wear? Go for not what's in fashion, but with what makes you look the best.
As you accept your losses and regrets, you will also acknowledge your gains and your blessings. Yes, with age you will have some objective restrictions in how your body can perform and look, and it's ok! Trying hard to prove yourself or somebody else you still can do everything a youngster can do can lead to injuries, physical and mental exhaustion. Comparing yourself to others will only keep you miserable and feeling like a failure. Be smart - find a new way to see and present yourself in society. Your style is a part of it. Be the inspiration.
GOLDEN RULE 10 - Count your blessings.
So here are 3 specific reasons why you are so much better off than when you were younger:
Hormones and emotions are not screwing up your life and performance. You are now capable of thinking pragmatically, make choices that are actually good for you. Stop being a people pleaser, a 'yes' man/girl. You can make yourself a priority and follow through with your passions and desires.
You had created a great life for yourself. Achieved financial stability. Have experience and competence. Lived through many life's challenges and had seen yourself not only survive, but thrive.
We have confidence. Accumulated life lessons. Have culture and knowledge. Travelled. Had different diverse experiences with people. Are better communicators. Know how to sustain a relationships. Created deep connections with long term friends. Created a family. Made a difference.
Often women feel jealous of their younger competitors, whether at work or in love. They start competing on their territory. They forget that they have a great advantage if they stay and play on their own field. They can feel completely lost and loosing in a club, wearing a short skirt, taking insta selfies... But put the same women in a center of her queendom, acting with great understanding of people, awakened intuition, making powerful choices, knowing how to love and support another, how to own her worth... and here, she is the winner!
Use your emotional competence and your life experience.
Right now take an account of everything you gained coming to your age.
Start a gratitude journal and fill at least 3 pages every day for the next week or a month, if you really have difficulty with self acceptance.
When I started my business, changed my careers, I first couldn't see how am I going to stand out on the market, I decided to keep a Gratitude Journal for a month and committed to write 100 entries every day. At the end of 30 days I raised my fees, started marketing myself and completely re-vamped my brand.
You can check out the testimonials and case studies from my clients who had transitioned their careers in their 50-s and get inspired on what is possible for you.
ABOUT LIRA KAY
Lira Kay is an International Bestselling author, Speaker, and a founder of the 111 Healers Conference and the School of Inspired Life - a training center helping outstanding experts become world-class and in high demand.
Lira has been assisting people to transform their lives over 30 years. Her students had been successfully growing their businesses, launching their own academies, schools and certifications, elevating brands, charging 10-20 times as much as they charged before.
Her 111 Healers Project is reaching thousands of people across the globe with the message of healing and transformation. 111 Healers Conference gives a platform for healers from all over the world reach a global audience and share their tools and methods with public.
Join her 12-month Mastermind https://www.schoolofinspiredlife.com