About Ageing Well

by Michael Corthell

Most of us are not a fan of old age — losing our youthfulness, developing wrinkles and facing health problems that are inevitable as we grow older. This fear of growing old, only becomes a debilitating problem when it becomes persistent, irrational and chronic —a phobia.

''You don't stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.''  
—George Bernard Shaw

The common thread in all phobias is anxiety. Worrying about what will happen. Anxiety concerning old age is difficult to manage, since we can see it's effects first hand — constantly. We have all seen loved ones become unable to care for themselves or falling down breaking a hip. We have all witnessed the acute and chronic illnesses that come with aging.

''Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be...''
 —Robert Browning

Let's look at ways to make the best of it and worry a whole lot less.

First of all accept aging as 'normal'. Aging is as certain as the sun rising. It happens to all of us, admittedly some of us age faster than others, but there is no escaping it. One thing to always remember however, is that age and aging doesn't have to define who we are.

Define yourself. You and you alone decide how to react to aging and how you present yourself to the world. Media coverage and popular movies reinforce negative stereotypes about aging and the elderly. Discount society's negatives about aging.

Take action. Get healthy and stay healthy. Yes, much of the fear of getting old concerns decline in health and being able to self-care. Be the best you can be by taking care of your mind and body. Eat right, exercise and study etc. Common sense plays a big role is solving any problem, fear of getting old is no different.

Prepare for the consequences of aging. Besides taking care of your health and being the best you can be through living a positive lifestyle, make sure you take care of your personal business. Put your final affairs in order way ahead of time so that these details don't dance on your mind everyday. It's just common sense and common courtesy not to leave this burden to your children or other family members.

Be bold and take charge of your life. This is not the time to simply give up, give in, hide away and wallow in self-pity. This is the most important time of your life to be assertive and face life. It is time to rise up and stare down the fear of getting old.

Accept and embrace your age. Don't fight it. Don't say you're 44 when you're really 54! Be proud of your age. Doing so doesn't mean that you are giving into aging, far from it, it just means letting go of your younger self and loving your new older self. We should all value ourselves at any age.

''It`s not how old you are, it's how you are old.'' 
—Jules Renard

Be optimistic, live a positive life. This is the best advice available for anyone at any age. Having a positive outlook on life will help you live a longer, healthier life. Studies have conclusively shown that having a positive, optimistic outlook will even decrease the risk of developing certain chronic conditions, like heart disease. 

Finally, aging will have less of an impact on you if you have Faith. While aging certainly does bring challenges, it also gives us all an opportunity for deep spiritual growth. Most people who have Faith in God believe that they will live on after death. Whatever your belief is, it is best to acknowledge that you have one, and perhaps even cultivate it.


''How to live passionately—no matter your age''

by Isabel Allende

Author Isabel Allende is 71. Yes, she has a few wrinkles—but she has incredible perspective too. In this candid talk, meant for viewers of all ages, she talks about her fears as she gets older and shares how she plans to keep on living passionately.