On most days, when I’m feeling good, I don’t want to waste time, not a second squandered on anything that doesn’t feed my soul. On others, I do waste precious time and energy wishing things were different — if only I could go back in time. Letting go of youth is hard to do in our culture.
It all starts with how we treat ourselves on a daily basis. How many times during the course of a day do you find yourself saying mean things to yourself about your appearance? It may seem innocent: “I look fat in these jeans,” “my skin looks saggy,” “I have a new wrinkle,” “my arms look like wobbly jelly.” But when we say these debasing remarks to ourselves, we feel a constant unease and don’t know why.
It’s no wonder we are so hard on ourselves. Modern reality tells us not to age, that good looks are our currency, our power and what makes us vital in today’s world. We hear how we should be very afraid to lose our youthful appearance by thousands of images and words broadcast, printed, tweeted, portrayed in movies, featured in magazines and blogs, bombarded to us dozens of times a day. We ingest these messages and the battle of time is waged secretly within our own minds and in isolation. We begin to buy into an anxiety-producing culture imperative to look younger than we truly are.
As we age many of us face a paradox: we want to radiate beauty and be admired, yet we long be ourselves and free from the opinion and judgement of others. No one wants to look frumpy, but what about looking and feeling the best we can at the age we are at rather than panicking and fearing the years ahead? What if we buy into a new currency: accepting ourselves, helping others, making the world a better place and developing interests that we have denied ourselves for far too long?
If all our energy is invested in wishing we looked younger, we lose our creativity and opportunity in the moment; we repeat the patterns of the past and cling to ego and the insatiable need for validation from the outside.