7 Myths About Aging You Need to Forget – Part 1
by Aleta Pippin
When I was 18, I thought I’d know everything. In my 20’s I thought I had to wear my hair above my jaw line to look younger. In my 30’s I thought cream would hold the wrinkles at bay. In my 40’s I believed exercise would stop my butt from falling. As I approached 50, I thought Prozac would be a necessary aid to make it through menopause. These are myths.
It turns out there are a lot of myths about aging like the 7 Myths You Need to Forget. The media promotes aging as a “problem.” That’s simply not true. Let’s do some myth busting.
Myth #1 You Have No Control Over How Your Body Ages
You do have a great deal of control over how your body ages. Consider – only 30% of aging is genetics. A whopping 70% is the result of lifestyle choices. There are obvious lifestyle choices, like exercise, diet, whether you drink and how much, whether you smoke, and how you deal with stress. But what about less obvious lifestyle choices like how your job or career impacts your stress levels? Or whether family members are driving you nuts. Even the idea that you’re getting older and how you’re going to deal with it becomes a lifestyle choice.
Listening to your inner critic is also a lifestyle choice. What’s your inner critic constantly saying to you? Is it saying that you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not attractive enough? When you get together with friends and acquaintances, do you tell them about your aches and pains? Your body is congealed consciousness and the words you select to define who you are do not fall on deaf ears. Your body is listening. Optimists live 19% longer than pessimists.
How do you picture yourself? The process of visualization is the most powerful tool for change known. But for visualization to work, you have to evoke your senses and emotions. You have to believe your visualization is as real as what you “see” around you.
Is it true that you have no control over how your body ages? No. The truth is that you are unlimited potential.
Myth #2 You’ll Become Frail
When I was about five years old, we used to go to my great aunt’s farm. I loved going there. There was so much to see and do. I remember my great grandfather sitting in a straight-back wooden chair wedged in the doorway between the dining room and the stairway. We’d run through the room, occasionally stopping to talk. He always had a bag of Wintergreens in his lap and would give each of us one. I’ll never forget my memory of him as rigid and brittle.
That was the misperception of a child. Let’s face it, when you’re five, 18 seems old. The reality is that only about 4% of Americans under the age of 74 need assisted living. And there’s a wide variety of what’s considered assisted living.
A commercial debuted during the Super Bowl showing an elderly woman jogging down the street drinking Tropicana. They surveyed several people afterwards to determine which of the new commercials held people’s interest. This is what Jim Bosso said about the Tropicana commercial. “I thought it was hysterical. You don’t expect to see an old lady running down the street like that.”
He’s right. Most of us don’t expect to see a senior female jogging down the street. I’d say it’s time we change our expectations.
Will you become frail as you age? Not necessarily. The truth about you is that you are powerful.
Tomorrow: Myths About Aging You Need to Forget – Part 2
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.