Aging Ungracefully

This year I turned the Fabulous Fifty. I can happily say that I am the fittest, healthiest and most mentally prepared than any other time in my life. But I would also like to make it quite clear that doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days or doubt myself .. it just means I have the life skills to get through the obstacles that life presents to me.

And the truth is sometimes I look in the mirror and all I see is wrinkles and tiredness. While I am totally non-judgemental and respect other peoples choice to have cosmetic surgery or other forms of beauty enhancements this is not the path I want to take. Sure I try to care for my skin, wear makeup (My new love affair with FitCover) , dye my hair and generally look after my appearance but I also want to be able to embrace the aging I see in the mirror. And that is not always easy, especially when we live in a world that is photo-shopped, filtered and mostly represented by much younger gorgeous looking humans. So what does it take to be able to look in the mirror and love what you see ?

For me that answer has several components. Firstly there is the general physical appearance and health. This is where simple things like nutrition, exercise and sleep come into play. By staying active and especially with a component of strength training I am able to keep my body strong and relatively lean which means that my metabolism is high, my cardio is good and my bones strong. So my first suggestion is to start working out with some form of strength and conditioning training. There is so much research now that indicates the importance of weight bearing exercises especially as we get older. So ladies, I know many of you grew up in the days of just playing netball or walking, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to get into the gym and start lifting. And if you do other exercise like walking, swimming, running, netball or lawn bowls then strength training is also going to improve your abilities and help prevent injury.

From a nutrition point of view I encourage you to eat as healthy as you can with as little processed food as possible. A good variety of food containing various nutrients, protein, good fats, carbs and water in the right proportions will keep your body functioning properly. If of course you have medical or ethical reasons for not eating specific foods then I recommend getting advice from a qualified Nutritionist and ensure that you are not depriving your body of any nutrients. Fad diets come and go at a rapid speed and very few of the people spruiking them are actually qualified, so be smart and don’t get caught up in the latest money making hype. The reality is what you put into your body will have a great impact on your skin, hair and overall appearance, so pay attention to this first before you think about injecting a temporary solution !

Stress and sleep are probably the two things that affect what I see in the mirror the most. I am notorious for not getting enough sleep. I get up at 4am most days and despite all my good intentions of getting to bed at 9pm I rarely get there before 10pm. This aspect is a work in progress but on the upside, I have been devoting a lot of my self development into getting rid of stress in my life so my sleeping is a much better quality. I will not go on too much about stress in this blog but I think we all realise how detrimental it is to our mental health and the subsequent rapid aging process that comes with it.

So I guess once we get on top of our nutrition, fitness and stress there is still one obstacle to embracing the aging process and that is our mindset. There are a couple of things at play here, the first being our perception of aging. If we can view aging as a gift of experience that we are lucky enough to enjoy then each wrinkle or scar becomes a life story rather than a physical negative. The world is currently obsessed with everyone looking 20 but the reality is we are not 20 anymore and the sooner we accept that its okay to show signs of aging the quicker we will start enjoying the wonderful privilege that comes with growing old. I loved my 20s but I certainly don’t want to live through it again !! So next time you look in the mirror and criticise what you see, think about some small lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health. Then look a bit deeper and start valuing the perfect human being that lies within. Embrace the body and mind that has got you through some of the most difficult life experiences, has catapulted you through your crazy fun times and which every day gives you opportunities to live a life of your choosing.

Most of all, have fun and enjoy getting old ! Act immature and fuck the myths that society peddles about aging. Lets all live our lives to the fullest and grow old ungracefully !