Embrace your years – top tips for loving your age
Yesterday I listened in stunned disbelief as a doughty Dutchman - Emile Ratelband – stated on morning TV that he was choosing to reduce his legal age by 20 years. His logic….if you can call it logic…was that if there is fluidity of gender then why can’t you have fluidity of age?
If you feel 49 and not 69 as he is, then you should be allowed to say what age you feel and not what the annals of time impose on you.
Even the normally garrulous Piers Morgan was stumped. All counter arguments – notably that the younger of his seven children would be - time-wise – non-existent, as not even a motivational speaker can sire children before he is born, fell on deaf (or maybe un-listening ears). You have to give it to him - Mr Ratelband is so convinced he is taking his case to court and claims to be convincing the judge. Oh, and he insists he doesn’t have a Peter Pan complex. As a psychologist I agree – I think he is simply bonkers (a technical term!).
When incredulity subsided I wondered what the reaction would have been if that was a woman on the Good Morning Britain TV couch. I suspect she would have faced derision and a good level of disparaging remarks about botox and boy-chasing. Or maybe no woman would be so daft as to think she can take 20 years off her life with the flourish of a judge’s pen.
But what is it which makes us so desperate to avoid ageing? I wrote some time ago about how women often feel increasingly invisible as they age. You notice how men do not notice you when you walk into a room, how language becomes patronising. Which of the following is ever used about men?
- Woman of a certain age
- Sweet old lady (that’s rubbish anyway – most of us are spitting bricks by the time we have gone through menopause!)
- Cougar woman
- Grab a granny night
- Botox believer
- Mutton dressed as lamb
- Glamorous granny
Are there male equivalents? No. They are called distinguished or silver fox!
So we find ourselves looking in the mirror counting the lines, fretting over a waistline which is not as trim as it was (for good hormonal reasons!); paying huge amounts for a promise-of-youth in a jar; subjecting ourselves to odious treatments; contemplating the virtue of toxic injections into our face; covering a grey hairline as if it is the sign of Satan; worrying that a dress is ‘too young’ for us; wanting to dance at parties and thinking it is now a ‘bit sad’; constantly comparing ourselves to women of the same age and wondering if she looks ‘better for her age’. Don’t take this as criticism. I am simply listing what I do. And it is miserable.
So what can we do to embrace our age?
Well, I have trawled the Sassista advice bank and spent many hours on the internet looking at various websites like this one. I have to say, there is a lot of words, but the pragmatic advice is thin on the ground. So here is my two-penneths for thought:
- Value your years – every one of them has given you experience, wisdom, knowledge, insight, learning. You have been filling up your brain for decades. You know more than you did at twenty and make better decisions. Value that.
- Aim to look as good as you can and not as young as you can. Taking off the years is either expensive or impossible and only your bank balance decides. But if botox or nip and tuck is not for you, make the very best of what you have.
- Reduce your physical age. Many of us are living a lifestyle which means that our heart, muscles, blood pressure and brain health are decades older than our bodies. There are many ways to turn back the years, but prioritise your gut health and exercise. If you need to lose weight and get fit – get going now. See our articles on microbiome, also our series on various diets and exercises which we are building.
- Sleep. If you want a life-changing book then buy ‘Why we sleep’ by Matthew Walker. If you are not getting a good 7 to 8 hours sleep a night then you are ageing your brain, your body and your skin. Sleep deprivation is a fast track to age. Look at our article on getting a good night’s sleep and start getting into the habit. It will take a few weeks to really get into a good pattern but you will feel and see the difference in days!
- Stuff it! Dance at parties, go out and laugh, wear that dress, play – and defy anyone who tells you it is no longer appropriate. Get Sassy not granny. Be belligerent in loving who you are and all that life which is in your face. Every one of those lines is a story and a year of wisdom. Be proud of them!
As for me – I have just put ‘new dress’ in my diary and it is not going to look like the safe-sack-shape I so love. I just might even do cleavage!