Do You Embrace or Fight the Aging Process?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It’s hard for me to believe that I’ll be married 10 years this summer.  It doesn’t really bother me to get older- I think age is just a number- but time just goes so quickly.  There are days when I think “Wasn’t I just in high school a few years ago?”, and then I remember that it’s been more than a few years and my oldest will start Kindergarten this fall. 

When I look in the mirror, I’m like most other women who are critical of what they see.  My body is healthy and strong, but let’s be honest:  I’ll never look exactly like I did before having three kids, no matter how hard I try.  I’ve got circles under my eyes from sleepless nights with babies and brown spots on my face from being careless about wearing sunscreen.  Although I don’t love these things, I do my best to accept that regardless, I can still be fit and happy. 

I’ve never been one to dwell on my looks.  Sometimes I envy those moms at school who always look so put-together, while I’m usually dressed in sweatpants with my hair up in a ponytail.  For me it’s all about choices.  I’d rather spend 30 minutes exercising than styling my hair in the morning.  Exercising makes me feel good, while that other mom feels good because she put in the time to look good. 

I think part of this attitude is why the aging process doesn’t bother me.  I know I’m getting older and things are going to change.  Training for races or getting stronger might not be quite as easy as it once was.  I can’t just assume that most clothes will look fine on me- I have to find clothes to fit my shape (which is different than it was before kids, even though I’m the same weight).  For the most part, I’m okay with that, but there are other people in my life who seem to struggle with aging. 

One family member has said she doesn’t want to celebrate her birthday anymore because she’s gotten too old.  She’s in the best shape of her life, but is always very critical of her body.  She has explored different cosmetic procedures, hoping to regain some of the look of her youth.  I think it’s sad that she can’t be more accepting of the changes age brings, and just be happy living in the moment.  I love birthdays- I don’t care if I’m turning 10 or 100.  I just want to be around to celebrate as many of them as possible.

Do you struggle with the physical changes aging brings?  How do you cope with them?  Have you learned to accept it, or do you find yourself constantly trying to fight it?

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Comments

I totally struggle with the aging process! I'm so vain, and it bothers me that I'm getting older and that my body will eventually slow down, and my face get wrinkles or my hair go grey. I think it's a sin to think this way, so I'm trying to work on it. I mean, last year I turned 30 and I was almost in tears about it! And now I'd prefer for people to not ask me about my age - just wish me a Happy Birthday and leave it at that!
I envy people who embrace getting older - I think they're much more happy and therefore healthy-minded. Report
Right now I am not trying really to "fight" the process. BUT i do want to take care of myself better, and my skin is one of them. I know there is a fine line between taking care of yourself and fighting the process. I think i'd love to age gracefully and take care of myself better.

on the other hand, if I was offered plastic surgery - for health reasons - i would take it in a second. Report
Amber512, I used to have the same problem! Now I love it when people take me for early 50s instead of nearly 67! Oh yeah, I've EARNED the wrinkles!! Report
No, I welcome my age. Sure, I'd love to have the body of a 20 year old and i'dlive to get my Jolson fixed but with my age has come wisdom, peace, contentment. It's nice to see all of my laugh and smile lines and know I earned those. Turning 50 was freeing! Report
I'm 62 and if I had the money, I'd go get a facelift tomorrow. Have nothing against getting back to where I was. But getting to a normal weight and exercise is what I can do. Report
I think that attitude has a lot to do with how "old" you are. I remember as a teenager thinking that my stepgrandmother was a young person in an old body--she was in her late 70's at the time. She had a young mind. She kept up on current events and fully supported activities of our church's youth group. My husband's stepgrandmother will be 108 this year. She doesn't move around like she did a few years ago and her eyesight's not a good as it was, but she has a young attitude. I turned 60 the other, but mentally I FEEL much younger. However, I don't think I'm OLD; I'm mature, I dress and act my age (not trying to fit myself into teeny-bopper styles). I don't WANT to be young again, but I want to FEEL young. By making wise and healthy food choices and exercising, I can accomplish that feeling. Report
It took me a LONG time as a child to not think I was ugly - I grew up with a very pretty older sister, and I was overshadowed and overlooked. I was 14 when I realized I wasn't ugly. (I look back at photos and realize I was an adorable child, just not gorgeous.) Anyway, so yes, I'm doing what I can to stave off the aging process. I get monthly facials to keep my youthful skin. I use some rather pricey face products for the same reason. (Vitamin C for the face!) I also color my hair, because at 57 this is my last chance to still be a redhead.

But I don't compete with 20-somethings - if I can't reach something, or can't carry something way heavy, I ask for help. I dress in age-appropriate fashion. I stay fit and healthy, and work to stay as strong as I am currently.

But the wrinkles and the grey hair and the age spots? I fight those. Report
like my mother wrote on her birthday card to me when I turned 30: "Congratulations, you are a year older than your mother!". Ok, I will never be able to look like I am 29 now that I am well beyond 30, but given the stocked shelves in the cosmetic department in every department, drug and grocery store, I am not alone. Sadly in two years, I will be a year older than the age my mother was when she died from cancer. At that time, I plan to look younger than my age and be happy in my skin because I am taking care of myself and using whatever modern chemistry and good SparksPeople living can provide! To feel young and look young -- kindles a happy energy inside me!! Report
My Nana always took great care of her skin. I can remember as a child spending the night and sleeping in bed with her. She always removed her make-up, cleaned her face and put some type of skin cream on. She had lovely skin well into her late 70's. I have done the same since I was a teenager and will 56 in March. Yes, there are a few wrinkles, but I have earned everyone of them (I use to lay out in the CA sun as much as possible, big mistake of youth, but all my friends did the same thing, using baby oil).
I don't think I would use botox because I am allergic to so many medication, so why risk it. Besides the women I have seen that do fillers and botox don't look real, lips too large and face's frozen in place. Not natural at all. I have gained weight over the years, so I am no longer a size 3-5, like I was until my late 20's and b/4 kids and having Lupus (but I am alive when the doctors said I would be dead by the age of 40). People always tell how lovely I am and never guess my age correctly, so I guess I am doing something right? I am proud to be aging gracefully. Report
My first reaction to this blog was "Seeing the picture, I can see that this article doesn't relate to me!" I'm 65, and the thought of the 20-something in the photo worrying about aging seems like a bad joke.

Actually, I would love to have smooth skin with no wrinkles, but I prefer my wrinkles and sagging skin to a strange, surgically-enhanced face. As for my body, I'm happier with it now than I ever was in my life. I'd hate to return to my teenage self-consciousness and obsession with looking exactly like everyone else. Today I am active and I love shopping in 2nd hand shops for wonderful and outrageous clothes. I look good and feel great! Well, most of the time. I do have to be careful, especially with exercise, to work up slowly and not overdo things or I pay for it later. Does this mean that I embrace aging? I'm not sure, but I certainly love my life more now than ever before, and I value my abilities, even though running a marathon is not on my bucket list. Report
Funny you say this - I don't have a problem until someone makes some type of reference to my age. But the body thing - that's a different story . Having lost a bunch of weight and being the healthiest in my life (btw - I'm 53) I was just telling my sister, I tried on some pants tonight at a great sale - store closing and didn't buy any - the area around my hips were too tight, while the waist was too big. I don't have an extremely large rear end - but I have an "apron" of fat or as my sister suggested skin from having lost 110 pounds. That is extremely frustrating. Nicer clothes that aren't baggy on me "show" that front pouch - bulge - what ever you want to call it and I'm extremely self conscious about it. I'm afraid to have major surgery and can't afford it. It's not causing an irritation, so I don't think insurance will pay for it. I need help in finding a way to either get rid of it - or deal with it.

Also by the way - my 50th birthday was the BEST! Report
My first eve encounter with the gym was 3 years agfo when I turned 65, now I am a regular attendee 5 days per week, and a few months ago increased my cardio by another 20 minutes daily taking it to 45 minutes. Since I was 30 I started showing grey hair and have dyed my hair for 36 years, then a year ago I decided to go au naturel, and yes I am very white, but don;t have to worry about the condition of my hair anymore and am saving $$$. Aging is an attitude, just accept and make the best of each year as it comes, rewards come with all ages. Report
Okay.. I admit it... I do NOT look forward to birthdays.. however with that said, I appreciated soooo much the message I received from Sparkpeople on my birthday that said "Don't count the years... but make the years count". That message really came at the right time. Birthdays we have no control over... but making the years count? Yes, that is something we can do! Thank you SP!! Report
LYNNCOOP
I hope more people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s respond to this article! I will be 70 in March and I have never fought the aging process except with dieting. I always have to diet to keep weight off, I can't seem to get on a maintenance plan. And I think no matter what we do to ourselves to "look" young it doesn't stop the aging process! Report
It is hilarious to read a blog on aging, written by someone who is SO young!! I'm hoping in 30 or 40 years, she writes another one on this topic!

I don't "struggle" with aging. Every day I get up and do the best I can with what I've got. Here and there, there have begun to be some limitations. BUT wisdom truly DOES come with age, if you pay attention and learn some things along the way. I have earned every last wrinkle and age spot, every stretch mark and bit of sagging skin. Would I want to go back and be 30 again? NO WAY! Report
I'm 40 and people tell me all the time I look younger. I think "clean living," non-smoking, proper hydration (3L/day) and SUNSCREEN since the early 90s are do it for me. :) Report
I hope to look older! Even though I'm almost 30 I get carded practically every time I step outside. God forbid I walk near a school because they will ask why I'm not in class (even if it's a middle school!) It's frustrating to be thought of us young and immature constantly. But maybe if I start to look older more people will take me seriously! Report
I love birthdays. For myself it isn't a battle with getting older, more of a surprise at how fast the time has gone by. Report
I'm 47 and I love the 40s. Sure I've got wrinkles, sure the body doesn't recuperate as fast as it used to but I wouldn't go back to being 20. I was thinner, in better shape and without wrinkles or white hair, but I didn't like myself as I do now. I am more comfortable in my own skin that I ever was.
I don't feel old I'm just different.
I almost lost my life a few times. I have scars to remember it. I was told I should get rid of them. I feel they are badges of honor. won in battle for my own life. they and the grey hair and the wrinkles are reminders that life is there to be lived and savor. Looks aren't THAT important. LIFE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING Report
I'm not sure if I'm fighting it or not but it seems I'm always fighting. I do look young for my age and I know i keep in shape. My grandson gets me to play with him and he says even his mom doesn't. I play some of the games I used to but I have to take breaks. I feel good for my age and yes I put makeup on and look good that way too. I'm 62 and I play teatherball with my grandson. You can do it too. Hope Report
I like to think of how much I've got to show for my age: 3 terrific kids in their teens; 20 wonderful years of marriage - and a happy marriage to boot; a husband that I enjoy spending time with. So I'm working on my health to make sure that the next 20 years of marriage are even better than the first and that I have the strength and energy to enjoy the grandkids that may be in my future. Here's to another year! Report
There are good things that come with being older, and I feel lucky to be alive considering the health scare bullets I have dodged, so on one hand I am proud of my age - all 52 years of it. I consider myself mentally young for my age, but not physically. I'd like to feel better about my physical appearance and 'look good for my age' (no desire to look a lot younger), so I am more than willing to get a little 'work' done when I reach my goal weight. Report
I always have to laugh when I see people in their 20s, 30s, 40s talk about 'being older' - heck, my SON is 47 years old! I learned long ago that age is a state of mind - I hike with people in their 80s and even 90s who leave 20-somethings in their dust - come on folks, the only way to avoid 'aging' is to die and who's ready for that? Embrace the process and enjoy it - don't be afraid of grey hair, it's as beautiful as any other color. I LOVE my grey hair and feel like I earned every sag, bag and wrinkle I've got. And guess what - I hope to collect a lot more of them before I'm done with this life. It's time to write 'new rules of aging' so let's all enjoy changing attitudes about getting older!

I will add, however, that I think there is NOTHING WRONG with plastic surgery, hair coloring, make-up or whatever else someone wants to feel better about themselves. Heaven knows there has been too much emphasis on 'looks' but that's not going to change soon and EVERYONE does things to look better, whether it's as drastic as a full-body/face redefinition or as simple as combing our hair or brushing our teeth - there's no way to stop the aging process but sometimes people need a little boost. Have a great life and LIVE every minute of it you can! Report
Sometimes, I forget that I'm 33, but I don't usually mind getting older. For what it's worth, I am definately in a better place than I was when I was growing up. I am pretty happy to be getting older, as I get wiser, more open-minded and positive the older I get. I have my moments where I wish I was still in my 20's, but I tend to get over that quickly! Not so happy with my weight/health right now, but taking baby steps to change that, but nevertheless, happy to be getting older! Report
I am 56 and in the best shape of my life! I think attitude has so much to do with age. I feel good and project a happy & positive outlook......most people are surprised that I am in my 50's. Nothing wrong with surgery or trying to look younger but I'll take every wrinkle and stretch mark! I earned them....... Report
I used to dwell on getting older. I am now 55 and don't dwell on it any longer. I have
some age spots and my skin is getting thinner as I get older. I do make sure that I wash my face twice a day and put moisterizer on. I use a lot of cream for dry skin.
I would like to age like my Mom. She is beautiful inside and out. She doesn't believe in surgery just aging naturally. She believes that God wanted her be herself.
Thanks for the blog. Report
I agree with those that say it's easy to have such a postitive outlook when you are still young. I too remember having that attitude.....but as I look at turning 60 next month I look in the mirror and wonder who that woman is...where did that older woman come from? If it weren't for the recovery time, I would have many things done such as surgery on my upper arms, face, etc. I do continue to tell myself that being healthy is most important but it's hard not to want to look younger, refreshed and healthy on the outside as well. Report
It's very easy to say the effects of aging are no big deal while you're relatively young and gravity has not caught up with you. Wait until you're putting on blush and realize that the skin is right above your jawline. I was never a beauty, but I get very depressed every day when I look in the mirror and see huge bags under my eyes and skin that looks like an elephant trunk between my eyes. I am thinking about a facelift once I reach goal weight. Report
Fight it all the time. I admit to having surgery, a few times. Nothing wrong with it. Report
IRISHCATHY1957
It's wonderful to read all of the comments and realize that age is just a mile marker - it doesn't define who we are or where we are going. Report
I am 68 years young and almost 50 years married to my DH. We adore each other, our appearence has changed but we are as much in love as we wre when engaged. We have 3 great sons but we are in Maine and they are in the SW, they moved not us. They could not find work in Maine.
I have sensitivities to make-up and chemicals. In my youth i longed to try them again.Tried with dire consequences. Wised up to listen to my body and now people always gasp when i say my age. I LOVE IT, I have always loved my body and never regretted any stretch line there. My sons are worth every wrinkle. Only down side to old age is my athletics in my youth have given way to pain in my joints. We were never taught to take care of our muscles, warm up. cool down stretches etc, were never a priority. Take care and listen to your body Pat in Maine. Report
I am thrilled to say that at 48 years old, I am in better physical shape now than I was when I was a teenager. I'm in better shape than a lot of men my age or even younger. that's an ego boost for me.

However, while improved eating habits and regular exercise have helped "slow" the aging process, I haven't escaped it. I notice it in particular whenever we do side angle or inversion poses in yoga. I look in the mirror and wonder WHY is the skin on my face sagging !!! YIKES !! And why do I have hairs growing in places they have no business being. But, that's a rant for another time. LOL !!

I'd like to think that I'm embracing my age. I've never been ashamed of my age and I've never felt a reason to hide my age. I think there is too much emphasis on youth. How many times have we heard that 40 is the new 30 ? Okay, we're taking better care of ourselves, but why is it all about age ? Why can't we celebrate whatever age we are ? Why do we have to strive to be younger and younger ? There was a time when a woman grew older, she was considered a highly valued and respected member of the community. These days, we have to hide our age because if we don't we'll be put out to pasture. How many people lost their jobs to someone younger just because they looked better ? Probably more than we'd like to admit.

Personally, I accept that I'm growing older. the difference is that I too hope to grow old gracefully so that I'll be young at heart if not in body. I want to be like those classic cars from the 1950s. If I take care of myself, I hope to be operating long past my so called expiration date.





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ASINGH527
The only time that my age starts to really bother me is during my birthday month. It started last year when I turned 35. And I'm sure that I'll feel the same this year. I don't have anything outside of gray hairs to show for it right now (and boy do I feel blessed and grateful for Olay ;). I want to embrace my age, but it's not always easy. Report
I am turning 40 soon & have been thinking about how I want to continue aging gracefully. For me it is more about spending my time doing the things that make me happy. Instead of wasting time trying to please others, or even just doing nothing, I realize now that I should be living my life to make me smile everyday!
Don't waste time dwelling on things that won't matter in the end. Report
I had this idea that when I lost my weight I'd look 21 again. I'm now 62 and I just don't look like that, but I have had a couple of cosmetic procedures to help me kid myself that I still look young. You are still young!! Write again in 20 years. Report
JUSTMI1
I will be 48 here in a few months and while I agree with you that taking care of your body is great....I see nothing wrong with cosmetic surgery. I, myself have had a couple of procedures and truly enjoy the results. I kind of found it offensive that you feel sorry for people who have cosmetic surgery. Don't feel sorry for me.....remember, your still pretty young (your children are just now in school) you might feel different when you're older. Everyone ages different and a lot of it has to do with genetics not always in how much you exercise. I felt beautiful before my surgery and I feel beautiful now after my surgery. I just like the way I look more now. Report
I hated turning 60 almost 3 years ago but realistically I am in pretty good shape for the shape I am in and I finally have my first grandchild, a 3 month old grandson who just added to my reasons for wanting to stay strong and eat well! Thank you Coach Jen and SparkPeople! Report
I find it sad that this article is written by someone whose oldest is just now starting kindergarten. My oldest GRANDCHILD is 16!! My aging worries are now about being completed debilitated, a fear I'm obsessing about. People under 60 should be grateful for stepping out of a car easily, sitting and rising from chairs easily, and moving without constant pain. Let's get real, folks!

At 68, I'm still in a very active competitive chorus and otherwise physically active, thanks in part to SP. Sagging skin is a given, as is sagging other parts [horrors!]. My mother is 90, my grandmother died at 97, so I still have a ways to go. But that ugly word death, and worse--serious illness--is a real thing of worry.

Enjoy your life at whatever age you are. You'll never be this age again. I'm not trying to make light of worries about age when you're 30, but looking on 30 from my vantage point..... a 30 year old hasn't even begun life yet! Wait till the challenges of having teenagers, and the first time someone calls you Grandma. Report
I'm terrified to turn 40 this year, especially since im not married and have no kids, feel like life has dissappeared, though i look 6 years younger. I think the best cure is to start eating healthy now before its too late and another 10 years have gone, as for the husband and kids, I'll just have to be a bit more patient ... Report
The only sign of my age is the couple of gray hairs that stick out like a sore thumb. When I was having my son in 2010, apparently people at work commented about how sad it was for me to become a teen mom. I look about 10 years younger than my actual age, my body doesn't show a single sign of having carried a pregnancy..and I can dye my hair. Report
So many similar feelings- like reading my own comments many times over ! I don't want to be told that 50 is the new 40 : I'm almost 52 , get over it ! How can I change that ? I can't , don't want to in truth. It's a problem when how you feel is totally out of line with how you look ! Of course a big part of that is that when you are fat and unfit you look older than you are. Hence my embracing of SparkPeople! I wouldn't want to be 25 again for anything though. Report
I'm much closer to my 20th anniversary (2013) than my 10th, and I have a daughter who will be attending college starting next year. It doesn't seem like it was so long ago that she was starting kindergarten... I don't think of myself as old, so imagine my surprise when a family member suggested almost a year ago that I was too old to be riding my bike to work. (I've been riding most days for the last 8 months - 20 miles, roundtrip). I have a few aches and pains I didn't use to have, but I'm working on them. What bothers me the most is a sense that my office is trying to unload older folks like me -- so many have left in the last couple of years, and have been replaced by kids just out of school. It definitely changes the office environment. But, with two kids to put through college, and the economic times we're in, I'm no where near ready to retire. Report
It's interesting that most of the comments seem to be from those of us who are "older," although at 52 I don't feel that old...

Like others here, I don't think too much about aging, only the parts that are irritating (things that seem to go along with being premenopausal).

My hair is very gray (again-my choice to accept that part of the aging process). I think it throws people off that while I look older, I still do many things to stay fit and active.

Pre-baby body? What's that?

The thing I probably most regret about aging is that I didn't appreciate how great my body was when I was younger. Not only was I in pretty good shape (I've never been thin), but I was free of aches and pains. Report
I can't find the "Like" button I'm supposed to click, but I liked this article. I felt pretty much the same way most of my life, although I do miss having that beautiful skin we so take for granted as children and young adults. It's a constant battle to keep my skin moisturized now, and that's the only thing I truly miss, is that glowing, youthful skin. Still, I don't believe in cosmetic surgery, except for burn victims or true deformities. I think we as women can spend our time and energy on much more worthwhile pursuits than trying to live up to the media's idea of beauty. Report
SUNSET09
I accept the things I cannot change however, through exercise and eating right, my health is good and I don't look my age, nor feel it and proud of that! My birthdays are my New Year! Report
I've been accepting of aging. In other cultures, age is honored. I do, like Jen, want to make the most of my years whatever my age. I have taken a line from George Herbert's poetry as my own when I turned 50 (52 now)..."And now in age, I bud again." At the age of 50, a new life begins and the way it goes depends upon many things, one of which is me and my choices. Report
Some parts of aging are no big deal, while other parts are irritating, frustrating and challenging. It still sometimes seems like just yesterday and yet it's been lots longer. I'm not into plastic surgeries or anything like that. I'm in pretty good shape (now), but I know my days are numbered and I just want to be the best I can be until my days are done. Report
MAGGIE101857
I've always been one to say "bring it on!" I love reaching each birthday, and thank God that I have been given yet another one! I celebrate that I am stronger, healthy and the mother of three wonderful adult children. I celebrate my survival of the good and the bad that life has thrown at me! That said - I am not perfect ...now that I am about to hit 55 this October, the changes in my body are coming too fast and I have to admit, I find myself saying "maybe I should look into some cosmetic surgery, even though I said I never would!!!"

For now, I'm focusing on fitness. I'll probably never, ever do the surgery. My face will probably always show "my life" on it! I'm okay with that - I've earned every one of those "laugh lines"!!!! Report
I love having birthdays but don't always tell how many candles should be on the cake. I think it makes some people want to put me into some category, and I resist classification. :-)

I would like to see my pre-baby body, too, but I don't beat myself up over it. I don't like having a few more aches and pains as I have gotten better over the years. I am better about the sunscreen but have a naturally oily complexion. I don't even colour my hair although my sister who's five years younger does. It's a choice we make each morning about how we'll approach the day. I can embrace who I am or yell at her and make her feel like a slug. My choice. Today, I'm putting her in a cute outfit as I head off to work with my sixth grade students. Thanks for a terrific blog, Jen. Make it a great day. Report