Many people are afraid of the inevitable changes that come with getting older. Whether it is the physical decline, the wrinkled face or the loss of relevance, the golden years are often perceived as a nightmare waiting to happen. For some, the fear of aging even starts already in their early twenties.
It is taboo for our appearance to look according to the number of years we have been living, so we are spending billions of dollars on creams, potions, supplements and surgery – to somehow defy nature. It wasn’t always so; a few generations ago, older people were revered for their life experiences. Wrinkles and grey were perceived as signs of wisdom and authority. The media has certainly done their part to make youth and vigor the only attractive and acceptable state to be in, which only increases the fear of being judged and rejected and ultimately no longer fitting in to a youth obsessed society.
Yet, since we can’t avoid the aging process, what if we could embrace our maturity with joy and confidence? My special guest on this week’s episode of Empowerment Radio is clinical psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly, whose book “Aging Joyfully” provides important insights and practical tools on how to approach the later years with greater ease and grace.
Here is a message from Dr. Manly:
“The mature decades are unlike any other time in your life. Indeed, it is likely that you have no young children to tend to each day. Your career demands may have lessened. Your personal relationships may be more fine-tuned. You may have accomplished so many of the “musts” in life that you now can do as you choose. In many ways, you may have paid your dues by fulfilling endless obligations and now have time and space in your life to create and expand beyond your small or secret dreams. Your duty now is to yourself. Perhaps for the first time in your life, you can focus on that which brings you joy. This is your time to set your own standards, your own pace, and your own goals. Your later years bring you the gift of choice. This era of your life offers the opportunity to choose whatever allows you to age powerfully and joyfully—in ways that are uniquely and perfectly right for you.
“I am mindful that these later decades of life are poignant ones. With all their promise of freedom and breathtaking transitions, a sense of loss can arise as we move from one phase of life to another. It would be disingenuous to pretend that this isn’t so. The reality of life is that we are moving toward letting go from the moment we are born. The longer we journey through life, the more we find ourselves faced with fewer new beginnings and more natural endings. This is precious, hard truth; this is life. Yet life also tells us that new beginnings are always possible and that these later decades may allow us to cherish them more deeply.
“Chronological time insists that you are getting older. And, indeed, your body may surely show signs of having served you well. Yet there is a precious treasure that is beyond the bodily changes and chronological time. This treasure is the indomitable spirit of the wild, graceful girl of your dreams. This childlike, fearless spirit knows no sense of time. This irrepressible spirit may have been cast aside or diminished during the earlier decades of your life, but she has been waiting for you all along. As you honor your eternally radiant spirit and meld it with the wisdom of your years, you will find the gifts and the true beauty of aging joyfully. You will discover that this time of your life is not a time to be feared, but another wondrous segment of self-art in progress.”
Join Dr. Manly and I to learn more about her holistic, mind-body-spirit approach on overcoming the fear of aging.