aging gracefully : think young to stay young

This Friday, I will have chalked up forty years on earth. While this is a lovely milestone to reach, I feel age is but just a number. I do not let it define who I am or where I “should” be in life.

I feel great. I am very content in my life, and ever grateful for all that I have. I have reached a stage where I can appreciate my past, and am excited about my future, while truly enjoying living in the moment.

What aging means to you

In our society, there is a certain stigma attached to aging: greying hair, painful joints, fading memory, and a general deterioration in body and mind. If you have bought into this, then your body has no choice but to play along. To validate your beliefs.

In other cultures, the elderly are genuinely admired. Growing older brings wisdom and respect. Aging is beautiful, and something the younger generations look forward to. This frees them from the desire to hold on to their youth.

aging gracefully nowHow well you age

Yes, I could pass for a whole decade younger. A source of embarrassment earlier on, I have now gracefully embraced this gift.

While some may say I am blessed with good genes. And perhaps I am blessed with good genes, for that I am thankful. I also believe the other reason for my youthful looks is the other half of the mind-body equation. It has much to do with a healthful state of mind.

After watching my mother battle cancer, and recognising I have inherited a great deal of traits from her, I vowed to do all I can to avoid a similar fate. I made a choice to age differently.

Since then, I have radically transformed my life. And without knowing, this has consequently transformed my genetic blueprint.

Reversing the aging process

It is reported that the use of cosmetic surgery to preserve our youth is on the rise. This is not surprising given how our youth-obsessed society idolise the young.

Many do what they can to stay looking fresh. While this desire touches on issues of self worth, I will not discuss this here.

Instead I will focus on the idea of staying youthful, without the need to go under the surgeon’s knife?

Thinking differently

We know how intricately your mind and body are connected, and it is just as true when it comes to aging.

How you think impacts on how you feel. And your body responds accordingly.

So can you reverse the aging process by how you think?

Indeed you can!

The study

Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer set up a study in which she asked participants to act like they were twenty years younger. She went as far as to fit out a remote hotel as it would have looked two decades earlier.

Surprisingly for many, these men showed dramatic changes after one week. They had more joint flexibility, less arthritic symptoms, improved mental acuity and even looked younger.

Aging gracefully

So it seems if you think young, you stay young.

Is it that easy?

Perhaps. Or perhaps not.

Perhaps it is also time we start to like how we evolve over time.

Like rings of a tree, wrinkles are merely signs of how much life we have lived. And how we have lived is so much more important than how we look. Isn’t it?

Today, I feel more content than I have ever felt. And I feel the best is yet to come. Indeed I am older and wiser. And what’s not to love.