Be Your Own Biggest Fan

Dear WWED,

I don’t know how I feel about your grow old be happy philosophy. I’ve been fighting aging ever since I turned 50 (12 years ago). I don’t want to be old. I want to stay as young as possible for as long as I can. What’s wrong with that?

Not Growing Old and Not a Fan of It

Dearest Not Growing Old,

Of course you are. Growing old, that is. It’s like saying you’re not a fan of planets that revolve around the sun. But here we are, revolving around the sun. And here you are, getting older every day.

Perhaps what you don’t like about growing old is society’s take on what it means to be old. What if we lived in a society that honored older people? Where everyone strove to be like the wise elders around them? What if older people set the fashion trends and the standard of beauty? Would you feel the same about growing old then?

The problem is not so much with aging, it’s how we in our culture perceive it. You can try to fight aging all you want, but ultimately it’s a losing battle. And fighting a losing battle is not going to make you happy.

Growing old is a natural part of life. It’s like the sun rising and setting. And you can do your part to make aging something people not only accept but look forward to. There are societies, dear Growing Old, that honor older people, where young people mimic elders’ ways and even their dress. Here are some things you can do to begin to change how you feel about your aging self (and help others see aging in a different light, too).

* Start expecting younger people to respect you.

* Stop envying youth (inexperience is overrated).

* Start thinking of yourself as an advanced human being instead of an over-the-hill one. You’re at the pinnacle of human development.

* See your aging face as maturity at its most beautiful.

* Bring your eccentric self (clothes, hair, even hobbies) to the fore. (At this point, you’ve earned the right to be exactly who you want to be.)

* And stop buying into the idea that younger is better. It’s probably costing you money, and it’s certainly denying you the happiness that comes from living a complete life, with all the revelations and rewards you gain as an elder.

So be a fan of your own aging. You may even become an inspiration to others. Just like the perfect morning sunrise.