Getting Better All the Time
By Caitlin Brown
Our cultural mores have shaped societal ideas about the aging process: a negatively skewed one that suggests a deterioration, rather than a realization. But what if we turned all that on its head, and embrace growth and wrinkles as happy reminders?
As Betty Freidan wisely wrote in “The Fountain of Age”, “Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
Yes, there may be some Botox in the process, ample money spent on beauty creams promising to turn back the clock ten years, or supplements that claim to do the same in the aisles of Whole Foods — guilty as charged. We can try to stave it off, but age happens and the best way to do it is to have a good attitude about it and wear it well. Besides, it’s inevitable.
As I write this, I feel a bit of a traitor having just slathered my face with countless products, Retin A included. As a 43-year old woman, I am fighting the age thing, but as a health coach and as a student in yoga teacher training. Traveling down other more Eastern-bent avenues, I’m learning that being my best self is being present where I am and wearing it proudly — to me, having balance and presence is grace.
All the products in the world, the best team of cosmetic specialists, and whatever helpers there might be in your quest to find the Fountain of Youth may stave off some wrinkles, but they will come and the best way to wear the age handle you have is to have a positive outlook. Aging gracefully seems to me to be a matter of mind over makeup and fillers. If you feel good about yourself, you will wear whatever your age is well. Confidence and positivity give the best face.
To put our best face forward, studies have shown that these things are key:
SLEEP: Allows our bodies to rest and restore energy. It supports the critical function of our bodies and mind. Get enough of it. Beauty sleep!
PROPER NUTRITION: Food provides the nutrients we need to function but choose your selections wisely. Familiarize yourself with My Plate, the USDA replacement of the outdated Food Pyramid (https://www.choosemyplate.gov). Limit sugar (cut it out). Stay hydrated (water). Eat your vegetables, fruits, healthy grains, and proteins, and limit your dairy.
EXERCISE: The more exercise people get, the less their cells appear to age. Physical activity keeps the blood vessels delivering plenty of oxygen to the brain, it gets the endorphins going, making us feel good. It doesn’t stop the clock, but it slows the ticking.
MEDITATION: This practice helps to cultivate mindfulness, focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. New studies suggest that mindfulness can slow the aging process at the cellular level showing that emotional well-being directly effects our physical health.
ACTIVITIES: Incorporate things that are important to you, whether it’s travel, spiritual pursuits, athletic activities, creative endeavors, getting out in nature, or just trying something new. If it makes you happy, do it, and if there is something you’ve always wanted to try, try it!
COMMUNITY: Our interactions with friends, family, relationships, groups keep us happy and are important for our physical and mental health. Stay connected!
GO EASY ON THE MAKEUP: As skin matures, makeup is not always your friend.
SKINCARE: Wear sunscreen every day.
As we age, we suffer loss; we experience illness, our own or others; we deal with life, both good and bad, and with that comes wisdom and resilience. To wear the face that has lived through it all proudly…that is grace.