Ten Tips To Conquer Your Fear Of Aging

Why age gracefully when you can age like a boss? The unexpected joys Of aging and coming out on top.
conquer fear of aging

Growing old is a privilege denied to many. I keep reminding myself of that when I get depressed about the culture we live in.

Youth and beauty are everywhere you look, and older men are considered sexy but not so much us older gals. The age gap between male movie stars and their female love interest is alarming and continues to widen.

Aging in today’s society is an act of bravery. Instead of feeling guilty about our age or trying to hide it, why not celebrate it?

We don’t need permission from others to feel good about ourselves.

1. Don't get affected by what others think of you.

All too often we are guilty of letting people rent space in our heads for free. The hours of the day we could put to constructive use are wasted agonizing about what we did and what are they thinking about ME. Actually, people are too busy thinking about themselves to give much thought to what other people do. Each of us is the star of our own lives.

I used to think I couldn't care less what other people thought of me. I marched to my own beat, lived my life the way I saw fit, and damn the torpedos! One day, though, I realized that I'd been lying to myself. I cared desperately what other people thought of me. To turn it all around, I had to let go of my ego and focus on myself and my goals.

Your mind is like a riotous puppy. You must learn to be its master and direct your thoughts to where they serve you. “But I can’t help it,” you say, “this is the way I feel!” Feelings aren’t facts, and you shouldn't be held hostage by them. You can’t think yourself out of a feeling, but that’s where taking action comes in.

2. Menopause does not mean the end of your sex life.

Menopause is a major transition in a woman’s life that gets little attention in our male-dominated society. I couldn’t wait to get rid of my period, but when I did, I found out how much I missed all those hormones that were keeping my lady bits dewey and my hair from falling out. Be careful what you wish for!

“Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” - Betty Friedan

Although the symptoms vary with each individual, the cessation of your menstrual cycle does not mean the party is over. Attitude (and lube) is everything. Maybe things are not as sensitive as they used to be and your sex drive is in a lower gear, but make the effort. Sex is much more than physical gratification; it's one of the bonds that keep your marriage strong.

3. Dating Apps are for you, too!

The explosion of online dating apps is not just for the younger crowd. According to eHarmony, the fifty-plus set is the fastest-growing group of subscribers to online dating services.

Sites like Match.com and eHarmony have special sections for differing age groups, while SilverSeniors, Ashley Madison, and OurTime are just a few of the websites that cater exclusively to older singles.

"Beauty is not in the face, it is a light in the heart." - Kahlil Gibran

You are never too old to date or learn how to use the internet. I was anti-dating apps because I wanted to meet someone “the old-fashioned way.” I gave up my pessimistic view because my best friend was having three dates a week while I was sitting at home alone.

And I'm sure glad I did since that's how I met my husband. It took about a year of frustration and many time outs, but I did not give up. Perseverance is the key.

4. Meetup groups on the Internet

As we age, meeting friends can be as challenging as dating. Take advantage of the apps section on your phone to join a group that shares your interests. Meetup.com is free to join and can introduce you to all the clubs and gatherings in your area, and invites you to start new ones as well. From meeting dog owners or people in your neighborhood, there is an app for you.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” - George Bernard Shaw

I know this is hard, and it is easier to knock it than give it a try. I find getting a friend on board easier so you can explore these groups together. After you start getting out of the house and bonding with like-minded souls, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner. Remember, all that you desire is on the other side of your comfort zone.

5. It’s never too late to start working out

I have enjoyed the pleasure of working out all of my life, and I have no intention of stopping now. It's a habit, and that's the best place to be. I miss it if I can’t get to it because I always feel so much better afterward. Walking is my exercise of choice these days and you don’t need a gym membership or a treadmill to get started.

Of course, checking in with your doctor is always recommended. Going gung- ho into weightlifting or aerobic activity is bound to cause burnout and injury. Be gentle with yourself, find something you love, and make it a part of your life.

6. Revive a hobby or find a new one

With children to raise and heavy work schedules, a lot of things that gave us joy had to take a back seat in our lives. Now with my free time, I've gotten back into performing and writing, which adds a lot of joy to my days. My friend has turned her fondness for knitting into a budding business.

“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” - Frank Lloyd Wright

Listening to music, cooking for pleasure, or restoring old furniture are some examples of activities that always got put on the backburner with the busyness of our daily lives. Watching television all day is a bore- get busy creating something you love!

7. Give Back to the community

There are so many people and causes that need attention and love. Going to the local animal shelter and walking their dogs or fostering kittens will bring you enormous amounts of joy and provide a much-needed service. My friend is a docent at her favorite museum. Visiting senior centers is an immense act of kindness that gives you as much joy as it does them.

Mentoring is something I'm passionate about promoting since it's so underused in today’s society. Many online organizations need mentors from all walks of life. For just a few hours a month, you can give back all the knowledge you have accumulated from working in your industry and make a difference in a young life.

8. Release your negative thinking about aging.

It’s easy to fall into depression at this time of life, but I refuse to define myself by my age. I still have so much to give, and now is the time to do it. By keeping fit mentally and physically, I’m able to travel and continue to study subjects that are fascinating to me.

These years are a gift. How you live them is up to you.

9. Make yourself a blessing to someone.  

So many people find it hard to reach out and ask for help. When I had surgery on my foot, my friends said to let them know if I needed anything. Instead of just trying to scrape by on my own, I made a schedule for one friend each day to bring me dinner. It wasn't an easy task since I'm more of a giver than a receiver, but my friends didn’t know how to help until I asked.

"To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." 

Mahatma Gandhi

10. Being of service.

Giving is the ultimate joy.  In our materialistic society, people think receiving is the answer to their problems but find when they get what they want, the joy is short-lived. True happiness comes from within. When we give away joy, it comes back to us tenfold.  

 “As we lose ourselves in the service of others we discover our own lives and our happiness.” - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

As we find ourselves with more time on our hands and less to do, turning to service is a benefit not just to others, but to ourselves. Start small, make that first move, ask a friend to come with you, and you'll see a community spring up around you that's an endless source of joy.

Sheila is an LA-based writer and actress working in the Television industry.

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