Want to know the secret to never aging?
Hahahahaha! Just kidding. I don’t have any anti-aging secrets here.
I don’t know of any yoga poses that you can do that will “”reverse the aging process” or foods you can eat that will “make your heart 10 years younger”. I’m not interested in creams that will “reduce fine lines on my skin”. And I don’t actually believe there is any self-care practice in the world that will slow the process of aging.
I believe that “anti-aging” is a myth. And a damaging one, too.
In fact, I think the whole idea of anti-aging is patriarchal propaganda designed to make women feel like there is always something wrong with us.
Afterall, if there’s always something we need to fix, how could be possibly focus on the incredible power of who we are?
Plus, there’s all of that money we’re constantly pouring into various health and wellness companies who promise to make us better versions of ourselves.
Better is code for younger, skinnier, and prettier.
I’m tired of trying to aim for someone else’s version of better. What I’m realizing more and more is that I don’t want to be “better.” I want to live in ways that are sustainable long term.
Anti-aging is a little ridiculous, anyway.
The truth is, aging is a part of life. It’s my birthright.
Not everyone gets the opportunity to age, but if we’re going to do it, let’s honor aging instead of bashing it.
In a few days, I’ll celebrate another birthday.
I’m not old, by any stretch of the word.
I also definitely feel really different now, at nearly 38 than I did at 18.
When I was 10, I couldn’t really imagine what it might feel like to be 20. When I was 18, I had no concept about what 38 would feel like.
And at 38, I have no idea what 58 will feel like. Or 68. Or 78.
All I know is that I want to feel good and to feel like me.
What matters more and more as I get older is taking on practices that are sustainable.
Here are a few of the things I am committed to in the next year and the next 20 or 40 or 50, too!
7 Ways to Celebrate Aging with Grace and Intention
Right now this looks like yoga for me. And sometimes a more dynamic HIIT practice. But I want it to include more dancing and freeform movement. I want to do even more hiking and walking, especially walking to run errands when I can. I’m less interested in “fancy poses” on my yoga mat or pushing my body to its limit. I’m more interested in moving in a variety of ways that both challenge and teach my body new things.
Daily Quiet Time:
I could have written meditation, but I think quiet time is more accurate. Yes, I love meditation. I love sitting with my eyes closed and getting in deeper conversation with myself. I also love sitting with my eyes open, watching the water from a bench or perched up in a tree. Oh…and I want to keep climbing trees.
Live with Less:
This has been ringing true more and more, in part because we’ve moved so much in the past few years. Even though we’re settled, at least for a little while, I think we still have WAY more stuff than we need. I want to contribute less to the landfills of the world. More reusables. More high-quality, longer-lasting things, if I’m going to buy. I will also continue to support companies that invest in protecting the earth instead of draining her resources.
Online less, Outside more:
The truth is that I love connecting online with people. The problem is, it becomes more of a trap and a massive time suck, instead of actual connection the entire time. And often being online gets in the way of me spending more time outside. That and having to drag along resistant, cranky children, but that’s another blog. I’d also like the things I do outside to be more diverse. Not just waiting outside for my daughter’s bus to arrive, but working in the garden, doing a little yoga, talking a walk through the woods, among other outdoor adventures.
This one should be a no-brainer, especially given that there is a history of skin cancer in my family. And also you’d think that living in very sunny parts of the south for the past 2 + years would convince me. Still, for some reason, I have a weird mental block when it comes to daily sunscreen. No more. I refuse to sacrifice my skin and potentially my health to the sun.
Listen to and Love on My Body:
This is an ongoing process for me. I spent a long time distrusting, disliking, and disrespecting my body. I spent almost as long ignoring the requests my body would make. This is one of the single most destructive things I have done to my health. The only way I can age with grace and skill is to treat myself with more dignity and respect. If I ignore my needs and hate on my body, neither dignity nor respect is present.
I am slowly learning this lesson and I think it’s an important one. As a longtime, type-A, constantly doing something sort of a person, resting doesn’t come naturally. However, the idea that you can rest when you’re dead is both morbid and not particularly helpful. In fact, sleeping and resting less is attributed to a shorter lifespan in some studies. I’d personally rather live longer than try to cram it all into a shorter period of time.
These are practices I know I can not only commit to long term, but will also enhance my quality of life.
What practices can you commit to that will be sustainable long term, helping you age with grace and intention?