Brasilmagic\’s Weblog

Venting to the World

Age is not just a number

There are people who get older and complain all the time about how horrible it is to get older. These are the types who always see the glass half empty. Then there are those who are completely in denial of the effects aging have in their body, and like to repeat the mantra that “age is just a number”. They always avoid any reference to their real age and try to dress and behave like someone much younger. These are the types who see the glass always half full.

I think a better balance is to be a realist. You know there are changes happening to your body (and later unfortunately, to your mind) and you need to deal with them. However, you can have an active life and enjoy it as long as you live. There is no age where enjoying life and doing things you like is too old. Don’t let people tell you you are too old for this or for that. Do you want to go to medical school at the age of 60? Do it if you wish. Do you want to get married again at 80? Why not? Do you want to jump off a plane at 75 (like Bush Senior did)? Who can stop you? Do you want to wear boots at the age of 70? The hell with the naysayers. Do what you want and what pleases you.

As for the effects of aging, they are undeniable. If you are in the denial group, you can pretend they don’t affect you, but they will. Some women start feeling the effects of perimenopause in their late 30’s. Most people start losing their reading vision after 40. Very few don’t. That is a major impairment in the quality of one’s life, when you need reading glasses for everything, from reading instructions in a box of food to reading the panel of your car. As far as I know, there isn’t a laser eye surgery for farsightedness yet. When you get older, your bones and muscles give you more trouble. You feel more pains in your body, whether it’s on your feet, legs, back or neck. Even people who are athletic feel the strain in their muscles and bones. Your sleeping patterns change too. You are more plagued with insomnia and you start going to bed earlier, and waking up earlier too. As you age, your hearing might also not be the same anymore, and you need to raise the volume of your TV (especially for the “disco” generation like mine who used to dance in very noisy nightclubs and listen to music in “walkmens”..).

When it comes to your appearance, there are many things you can do to look younger. If you exercise daily, eat a healthy diet and moisturize your skin, you can slow down the aging process. If you do exterior maintenance like coloring your hair (grey hair ages a lot, especially in women), dressing young and wearing the right make up, you can also have a much more youthful look. However, no matter what you do, you can look GOOD for your age, but you will never look young again.

One of my friends works in a designer store where she talks to rich old women in a constant basis. Some of these women have plastic surgery from their forehead to their toe, and actually look nice. But my friend said that no matter how much surgery they had, she can tell exactly how old they are by looking at little things like their upper arm, neck and hands. Dead giveaway. That makes you think that you can’t hide your age forever, and that becoming obsessive about plastic surgery will only put your health and bank account at risk.

I understand that for middle aged folks looking good is important for their careers. In a recession and with a depressed job market, that is even more essential. In Brazil, more women hide their age than in America. Not only they hide their age more, they also lie a lot about it. The pressure to look young is worse in Brazil, where it is more acceptable for a man to date a much younger woman.

Aging is not fun and it is not easy, but somehow we have to accept that as a reality of life that affects everyone, and that the generations come and go. Try to be as healthy as possible and keep your health in check by going to the doctor and taking all the recommended tests. Do what makes you feel good. Don’t be in denial and obsessed with looking young but don’t see yourself as a has-been either.


January 5, 2011 - Posted by | Difference between cultures, Lifestyle

1 Comment »

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