Four Thoughts on Anxiety About Ageing
1. Why are some older people described as 'still beautiful', as though age mostly erases beauty? Banish the words from your vocabulary, along with other self-deprecating remarks about ageing bodies, and admiring comments about people who don't look their age. Train your eyes to recognise and your language to include 'old and beautiful'.
2. We read so often about frail old people yet resilient, engaged, vital and outraged ones surround us. If they're not in your family seek them out as your friends, especially if you're young: it will help dispel the stereotypes, show you the fabulous gains that ageing can bring and make the process a lot less scary.
3. Ageing is an integral part of life and the human condition - to be anti-age is to be anti-life. Ageing teaches us, if we're willing to learn, that life is precious because finite. Growing older is good, American poet May Sarton insisted, "Because I am more myself than I have ever been." It's also a privilege. Emblazon - in your hearts and on your T-shirts - the words of Woody Allen, who said that he had nothing against growing older "since no-one had found a better way of not dying young".
4. We're ageing from the moment we're born - it's not the preserve of older people - and every age, including youth, brings gains but also losses that need to be mourned. In reams of studies older people report themselves happier because their priorities have changed and they're more able to savour life. Never forget how ghastly 13 could be.