Ways to embrace ageing as a natural part of life

Getting older can be challenging, but as they say, it’s better than the alternative. Here are some tips on how to age gracefully.

Feeling a little wrinklier, a touch greyer or a wee bit slower than you used to?

As much as we’d probably all like to stay young forever, sadly no one’s (yet) come up with the formula for eternal youth.

Studies show 21st-century Western society has an obsession with youthfulness and popular culture presents sexual allure as women’s passport to success.

But given ageing is a fact of life, it makes sense that we learn to embrace, rather than fight, the idea of time marching on.

Why are we so resistant to ageing?

Life and mindset coach Maryan Bova says the media, including advertisers, often promote the idea of youth over all else.

This constant bombardment of images can feed into our own personal insecurities.

We are also susceptible to the emotional aspects of ageing, such as feeling we haven’t measured up to societal expectations in a particular chapter of our life, she says.

Ways to celebrate your age

Maryan recommends going back through your timeline and celebrating your achievements so far.

“Rather than looking at loss, what have you actually created in that time?” Maryan says.

“It’s really about acquiring the wisdom and appreciation for everything that you have become.”

Getting older is undeniably a privilege and comes with its own pluses, such as knowing your place in the world and becoming wiser, says Amanda Gordon, of Armchair Psychology.

There’s also the chance to contribute in different ways – perhaps as a grandparent, rather than a parent, for example.

Keep your body and mind active as grow older

Amanda recommends putting in deliberate effort to stay physically and mentally strong as you age.

“Being active is the key to ageing and ageing well and ageing gracefully – both in your brain and your mind and also your body,” she says.

This means moving regularly – and if you need to adjust the type of exercise as you age, go for it.

“I walk, I dance and I practise Pilates to maintain strength,” Amanda says, noting she has opted for a lower-impact style of dancing as the years have passed.

Take inspiration from older women

There are plenty of high-profile women to admire when it comes to ageing – or as actor Helen Mirren prefers to call it, “growing up”.

In 2020, the Oscar winner told Oprah.com she takes great issue with the term anti-ageing.

“You can’t avoid ageing,” Helen said.

“The way I see it, you have two choices in life: You can either get older or die.

“And I want to continue to see what life has in store.”

Maryan says there are plenty of not-so-famous older people to admire too.

“If you just go down to your local pool, you will see people in their 80s and 90s in winter in their swimming costumes, that are out there still enjoying life, interacting with people.

“They have still got so much wisdom and so much to offer and also a lightness about life.”

You’re as old as you tell yourself you are

Your mindset has a huge effect on how you feel – and you can be sure that has a ripple effect, Maryan says.

“How you talk to yourself, how you show up to other people in terms of how you speak about ageing is pretty much what you’re going to create,” she says.

And if you’re getting a few cheeky age-related comments from your offspring?

“Don’t take it to heart too much when your kids say that you’re old – because one day they’ll be there too.”

Written by Larissa Ham.