Monday Question – How Do You Deal With Aging?

As different as we are in many respects of our lives, what we all share is the fact that we are getting older every day.

Do you feel the passage of time acutely at the moment?

Is ageing an issue for you?

How do you deal with getting older?

question-mark

My Answer:

Aging is very much on my mind lately. I have a birthday looming in a few days, that has affected me like no other so far has. It feels momentuous (or ominous on worse days).

My older son has his first communion this week (a big deal if you are in a Catholic school) and this also drives home how fast time has passed since my children were born.

The past decade is a blur. When I was twenty, or thirty even, time seemed to be on a different pace, it has sped up in a way that is a bit alarming.

In many ways I feel no different than twenty or thirty years ago, although in many others I have learned a lot and changed with the circumstances of my life.

I’d like to talk with you about practical aspects of getting older (Hey there, wrinkles!) as well as the more intangible ones (Wisdom! Wisdom?).

How do you feel about getting older? What has changed for you? Are you happy with your age? What was the age you were the happiest at in hindsight?

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82 Responses to Monday Question – How Do You Deal With Aging?

  1. Undina says:

    Happy upcoming birthday! (though I hope to say it on the actual date)

    Aging sucks – no matter how we make peace with it. But since there’s nothing we can do about it, I’m trying not to fixate on it and stay as healthy and happy as I can.

    So far I didn’t have any age in the past when I felt happier than I am now and I hope to hold on to it for as long as I can.

  2. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Oh my, I get a reminder of this question every day : from the mirror in my bathroom… However, in the meantime I find the health aspects of aging more annoying than the sagging, wrinkles and dark spots. I’m suddenly confronted with high blood pressure, or back pain – plus recovery from illness, injuries (or long nights…) take much longer than before.
    I was thinking about this issue a lot recently (my apropos – as yours – a major “mile stone” birthday…) and realized that in fact I haven’t changed much during the last quarter of a century : you could have found the same clothes in my wardrobe during my uni-years as I wear now (they were much cheaper though), and basically my taste in books and music, or my liberal views remained the same too. More or less the same – just stronger.

  3. marjo56 says:

    What an interesting question! I too have a birthday looming (I’m turning 59), and for the first time in my life I’m getting a bit anxious about age. Life is going by so fast. Blink twice, and 20 years have gone by😅. My two sons (28 and 27) have left home and the older one is getting married soon. My daughter (22) still lives at home, but she is going to finish her studies this year, so…..
    I can remember their first communions so well. As if it were yesterday. It’s such a wonderful day for them. You really have to treasure these days. I don’t mind the wrinkles so much (I’m not happy about them, mind, but I can accept aging physically). It’s just that life goes by so fast and it seems to go faster every year and I really miss the life with small childeren (not the hard parts ofcourse 😄). But than again, being a bit older also has its advantages. There is more freedom and I’m a bit less anxious in general. But wisdom? I don’t know. I feel older, but not much wiser😅

    • Olfactoria says:

      Yes, it’s the feeling of time rushing by that is a bit disconcerting. A summer used to last forever, now it goes by in a blink. I never understood (and even felt a bit offended) by the saying “youth is wasted on the young”, now I start to get it. 🙂
      Happy Birthday to you, Marjo.

      • marjo56 says:

        Thank you Birgit, I wish you a very happy birthday too! And wish your son (and your family) a very nice first communion. Hope the weather will be good.

  4. Joan says:

    I’m 28 so I’m not sure I know enough yet to make much of a comment. But I’m starting to notice the models in ads for cool companies like Express are younger than me now. It sucks. Plus the lyrics to most top-40 songs don’t resonate with me anymore. And I’m wondering which clubs people my age go to and how much longer I can continue to go to the younger ones.

  5. Well that really is a personal question–putting faith and religion aside–we do not know from where we came and we do not know where we are going. That takes care of birth and death.

    So, in between–we make plans, we take on challenges…and within those frames, I take on one day at a time–sharing with and serving those who have shown their dedication. Why? I’ll take a pass–I have no corner on the markets of intelligence, knowledge or memory.

    A belated best to all on the passage yesterday of Mothers Day! 🙂

    • PS…and the best medicine I’ve found for getting old is being out amongst plants, gardens and landscapes. There I open my senses to receive. To receive from the plants, gardens and landscapes. Sometimes a flow begins and reaches to my internal core providing a refreshment that undoes my personal aging experience–and somehow I then feel imbued with a hope beyond the temporal body.

      And, by the way, that is why I follow this blog–many of you write about perfumes that have a similar effect, fragrances that imbue a hope beyond the temporal body. It is a recharging. Thanks to all.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Taking on one day at a time seems like a very wise decision. All we really have is the moment (so corny, I know, but it feels more true to me every day).
      Thanks for sharing, flaherty!

  6. Ines says:

    I’m not concerned with aging yet but ask again once my 40th birthday is around the corner. 😉
    I was very depressed when I was turning 30 and didn’t want to celebrate it. Now I feel happy with my age and so far I only see small signs of aging which don’t bother me yet.
    It helps also that people don’t believe my age when I tell them. 😀

  7. Georgy says:

    Actually knowing you over 10years I can reassure you, you haven’t aged a bit, however u do this!
    As for me, I’ve made peace with aging so far, as long as don’t look and act my age…….
    But seriously I cannot change it, so why try to fight it,

  8. Mahesh says:

    Ah you are a Taurus as well, mine is this week too 🙂
    Your question couldn’t have come at a better time in a sense as I struggle through various age related issues- heel pain, spondylosis, genetically bad teeth…and now it is spring/summer. My haygever has just kicked in. Oh dear lord!
    It feels hard sometimes But we have to carry on don’t we?

    Wish you a spendid birthday… X

  9. Vanessa says:

    I hate aging. As LJG says, it’s the health issues that bug me most, specifically the poor sleep and mood swings that come with the hormonal turmoil of middle age. For everything else, there’s Paula’s Choice. 😉

    I liked my early 30s best, though I had terrible hair and clothes!

  10. Sabine says:

    I turned 50 a few months ago, and had the best party ever. If it wasn’t for the fear of poor health and death, I’d say that I am a much happier person now then in my twenties or thirties. I had to accept a changed body, a sagging face and thinner hair, but overall I think I can live with that, and this is also balanced with having more money for helpful cosmetic products and nicer clothes.The alternative to ageing is dying young, and frankly……..I’d rather not.

  11. I don’t mind it actually! Which you definitely should do as well! Think that you’re only getting better with age and with every bday you only update yourself! 😁👌🏼😊
    So happy bday lovely lady!
    Lots of xx, Annie
    http://www.anniesbeautyblog.com

  12. poodle says:

    Somedays I think I’m okay with aging and other days I look in the mirror and want to cry. In my mind I don’t feel like I’m as old as I am most days. I try to stay active and healthy but my body reminds me of my age quite regularly. Middle age hormones are the root of all evil it seems. Trying to keep the wrinkles and dark spots at bay is a battle that gets more expensive as the years go by. I really try hard to not think about my age but lately I find I’m pretty depressed about it. Maybe it’s because I’ve been to too many funerals this year. Maybe it’s because I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much of anything. Maybe it’s because when I look in the mirror I’m not sure I like the changes I see on the face looking back at me. Whatever it is, I don’t think I’ve come to terms with it yet. I was much happier in my late 20’s and early 30’s.

  13. ladywinther says:

    Hello, fellow May Child 😉 I have a huge birthday coming up next year, an have already started dreading it…FOUR decades, where did time go? Am planning expensive handbag and new perfume(s) to mark the occasion 🙂
    So far the 30s have been my best decade, and I hope the next will be even better. Sometimes I look back and want to weep because I feel I haven’t achieved a lot, but then again I DO HAVE a wonderful husband and the best dog in the world- family who loves me even though I’m not a professor, and great friends, both IRL and on the net. My grandmother tolds me, when she was 90, that she felt no different than she did at 23! Think I’ll do my best to copy that!
    Happy birthday!!!!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Happy upcoming birthday, Lady Winther! 🙂
      I like your grandmothers statement, it seems in some ways we stay the same throughout our lives and that is reassuring.

  14. Farouche says:

    If I could give a bit of advice to someone your age, it would be to take up yoga if you haven’t already. You’re only as old as your spine, and yoga will help you maintain spinal health into your middle years and beyond. And no, I’m not a yoga teacher (I wish), just an older friend with back and neck issues! Happy Birthday to you, dear Birgit.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I take that advice gladly, I started Yoga last year and loved it. Unfortunately I had a long pause since I broke a rib and getting back into it has been hard. But I shall make it a point to start again in earnest.

  15. Alice says:

    Like Annie, I don’t mind it at all! When I was 45 I was dreading begin 50, and then I was diagnosed with cancer … and then I was cross! I definitely wanted my chance to be 50, 60 70….! it would be so unfair to be cheated out of those decades! That was over 10 years ago, so each year I celebrate being well and enjoying the years as they pass. I refuse to be depressed on birthdays (although i’d rather not be ill again, once was quite enough 🙂 )
    Alice

    • Alice says:

      just to add that I took up yoga at 46, and am now in better shape than at 40, so I agree with Farouche above. It’s been a huge help, even though my class attendance is patchy sometimes.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m so glad you have this behind you and hope you stay healthy. You are right, it is a privilege to age in good health.

  16. Katherine says:

    I’m 46 and for me the 40’s have been the happiest time of my life. I would never want to go back in time to my 20’s or 30’s. I put too much pressure on myself to be the perfect mom, wife and sales executive. It was all too much. Other than my few aches and pains, body changing shape and wrinkles, life is great. My son is almost grown and I have the luxury of going back to college, I feel good about life. Yes, life will always have dark moments, but I feel like I can handle them better now and put the situation in perspective. For myself, learning new things makes me feel young. I agree with the other comments above, Yoga is terrific. Have a great birthday, it’s better than the alternative.

  17. Suzanne says:

    I find that aging stinks in many regards, especially so for women because we go through menopause and get night sweats, which is what I’m dealing with now, and it does really affect sleep. And there is the whole attractiveness issue, which is a bigger issue for women than for men. But on the other side of the coin, I find that I appreciate life more: time really does go by in a snap, and I somehow view my time on Earth as more precious. And Birgit, if you are turning 40, please know that you don’t look it at all – you seem to get more beautiful every time I see a photo of you (thinking of your recent scarf posts). Also, I hope this turns out to be as true for you as it was for me: my 40s were my best decade. I felt freer, more confident, more relaxed than when I was in my 20s and 30s, and I think you will too.

  18. Lynne says:

    Every time I lament aging, DH (a pathologist) says, “It’s better than the alternative, and nobody gets tomorrow”. Life does seem to pass at an exponential speed as I get older. I don’t know why we are tricked to think death alludes us, or we’ll be this age forever, but it’s a universal feeling. I am way past 55, but life is good,and the limited time I have left seems more precious every day. It’s all good, and perfume “takes me to a good place”.

  19. ringthing says:

    I am caretaker of my elderly parents (90 & 88). Both have suffered major blows in the last 8 months, assisted living is beyond their means, my only sister lives far away and has many health issues of her own, so their care falls to me, and believe me I think of aging a LOT right now. For myself, once I turned 50, everything became so much easier. I’m wiser, I recognize my value and my place in the world and I have finally learned how to enjoy the good and let go of the bad and live in the moment and that gets clearer w/every year. Yes, I’m not thrilled about the changes to my appearance but that is so trivial in the bigger picture, for me – the arthritis that started in my 40s continues to worsen (and hypertension and other health issues that keep cropping up) but I’m watching death approach in real time. For my parents it’s a series of chapters ending, or doors closing, and the true essence of what’s important becomes more crystallized each day. Sorry to write so much, this is pretty philosophical before my second cup of coffee!

  20. Azar says:

    Happy upcoming birthday, Birgit! I am officially old and can say that longer strides usually help me to feel better. Long walks too. A blink and everyone one of us will be a memory, no matter how hard we try…so why worry over the wrinkles or the granny hair (in style – for the moment, anyway)?

  21. Annette says:

    One thing I believe in is that if you are happy and living the best life you can, getting older shouldn’t matter, it’s staying healthy that’s important. Easy to say, not so easy in practice, though! Physical changes can be a bit depressing, but if you look after yourself physically and enjoy your children, family or career, you can be enriched and happy. I think the radiance of an older women can be just as beautiful as youth. Add to that, nice hair, fab makeup, flattering clothes, the odd piece of flashy jewellery and of course, a splash of delicious, intoxicating perfume and bingo – an attractive, sophisticated mature woman with a good heart (which never get’s old, if you don’t want it to!). Happy up-coming Birthday, Birgitx

  22. Birgit, dear,
    What bothers me about aging is having minor ailments I didn’t use to have a few years ago and also that keeping in shape is much harder than it used to be. Though I have never been a heavy drinker, alcohol is a big no-no.
    That said, I am not too worried about looking my age or even older: I take good care of my skin (I always have), with the occasional visit to the derm; same goes for my teeth (well, you have that bit quite easy 😉 ); I have stopped coloring my hair, so some gray -let’s call it silver- is showing and choose my clothes more wisely. I have also tweaked a bit my exercise routine because I am now as focused on feeling good than looking good.
    You have a flawless classic style that will carry you gracefully through your forties, fifties and beyond.
    Kisses,

    Caro

  23. PS: I also think one should not focus on looking younger but on looking good,whatever that means to each.

  24. wooddogs3 says:

    I am 56, have lost several loved ones in the past few years and had a bad health scare and a major surgery myself, and am just grateful beyond words to be alive and relatively healthy. I spend time and thought on things that will help maintain my own health and my family’s health, and no longer feel that I have time to worry about wrinkles. I had my time of being considered a beauty, and I enjoyed it, and that is now for the younger ladies. I’m too busy being fit and happy.
    I don’t mean this glibly. I can remember being 41 and truly worried about my changing appearance. But over the next decade life changed my priorities a lot.
    Happy birthday to you, and do something for the special day that you will remember fondly in later decades.

  25. anitathepianist says:

    To start with- something funny. My grandmother told my mother, “When you turn 40, smear some Vaseline on the mirror and then just forget about it”. That’s especially amusing to our family because she was beautiful until her death at age 80. One of the hardest things about getting older is the loss of so
    many relatives and friends. I have so few relatives left that I feel almost orphaned. As far as trying to look my best, I take good care of my hair and skin. As long as possible I’ll have “better living through chemistry” and never have grey hair. With my coloring, grey hair is ghastly. My doctor says drink a good deal of water to keep older skin hydrated, and do moderate exercise. That exercise idea is a good one so as not to wear out one’s hips and knees. With moderation you can keep the originals and not have those painful replacement ordeals.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love the vaseline on the mirror suggestion! 🙂
      Thankfully we still have our parents, but their inevitable decline is somethng that weighs heavily on me…
      Thanks for your take on ageing, Anita.

  26. Nina Z says:

    This is a topic that’s on my mind every single day because I have a blog about it (Yoga for Healthy Aging at http://yogaforhealthyaging.blogspot.com). For me, yoga has been so helpful not because it helps keep me physically healthy (which it does) but because I’ve learned that cultivating equanimity—being content with what I have and with what I don’t have—as my body and my life change with age is what helps me continue to enjoy my life in the present rather than clinging to the past. There’s a lot of pressure in Western society to try to stay young (that helps sell a lot of products, no?) but we can resist that by focusing on—as the previous commenter said—gratitude. I’m in my early 60s now, and I feel like my life is as rich and interesting as ever, and I’ve learned how to deal with stress and difficulty a lot more effectively, so I find more happiness in small things.

    (Also, from experience, I’d say that the dread of those big birthdays is actually worse than the actual event, when you find that you are still you and that nothing important has actually changed. So Happy Birthday!)

  27. cookie queen says:

    My Grandmother, who lived until she was 96 always told me that when you get up each morning and look into the mirror you have to say “It ain’t ever gonna get any better than this.” She also told me that we remain the same age in our heads, it is our body that changes.
    I love the freedom being older brings. No periods. Less stress in certain areas – because really – who can be bothered? The hard times make us stronger – albeit that they can be extremely painful, especially as we begin to lose family and friends. Material things become much less important. Moisturizer becomes much more important!
    Exercise, always good, becomes essential to feeling good. Whatever works – do it. (Yoga should be mandatory.) I can highly recommend cutting down or stopping colouring hair. Becoming aware of my own mortality has shifted my priorities. And red lipstick, always red lipstick. Nothing brings out the grey in one’s hair more effectively!
    “Old is the new black.”
    Bussis. xxxxx

  28. Hi everyone. The most distressing thing about my having aged is that people treat me as though I’m pathetic and too helpless to do things for myself. Recently, a young woman asked if she could help me carry a small package. I said “no, thank you” pleasantly. She kept insisting and the tenth time she asked I snapped, “even with older women, no means no.” She was offended and angry and I feel badly. But no means no. I’m very fortunate to be healthy and active. I don’t mean for this comment to be a downer on this very nice website, but I’m depressed about the incident.

  29. carole says:

    Lots of great answers here-Happy Birthday to you! And as for ageing, some birthdays seem to matter more than others. Keep your sunny outlook on life. You are very beautiful, and I think that it is in part due to your inner beauty-your gracious nature.

    Totally agree with the people who do yoga-there is a form that will suit everyone. Focus on what you can do and try to improve on it. And all my cycling friends seem decades younger than their actual age.

    Hormonal stuff sucks-no denying it 🙂

    Love,
    Carole

  30. rosestrang says:

    Happy Birthday when it comes, and remember that time’s just a human construct.
    Haha! That would make a fun birthday card message 🙂
    I’m feeling ok about ageing at the moment (I’m 47) because I’ve just given up smoking, so immediately I’ve started to look better, and feel quite smug! That’s the good thing about attention to health, you can only look better, whereas face creams and so on don’t make much difference.
    Now that I’m off cigarettes, I don’t feel like drinking alcohol at all for some reason, so my lifestyle is suddenly drug-free, unless you count sugar and coffee!

    IThese days ‘m calmer than I used to be by far, less sensation or drama-seeking I suppose (buying perfume is dramatic for me these days!). I create healthy dramas through art and painting, which is always a challenge. Getting older has been good for me. I want to stay healthy (touch wood) so I can enjoy life as long as possible.

  31. Nemo says:

    It has been really wonderful reading what everyone has to say on this topic! I am turning thirty in a little less than a year, and whether that is old or not depends on your perspective I guess. I think that I have slowly started figuring out what is really important to me in the last five years. It would have been nice to now this a long time ago so that I could focus on it then (family, for example!). One of the things I have really tried NOT to consider important is what dread, faceless opinion of everyone else 🙂 I hope that one day I have lots more grey hair, wrinkles, and a big smile because I know myself and what makes me happy, and who cares what anyone else thinks about any of it?

  32. unseencenser says:

    I wish we could all get together for tea and talk about this for hours! I am having a lot of trouble with aging lately and I really don’t know why. Certainly past 45 one has more slight health problems (and dental! Terrible!) but I feel better these last few years than I ever did before, and I think I look just fine. I have more trouble now with the sensation of time running out and it being my fault that I still don’t know what I want out of life – or even out of a day. I feel more pressure to get it right, when I’ve never been more certain I’m doing it all wrong.
    I’m trying to fill my time with things I enjoy; I’m overcommitted but I have a multiyear plan to shed some of these commitments and hope to come out on the other side of it a happier version of myself. But I am leery of waiting for the future to be happy – all of us have only today and if I died tomorrow, would I be happy about the way I spent the last ten years of my life? In only a mixed fashion.
    I never expected to have so much trouble with jealousy as I got older (I was *never* jealous of other people’s successes when I was younger!), OR with not having, being, or doing what I want. I find it easy to go back to school and start studying something new, but I find it hard to let go of wrongs that I feel people have done me, and hard to let go of my own fears. Emotional fossilization, maybe? All I can say for myself is that I do want to improve myself and haven’t given up hope!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you so much for your candid comment, I’d love to join you for that tea! 🙂
      I like your expression of emotional fossilization, I can very much empathize with that.
      Of course you should not give up hope, hope dies last! 😉 Seriously though, I think we can change and learn our whole lives, and what a great thing that is.

    • I wish we could get together for tea. We could exchange ideas for coping skills and have a few laughs. I’m finding it difficult to transition from the strong and self-sufficient person I was to the sweet and needy old lady I’m expected to be now. If another stranger calls me “dear,” I’ll think about becoming a serial killer. (I’m just kidding, really!!!). I’m rarely jealous and I wish just about everyone well. My boyfriend (old man friend?) tells me nicely that I have vaguely benevolent feelings for everyone because I mostly concentrate on myself. I wish I were “over-committed.” I had a full, busy life and I dropped many things I didn’t know I cared about. Now my life has vacancies that can’t be filled. If you don’t mind advice from someone who made a mistake doing it, be careful what commitments you shed. Delete the harmful ones, not ones that are merely life’s busywork. Obviously, I’m a great advice-giver, hence my screen name ; -). I haven’t given myself good advice. I dropped everyone whom I perceived of as having hurt me. That was a lot of people. I wish I hadn’t been so sensitive. I’ve been remembering retorts I never made to things people said to me. I don’t know whether I’m sorry or glad I never said them. Probably I should be glad, although some of them might have been quite funny. What keeps me going now is that I can find humor in most aspects of life. Oh well, tea and cheers to us all.

  33. Heya Birgit,
    Happy birthday when it comes.
    I am thrilled to be getting older, happy to let myself fall joyously apart. So what, I’m older. In my youth I spent a LOT of time mourning my friends who died of AIDS or suicided before their beauty got too marred by illness. I live at 100% as much as I can because they cannot, did not get the chance to. Maybe I am so blessed because there are so many angels looking out for me, my friends who couldn’t make the journey by my side except in my memory.
    Be thankful for every day Birgit, we don’t get very long.
    To look at you who would ever know you’d even turned 30.
    Portia xx

    • Olfactoria says:

      What a beautiful reply and way to see life.
      M and I talked the other day… you should really come to Vienna’s Lifeball once.

      • Remember I told you of my ballet dancing friend who I used to come stay with in Vienna. He is going back this year for the Life Ball. I think it’s his first return to Austria since he was dancing there in the 1990s.
        One day I will come and we will all go to the ball together Birgit.
        Portia x

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