Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth

landscape with wrinkly face overlaid

Sitting in the car, one rainy Tuesday, in of all places, Trafford Park, Manchester, I tuned into the Chris Evans breakfast show to hear Baz Luhrman cautioning me ‘to enjoy the power and beauty of your youth’.  I instinctively glanced in my rear view mirror and just as quickly glanced away again!  For, as someone on the lean side of fifty my immediate thought was that my own power and youth were fading fast.

Of course in my head I am roughly half my chronological age, and in that I am not alone, just ask any of my contemporaries!  Why do I say that with such assurance? Because to admit to my present time of life would be to accept that I am no longer as young as I used to be nor indeed as thin, glamorous or fit.  But to openly admit to getting old is not quite ‘on trend’.  Look around you, where in your town or village is age celebrated publically.  Why is it we stand quite comfortably behind youngsters in queues but we tut when an older person fumbles with their change?  Why is ok for youngsters to get sozzled but poor old Aunty Marge is ridiculed for getting tipsy at the family lunch or wedding?

Today’s world is the world of the glamorous celebrity and the good news is the over 50’s can still apply.  Positive role models abound for the older woman, look at some of our glamorous Dames Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith to name but a few.  Men too though to a lesser extent get their say with stars like George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Ralph Feinnes.  But where does this leave lowlier mortals of both genders, like me and you?

A surface skim of the raft of lifestyle magazines available in most stores encourages us to think that 50 is the new 30.  I wonder does that mean that 70 is set to become the new 50?  Personally I am not sure.  Try talking to the average 70 year old and you might find they disagree.  I’m not saying that youth isn’t joyous and something to be celebrated, I am saying that age has its place and should not be denied.  For with age comes wisdom, a time of reflection, serenity and grace.

Older people are not always difficult, ornery and grumpy, many do have an inner beauty all of their own even if the outer layers look a little careworn.  I am reminded we have but one life, our duty to each other is to live it to the full and to bring to it our humanity, filled with kindness, tolerance, love and acceptance.

I have come to appreciate that I cannot stop the ageing process but I can stop worrying about it.  I can influence how I age through the decisions I make and the foods I eat.  I can make conscious healthy lifestyle choices, I can enjoy each moment as it unfolds.

I can stop worrying about the future and give myself freedom to enjoy the present.  And I can learn not to fear but instead get curious about what’s coming next.  It will be different but one thing is for sure, it has to be better than the alternative!

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