Examining Your Attitude About Age

Published: May 29, 2014

By: Christine Wissner, social services manager, LIFE Beaver County

A common complaint from seniors is that in American society there is far too much focus on youth. We often spend a lot of money attempting to look younger and fighting the natural results of gravity.

Even though we may have limits on what we can do to look physically young, we have an unlimited ability to think young. If we progress into maturity with a positive attitude about aging, we can make sure that we are as productive, attractive and youthful as our bodies allow.

How many of the negative attitudes have you already unconsciously adopted?

Getting older means that I can’t be active any more.

In a limited sense this is true. However, you now have the opportunity to expand your activities which may have been impossible when you were younger and had various time restraints. Daily walking will keep your joints lubricated, your cardiovascular system healthy, and your mood upbeat. These activities will leave you feeling younger and more vibrant.

I get a headache when I have to read something technical or try to figure out my computer.

The human brain is amazing and inspiring. It has the capability to keep functioning throughout our life cycle, and only when we fail to use it does it start to wither away. Nurture your mind and relish new mental challenges. Work on crossword puzzles and word games to maintain your memory and expand your vocabulary. Learn about a new subject that has always interested you. The goal with mental exercise is to improve your mood, provide the daily excitement of new discoveries, and allow you to feel productive and valuable.

It’s time to start acting my age.

What does that mean? Shall we allow our age to be determined by an arbitrary, man-made calendar or by how we feel? Some of us feel “old” by fifty. We give up trying new things, we slow down our activity, we stop thinking creatively. Many of us at sixty or seventy feel as we have always felt and are shocked when we look closely in a mirror and see that we have changed. How could our appearance be so different when we still see ourselves as young and vibrant as ever? If we can act the age we feel, calendar age no longer matters.

Human beings have few limitations. The limits that exist are often self-imposed. A positive attitude about yourself, your refusal to allow the calendar to stifle your physical and mental reach, and frequent self-examination of the myths of aging to which you may be falling prey, can transform the destructive social concept of aging into bright new opportunities for change, growth and fulfillment.

Adapted from an article by Virginia Bola, licensed clinical psychologist

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