Monday, December 24, 2007

The Myths of Aging

What is a myth? A myth in popular use is something that is widely believed but false. At one time we believed the myth that woman weren't capable of holding a high executive office or that one race was superior to another. Myths can control behavior. The myth that woman were incapable of rational thought deprived them of the right to vote. Many women internalized the myth which had deleterious affects on their sense of self, what they thought they could do with their lives and what they had to contribute to society.

It is very similar with the myths of aging. One large myth is that you must become less valuable as you age. Some societies esteem people as they age but ours esteems youth. It is driven by advertisers who learned that product attachment happens at a young age and that beautiful young woman cause people to look at car ads. Materialism, beauty and the worship of youth came at us through motion pictures, television and print. You have to be young, thin, physically attractive and cool. But what about the deeper values of wisdom, experience, spirituality and the desire to care for one another. As we age, if we continue to develop ourselves, we develop more meaningful values. We see life from a much longer perspective, and if we reflect on our experience, we develop wisdom. And instead of spending almost every waking moment thinking about sex, getting ahead and what objects we want to buy, studies show that we spend much more time thinking about others, how to help the world, and how to leave a legacy. Are these not values that deserved to be esteemed?

The second and equally destructive myth of aging is, that as your body ages, you experience of life automatically has to become less satisfying. And that you automatically become less capable intellectually as you age. Nothing could be further from the truth. While there may be some loss of memory and speed of mental processes these are more than compensated for by wisdom, judgment and experience. And not only is it possible to find ever increasing happiness in the aging experience but it is vital to longevity. Studies show that you can live 7 ½ years beyond what your life expectancy is today, and that those years can be filled with ever increasing levels of passion, purpose and job. People just need to learn how to do it.

The Myths of Aging and How to Reverse them

1: Life Isn't Fun Anymore
Fact: For most people, life becomes more enjoyable.

Fact: Third Agers have more time to have fun.

Fact: It's easier to give yourself permission to have fun.

Fact: People find real joy for the first time in their 60's, 70's and 80's


2: You Become Useless
Fact: Many people do their greatest work in their Third Age.

Fact: Experience and wisdom are badly needed in this society.

Fact: Many organizations are looking for experienced and reliable workers.

Fact: Career change is common in the Third Age.


3: You are Only as Attractive as You Look
Fact: Internal spiritual energy makes people beautiful.

Fact: More people will look like you as the society rapidly ages.

Fact: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Fact: Love transforms all things.


4: You Become Physically Ill and Unable to Enjoy Life
Fact: Most studies show physical illness can be transcended by your state of mind.

Fact: Most people have health and energy until very near the end.

Fact: Most people will live much longer and stay healthier than they ever imagined.

Fact: Passion and purpose trump physical limitations.


5: You Won't Find Romance
Fact: Many people find new partners in the Third Age.

Fact: Love is just as strong at any age.

Fact: Third Age dating is growing by leaps and bounds.

Fact: Everyone is looking for someone.


6: Your Interest in Sex Disappears
Fact: Many people lose interest in sex simply because they don't know how to maintain it.

Fact: Older people are still curious and interested in sex.

Fact: Medical advances help a lot.

Fact: There are programs that will restore many Third Agers' interest in sex.


7: You Can't Learn and Experience New Things
Fact: Learning new things is the fountain of youth - those who continue to learn and grow in the Third Age live 7-8 years longer and are much happier.

Fact: Third Agers may learn more slowly those things that require memory, but their judgment and experience make up for it.

Fact: Third Agers change careers and occupations all the time.


Because two truths stand out . . . what you believe is what you get and how you are treated by others matters. The myths of aging foster society’s belief that getting older goes hand in hand with being less important and valuable. We all need to be esteemed and we all want to be happy, healthy and live as long as possible.

Source: Third Age

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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