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Hangups about the aging process *Triggers?*

Hi,

Late 30's female here. I am beginning to notice inevitable signs of physically aging, as the years slog forward. The mirror reminds me - every day - that I am a slowly decaying organism. Yes, I am human. Yes, I am an aging animal too.

I waffle between avoiding the mirror completely and obsessively searching my reflection for new signs of aging. I am preoccupied with hopeless thoughts:

I wonder what decay is occurring within my body, that I can't see. In my organs. In my bones. In my brain.

I think about how I will be increasingly invisible, burdensome, and less useful.

I wonder if life going forward will only become sadder because my body is passively regenerating less.

Can anyone relate? How do or did you approach this hangup? What was or is helpful to you?

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Hi Loomer123!

I have been a little thrown off about the aging process too for multiple reasons. I was always an attractive woman and enjoyed the unspoken perks associated with it. At 57, I’m no longer attractive and have noticed that people respond differently to me now. I’ve never had any trouble getting a job, but, of course, now I do. I know it’s due to my age. I now have a few chronic medical problems requiring medication for each.

I’m not focused on what the diabetes and hypertension are doing to my body because I can only worry about so much! I take my insulin and meds as prescribed and simply hope for the best!! And I’m a nurse!

For me, life has gotten better with age as long as my depression is in remission. I have more patience and experience to get me through. My husband and I can communicate without ever uttering a word...our bond has grown deeper and more satisfying. We rarely argue now and agree on most things. Not sadder, but richer!!

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Thanks for the thoughtful and honest reply,

GratitudeFirst. Heartened to hear about your continued energy and zest for life!

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I’m 39 and for the past year have been very preoccupied with aging and dying anxiety. I think this is a major time of change and transformation in life, we are aware that our lives are at least half over now. It’s a harsh reality and a time of reflection of our childhood, our dreams, our losses. You can emerge from this with new energy and even optimism for the future. I turned to my spiritual beliefs and did a lot of journaling, also got on some medication for the depression that has helped. I am also changing my life’s goals, going into a new career field.

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Those specific preoccupations are spot on, lynnalice. Most of my specific dreams for the first half of my life were either fulfilled or missed out on. Now it's time to recalibrate my goals for the second half, and I'm not feeling it yet. I appreciate the hopeful suggestions.

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I will be forty this year. As a male I don’t worry to much about those things. I have pondered for many years while I was agoraphobic exactly what you posted about becoming invisible and burdensome. The hard reality that is lost in today’s world is the fact that we do age. Society is in denial to that fact. Our society teaches that looks, beauty, and carnal pleasure are the only things that can bring happiness and joy. As if those things are an end in of themselves. True joy comes not from any of those things. True joy comes from a life of giving and service. That is what I have come to learn while I sat home in the depths of despair.

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I like your scope. It’s a lot to consider. The bloom of carnal youth is indeed a tiny fraction of a human’s lifeline. Childhood is the longing to grow up. Teenage years are rife with their own forms of depression and anxiety, despite physical heath. Young adulthood is exciting but relatively brief. If it was as shallow as looks and making babies, no one would have the will to live beyond their couple of “productive” decades!

What forms of giving bring you the most

Joy, Here_I_am?

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I don’t work so monetary giving isn’t high on my list. I used to volunteer a lot at my old church. I was a lector and an usher during the mass. Now I mostly help out neighbors when they need me. I live with my folks in an over fifty five community. So I guess giving my time brings me joy.

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Well unlike GF I was never attractive when young and some say I looked better older. I am in my 60's now and yes I have found than women over a certain age tend to become invisible. I counter this by becoming louder so am hard to ignore!

It is mainly men who ignore you when older and I have encountered quite a few men in my area (sexist place) who cannot have a conversation with a woman unless he finds her physically attractive. Or if they do they find some way to insult you even if you are only passing a few moments with talking about the weather or something trivial. I had this loads of times when a lot younger too. I ignore men like this now and only talk to ones who don't treat me like this - and there are plenty.

There are compensations for getting older. You care less what people think of you and you become in some ways more confident. I certainly don't think of myself as a burden or less useful but rather as someone who has paid their dues in life and now deserves to do what I want in life rather than duties I have to perform.

It is true that you tend to collect more illnesses as you age but you just have to hope they aren't ones which are going to kill you or make life unbearable. Old age ain't for sissies that's for certain! x

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I found love at sixty...wrinkles, ageing body and all.....so anyone can. I think it has to do with your own perception of yourself, and you seem to be obsessing about it, and that may be something to get some help with. Pre-occupation to that extent can be emotionally detrimental and finding ways to cope and overcome it will hopefully help you to realize that you have your whole life ahead of you in a very positive way. Any one in your life that truly loves you does not care what you look like....

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"Any one in your life that truly loves you does not care what you look like...."

Sometimes I feel that this isn't true, but deep down I know that it is. It took years to come to know this. Aaah the beauty of getting older and wiser.

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exactly my sista.....I am the lady with the purple hat....I don't care what anyone else thinks of it, I like it..... it's a story with a great metaphor for becoming our older self. We don't have our 20 yr. old body any more, the hair is thinner and grayer, and you know the rest....but so what....we earned a break.

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I can relate to your post because I was always thin and good looking. As I get older it seems to take longer and longer to get ready to go somewhere. I try not to obsess about my appearance but my husband always tells me when we come home from a gathering, "you were the most beautiful woman there." That puts a lot of pressure on me too.

But my Grandma just passed away in June. She lived to be 104. She loved working with her hands, working in her flowers, traveling, learning new things, etc. She didn't have any dementia or Alzheimer's when she died. She was such a great example to me of living for the important things in life. She wasn't attractive as a young woman but didn't spend a lot of time on her appearance. I think she got more beautiful as she aged. I think it was her inner beauty and peace and also her faith in the God of the Bible. She believed in a real heaven and looked forward to that. I also believe in heaven and that it will last for eternity and we will be perfect there - the Bible says, "no sickness, no pain, no tears, etc."

That encourages me to live my life here not seeking temporary physical beauty but investing my time in other people and in getting to the God of the Bible.

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Hello. The aging process unfortunately is something none of us can avoid. It’s something that of course affects every human on this planet. But their are many things to do that can help slow or rather diminish the obvious signs of aging. For one drinking lots of water every single day is so important to help keep us looking younger. Avoiding alcohol in large quantities, not smoking , recreational drugs, and of course trying to avoid stress as much as possible. The last one could be easier said than done. A lot of us here on this site deal with the everyday stressors of depression, anxiety , OCD, Bipolar disorders, as well as many others. I do believe that exercise at least 3x a week can help with the aging process. Getting the heart rate up a few times a week is so beneficial. Another very important factor in slowing down the aging is diet. Avoiding fried foods is a must, fried foods do promote the rapid growth of free radicals in our bodies. I hope this helps, at least a little. Blessings. Samson

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