, Newburyport, MA


March 7, 2014

Boomer Talk: What's the matter with aging?

Getting or looking or feeling older is of concern, especially as we advance into the Boomer and Beyond years. Because we live in a culture that reveres youth and beauty and often marginalizes their elder population, we may consider growing old as something to be avoided if possible.

But, inevitably, our age catches up with us and we wonder if we are now “over the hill” and on the down side ... with all its unpleasant implications.

I recently heard, “Getting old is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” Is this what aging gracefully means, accepting fully we are now old? Should our attitude be, “Oh well, I might as well give up and give in,” as was the best choice available to previous generations? You may recall photos of your family of origin in which everyone by 55 or 60 looked old and worn-out.

But now, we know more and we can do better at our self-care. There is a fine line between accepting “what is” and doing all we can to maintain a healthy and vibrant life. Instead of allowing the body to spread in all directions and the face to dry up like a prune, it is good to explore what we can do for ourselves to maintain and prevent further decline.

If you want a wake-up call, you might watch the documentary “Processed People,” which addresses the horrendous statistics related to fast food and fast lives. The statistics of overweight Americans is staggering, as is the numbers who have high blood pressure and diabetes. Obesity, the film states, is about to overtake tobacco as the No. 1 cause of preventable deaths in the United States.

The prevention of future illness is often a matter of the choices we make. If we do decide it is important to live out our lives in a healthy body and mind, it might take some work on our part. There is abundant, available information about how to nourish ourselves properly with what we eat and drink, what kinds of exercise we need to be doing, and how important it is to release the stress in our lives.

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