How do you feel about aging?

Are you afraid of getting older, or are you embracing it?

Do you struggle with how your body is changing?

I’ve spent the last ten years exploring my feelings and thoughts on aging both in and out of therapy, and in this episode, I’m sharing those thoughts and reflections with you.

I’ll talk about how I practice self-acceptance and compassion and share my best tips on how you can take care of your future self.

Prefer the audio? Listen here.

Thoughts on Aging, Anti-Aging, and Beauty

When I was younger, I thought 60 was old AF.

It seemed so far away.

Having turned 60 earlier this year, I can tell you it was like turning any other age.

Over the years, I’ve known my looks and body would change, and they have.

I don’t see these changes as bad now, but it took me years of exploration to get there.

I spent time questioning why society believes the value of women diminishes as their youth diminishes and whether beauty is truly only for the young.

The Obsession With Anti-Aging

I’m not here to debate whether we should do whatever we can to “go down swinging” or age 100% naturally. You do whatever feels right to you. (I also always reserve the right to change my mind about how I age.)

But it does concern me how much people in their 20s are obsessed with anti-aging products and treatments.

See this article in The Guardian about kids buying anti-aging products. Studies show interest in Botox starting younger to prevent aging, too.

This obsession is concerning because if you’re this preoccupied with aging in your 20s, you hopefully have many, maaany years left to age. Do you want to spend the rest of your precious time and energy preoccupied with attempting to halt the aging process?

The Guardian article urges parents not to buy anti-aging products for their kids because doing so perpetuates messaging like “aging is bad.” Agreed. We should not even let the beauty industry target kids. It’s wrong.

If you’re a parent, I also invite you to consider what message you might be passing along to your kid(s) about aging, both explicit and implicit. As you no doubt already know, kids observe and absorb a lot of our behavior.

Beauty is More Than Physical

How we relate to aging is often influenced by how connected our identity is to our physical attributes, but beauty is much more than just physicality.

When I was a talent agent representing supermodels, people asked me, “Doesn’t it make you feel insecure to be around supermodels?”

It never even crossed my mind to compare myself to Naomi Campbell or Cindy Crawford because I wasn’t in competition with them.

Everyone’s beauty is unique. What mattered to me more than all the ‘physical perfection’ I saw was how the models treated our staff. My kindest clients were the most beautiful to me.

Self-Acceptance and Compassion Around Aging

I didn’t notice real physical changes to my face until I was over 50.

Sometimes, these changes bothered me and I wondered, should I do something about this?

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I wanted to focus my energy on what was sustainable and healthy for me.

I began practicing self-acceptance of where I am in my life, which looked like gratitude for being physically fit and well and for being healthy enough to be physically fit.

If you’re self-critical when you look in the mirror, try to reframe what you’re seeing.

I look at my smile lines or wrinkles around my eyes and think, I earned these. This is my life on my face. (To a degree- I still protect my skin from the sun, of course!)

My husband, Vic, is also very complimentary and celebratory of all of me- my personality, body, looks, all of it. I have a lot of reassurance on the home front because he is my number one fan.❤️

And if anyone makes comments about your body or appearance, you can set a boundary: “Please do not talk about my body.” If it makes you feel uncomfortable, you don’t have to take it.

Find Role Models for Aging

Finding other women who model aging in a way that resonates with you helps with self-acceptance, too. Just discovering other women who talk openly about aging and allowing it can be a relief.

Aging is inevitable. We should celebrate it! Think about what you know at 50, 55, or 60 that you didn’t know at 20, 25, or 30. Other cultures celebrate this wisdom. Why don’t we?

Inside the guide, you’ll find a list of women I follow who inspire me with their takes on aging. I hope you find some of them uplifting.

Menopause: We Don’t Have to Suffer

Menopause is a critical part of the aging well conversation, too.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. I can only tell you what I am doing and what worked for me. Do your research and see a professional.)

We do not have to suffer through menopause. We do not have to accept a medical professional telling us there are no good options because it isn’t true. There are things we can do to make it easier.

I have happily been on hormone replacement therapy for the past few years, and while many doctors are not well-versed in it, if you look, you can find ones that are. If you’re curious, menopause expert Dr. Mary Claire Haver spoke about it during our interview. (She is an excellent resource to follow for menopause- she’s in the guide!)

I wish I had known about hormone replacement therapy years ago, which is why I’m raising awareness about it now.

There are 34 symptoms of menopause- it’s important to get educated and talk about it!

Here’s my experience: the first symptom I had was painful sex, which had never been the case for me before. I didn’t have the more commonly known symptoms, like hot flashes. I also couldn’t sleep, and I had frozen shoulder.

I had no idea what was happening with my body because these conversations weren’t happening 5-10 years ago. (If they were, I certainly didn’t know about them!) It brings me hope to see women talking about their experiences with perimenopause and menopause because we can all learn from each other.

How to Take Care of Future You

As you age, being physically fit and well can’t just be about the size of your ass.

We need to be concerned about bone density and conditions we become more susceptible to with age, especially if it’s hereditary. (I have high cholesterol despite being fit and eating well because it runs in my family.)

It’s also crucial we move our bodies in whatever way we can.

I switched from high-impact workouts to trampolining, yoga, and stretching. Zumba hurt my knees – these exercises don’t.

My sister and I are big fans of Michelle Briehler and she has a variety of free workouts on her YouTube channel. I use her videos every day and I am in the best shape of my life! It’s a mix of lifting weights, trampolining, and stretching.

Here are more quick tips to keep your future self healthy:

  1. Stay hydrated: figure out your optimal water intake
  2. Prioritize sleep hygiene: blackout curtains, leave your phone outside your bedroom, no blue lights
  3. Oral hygiene: floss and use an electric toothbrush
  4. Advocate for yourself with medical professionals: I always tell doctors I am looking for someone to partner with me for my optimal health. I have a whole episode on this here.
  5. Reduce sitting: take dance breaks, go for walks, get up every once in a while
  6. Do a relationship inventory and a resentment inventory: this will help you figure out where you might be tolerating things you’re tired of (you can find both in the guide)
  7. Use clean products: meaning those without preservatives and 1,000 different ingredients- I find that vinegar and baking soda with some essential oil work well to clean most things. The guide includes more recipes to make your own.

I’ll leave you with this: I am so happy you are here. I don’t want anything to happen to you. I also don’t want you to feel ashamed of your age, who you are, or how you look. It is not an empowering way to live.

Regardless of age, make a conscious and mindful decision about self-acceptance and self-love.

I am valuable because I think I am valuable. My value isn’t attached to my age, nor do I let society dictate my value. You get to do the same.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on aging. How do you feel about it? Are you practicing self-acceptance and compassion? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram (@terricole), and share your aging role models, too!

I hope you have the most amazing week and as always, take care of you.

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