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I Don't Want To Get Old!

I Don't Want To Get Old!

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Question:

I'm afraid of growing old and unattractive. But what bothers me even more is that I am actually shallow enough to think this way. I guess I value good looks and external beauty way too much. I imagine that if I had a proper attitude on life I'd be perfectly content and happy to live as a wrinkly old woman whom no one looks at. But how do I get there?

Answer:

I think that the way to be content with the inside rather than the external is to focus on the internal and develop an appreciation for it. The more that we focus on the external and the physical shell of the body, the less we are focused on the inner soul and the spiritual dimension. Perhaps you can begin learning more Chassidut--a deep teaching that stresses the spiritual dimension over the physical. You will find many wonderful articles on our site (check out our Spirituality section). The more you appreciate and develop your taste for the beauty of spiritual concepts and ideas, the less significant the physical will become to you.

Try to train yourself to look at the quality of a person, his characteristics and refinement, rather than what you like about his or her external appearance. Ask yourself what qualities you like about people and look for and focus on those qualities. Try to develop in yourself the qualities that you admire, and ask yourself daily what you have done that was kind, generous, caring, etc.

Perhaps another idea is to spend some time with older people. You could visit them in a home for the elderly, or choose a neighborhood senior to pay home visits to. As you spend time with the elderly, you will begin to see how much they have to offer, and how much wisdom and wit they possess, despite having a frail or wrinkled body. This should change your perspective on the elderly and on people in general in a significant way.

You have, in fact, already made the most important first step: you desire to change your perspective. You have already decided that you want to mature beyond a narrow vision of self as a strictly physical being. If you remain committed to your internal growth, you're sure to succeed.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
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Yaakov Beer Sheva December 23, 2016

"I don't want to get old..." Ah yes, the old."aging" problem, is it? I am 84 years old. I wear glasses, false teeth, hearing aid, have cataracts, almost constant back pain, and probably some other things I don't even know about. But I don't care. I am still able to read, write, discus various subjects, and most of all, I can still love my beautiful wife. Not the young one, the pretty one, no, I now love the old one, with wrinkles, with the forgetful memory. The one I have shared my life with with for so many years. So I am a happy old man. I'm ready to go whenever it is time. So don't worry about losing your looks, me dear, worry instead about losing your capability to love. Reply

Dr. Meir In between Heaven & Hell May 17, 2016

Learning to age with grace. Robert,
If I may, perhaps your answers will come when your focus changes. The years will follow themselves first one than two etc...One can get caught up keeping track of the number of years spent on earth which will end by missing the boat entirely or one can age the soul. I have been in the presence of both, those that missed the boat & those who spent their "dash" learning the lessons presented to them. The latter seemed to know the true value of the vessel that took them from here to there always taking care of the values inherent in the vessel without getting lost inside the reality of the vessel. When you come to the end of your journey will you be proud how you spent your dash? The dash is the time in between your dates, i.e. 04-13-1959 to 05-17-2016. I truly wish I originated the dash, but I didn't. Nonetheless I let it guide me forward learning the lessons within the gloriousness of life. I wish you the joy and the peace that enriches the soul when one learns as a Tabula Rasa. Reply

Robert Oklahoma City May 15, 2016

Dont want to get older I am already old but I don't want to get older, my fears have caused me to have mental health issues, I take psychiatric pills and have tried counseling but onothing seems to help.... Reply

Toni Wein In between Heaven & Hell April 13, 2016

Joy of ageing Am I out here alone, once again? You would think by now I'd be use to it. Fifty seven years following my birth in the presences of family, friends and stranger's I have learned the priceless lesson taught by life which can only be understood by the soul. So inspite of the wrinkles that have taken up residence on my face, hands, arms etc.. along with freedom and peace I live in the "sweet madness" found within "glorious sadness". I am keen!y aware of how it's easier to devalue me than it is to join me. Last week I ended a new friendship with someone who was unable to show up for coffee. The first time she was a no show I thought this could happen to anyone the second time was a pattern. As a result of updating acceptable behaviors this was the second time I remember walking away. The first time was following my fathers funeral at which time my family opted for the ugliness of humanity and the cost of being connected to them far outweighed the expense of being separated from them

Dr Meir Reply

Lisa Providence, RI April 10, 2016

Staying Young I don't want to get old, either, but it happens to everyone.

If you're born with "young genes" and take care of yourself, it shouldn't be a problem. Reply

Anonymous February 21, 2016

I don't want to get old The body does what the body does and one can fight it or live it. Accidentally, I chose a career where the older one is the more value they have. I must say it's a lot nicer on this side of that struggle than on the other side. Meaning and purpose lives here not there. Peace and freedom softens aging if you let it. When all is said and done what will you miss out on by counting wrinkles. There is a great harmony that attaches to the soul when learning is related to age, I will hope your journey leads you there. Be well, be free and if you choose let grace guide you. Reply

Linda temple.oklahoma February 19, 2016

I am a 51 yr.old woman and I look like an old & wrinkled up. like shriveled prune. Reply

Dr. Meir In between Heaven & Hell January 24, 2016

The difference between growing up and growing old Good day,

As I read your note the question of what your life was trying to teach kept presenting itself. Maybe your resistance to ageing is more significant than superficiality. I am always shocked to learn what my life teaches me. Sadly, or not, some of the most painful experience's have taught me the great beauty of an old soul. While you seem connected to the outer you, are you equally connected to the inner you? Do you even want to be connected to the inner you? My age, reports to me, how long I have been working within my life, for my life. If I may, an example of this occured a few months ago during a phone call between my mother and me when I asked how she was dealing with being in love with my father since his death? While alive the hatred between them was palpable,following his death she was able to connect to her love for him. Trying to learn I asked how she did that, she said she denies it ever was. My ache was undeniable and she was oblivious to the cost to her soul are U Reply

Anonymous nowhere, kansas November 20, 2014

I don't want to get old either. Just today I helped an old woman who fell out of her wheelchair, she must have been in shock or something because the fear in her eyes as I picked her up almost made me tear up... Her (caretakers) didn't seem dedicated to her at all, I would never want to be in her position. Reply

Michal Germany July 31, 2014

Don't be afraid to get old. (I am 80 now and happy.) Enjoy every time of your life.
Every age is a present of Hashem. And as our souls do not get old, you feel just as happy as you were at the time of 30. Now I have the feeling, that my life was rich and blessed. Hashem loved me when I was 15 and we love each other, while I am 80. And be sure, when you are kind with other people, they love you and
do not see the wrinkles. Reply

David The Deep BackWoods July 31, 2014

Ms. Weisberg says this:

"Perhaps another idea is to spend some time with older people. You could visit them in a home for the elderly, or choose a neighborhood senior to pay home visits to. As you spend time with the elderly, you will begin to see how much they have to offer, and how much wisdom and wit they possess, despite having a frail or wrinkled body. This should change your perspective on the elderly and on people in general in a significant way."

This is some of the best advice I've heard. Not only do these people have much to offer - but it is good for your own soul to experience it. You will come away humbled, with the realization that... "But for the grace of God, there go I."

Except in this case, statistics say you probably WILL go there. Embrace it and relish it, friends. Immerse in it. You don't have much choice in the matter, God willing. Reply

Anonymous April 23, 2014

First of all, if you don't want to get old you should end it now; to continue to live means you will age and grow older. That said, you do have some control over how you age. Take care of your health, exercise, drink plenty of water, eat well keep a healthy weight and be kind to your skin. Most importantly keep a good attitude and be youthful at heart. Be kind and give of your time. Develop your talents and abilities so you develop your wisdom. Every year of life is a gift. Don't be afraid to live it. Reply

Jenny Inker November 10, 2012

Society's stereotypes increase our fear of aging Fear of aging - our own and our society's - seems pretty widespread when you look around you. While some conditions are rightly fearful (like dementia or becoming physically frail and at risk of abuse by your 'caregivers'), there is much to celebrate about aging IF we rearrange our perspectives of it as a rewarding life stage where our talents and abilities grow further and come together. The trouble is, stereotypes of aging badly are everywhere around us and they scare us! Research shows that age can bring benefits, including wisdom, and the ability to regulate our emotions better. Some also believe that as our life draws closer to its end, we learn to 'transcend' our aging bodies. However, our society's obsession with youth and how we look makes this an uphill climb - we focus only on the bad things about aging. Let's learn to see it as our continued growth and development rather than our decline and failure. Death is inevitable, whereas a miserable older age is not! Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA April 27, 2012

What is the worst part of getting old Is the longer times of separation from family. Once you get into a special apartment, they very rarely come to see you or take you places. Reply

Anonymous Redondo Beach April 27, 2012

Look on the brightside Look on the bright side, everyone gets old. In fact, old people are wise and have more experience than young people. Enjoy Life. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA February 17, 2011

Anon in Everett, CA, my advice is... Learn to say NO. Learn to say, "WHEN YOU SAY (DO) ...I feel intimidated/controlled/ upset". Learn to say, "We will talk about this later when you can word what you say without insulting or threatening me." Learn to GET UP off the couch and GO OUT and do things. Why do you CHOOSE to have a controlling boyfriend and STAY in the relationship. If you let this continue, it will get worse, and YES, you will fritter your life away. Worse, still, if you guys have children. BOY, will you be stuck then, and extrication will be EXTREMELY difficult. You are feeling old because you are out of control. When I got older, I realized that I had very LITTLE control over situations and over my body changes. Not just in outer appearances, but in EVERY way. By the way, this author, as a young person, doesn't know her head from a hole in the ground telling old people to work with old people to find out how great old people are. The aging process is complex. Reply

Anonymous Trail , Canada March 13, 2010

growing old I afraid of growing old ending up in an old age home. I would rather die. My Dad had a stroke and ended up in extended care. To be in bed and never walk again. To shit himself and have to changed like a baby. To have no pride left. Please let me die before it comes to that. If there is a God he will not make me live in this manner with nothing left to look forward to. In November I had TIA ("mini stroke") and now I fear each day I will have a stroke and end up the same way. Every day I think about what I am eating and try very hard to not have this happen. Anyone else feel this afraid of old age. Reply

Anonymous arlington, va November 9, 2009

chana is young. she doesnt know a thing about getting old. she just says all the usual garbage about internal, spiritual development.
i think we should have the right to die. i dont want to end up a nursinghome vegetable in diapers. Reply

Anonymous Everett, CA February 12, 2009

I understand completely! OMG I'm only 21, but I am so afraid of getting old! I don't think it's because of superficial things though. I kinda feel like I'm wasting away my youth, therefore I'm afraid that by the time I get to enjoy my youth, it will be gone. I sleep away the days, and watch TV at night. i hardly go out anymore. iI hardly see my friends. All because of my controlling boyfriend.. It makes me scared Reply

Craig Hamilton Sandwich, MA June 29, 2008

I don't want to grow old either. I focus on proper posture by excising minor muscles before major muscles, eating a lot of oil, kosher salt (goes good in unleavened bread), and vegetable protein. I practice keeping the majority of my muscles gracefully in a state of mild flexure 6 days a week. Consuming oil keeps skin young. I use castille soap to bathe. Adding a spring to your step helps too, but be careful, as sometimes it is safer to carry a bent body, so that hellions are avoided. I believe what I do works because I will turn 30 soon, but some people possibly exaggerate and say I still look like a teenager. Perhaps, a cigar a day keeps the wrinkles away? Reply

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