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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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Discussion (11)
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.
Anonymous
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!
Jenny Inker
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.
Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell
Riverside, CA, USA
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.
Anonymous
Redondo Beach
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.
Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell
Riverside, CA, USA
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.
Anonymous
Trail , Canada
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.
Anonymous
arlington, va
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
Anonymous
Everett, CA
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?
Craig Hamilton
Sandwich, MA
June 24, 2008
ugh
I hate to write another bummer to Chana, but the external refracts what is inside. When what is inside brightens the external, then the external becomes what it can be. Beauty is not exclusive unless we latch onto popular trends. Faces have muscles. Good diet and exercise build muscles capable of rearranging faces. Illuminate yourself to a new picture.
Craig Hamilton
Sandwich, MA
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