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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 (21)
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.
Dr. Meir
In between Heaven & Hell
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....
Robert
Oklahoma City
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
Toni Wein
In between Heaven & Hell
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.
Lisa
Providence, RI
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.
Anonymous
February 19, 2016
I am a 51 yr.old woman and I look like an old & wrinkled up. like shriveled prune.
Linda
temple.oklahoma
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
Dr. Meir
In between Heaven & Hell
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.
Anonymous
nowhere, kansas
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.
Michal
Germany
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.
David
The Deep BackWoods