I actually do not like the term “aging gracefully” especially as it relates to appearance. Does it mean that you are accepting nature’s course without interfering? Is it cheating if you are intervening in some way such as living a healthy lifestyle, using certain skincare or getting cosmetic procedures? It just seems a bit polarizing and judgy; are you trying too hard or not hard enough? It is sort of like the whole cancer is a battle thing to me. If you are a survivor, great, you won, you beat it or you are fighting. Are you fighting hard enough? It does not matter how or whether you even chose to fight the battle, you are judged in these war like terms. The same is true with this idea of “aging gracefully.” Do we talk about it? Do we admit to what we are doing or not doing? Are we trying too hard or too little and who decides that?
I say you do. Do what you are comfortable with. And then own it. We have this age obsessed culture but this tendency to deny it. I have many patients that will confide in me about procedures they have done to look x years younger but they do not want anyone else to know about it. This just furthers unrealistic expectations. I am sure that the friends of these patients know they had something done. Why not use it to talk about the procedure, the recovery and what we go through to feel comfortable in our own skins?
That is the other crazy thing. We are all supposed to play it cool about aging. Pretend we don’t care about it or only care the right amount, whatever that is. Because it is a bit pathetic if we try too hard yet we have given up if we don’t try to some degree.
The whole situation is exhausting. And it doesn’t have to be. We would all be aging a hell of a lot more gracefully if we were taking care of our bodies as we should. Follow an evidence based healthy lifestyle and age gracefully with or without cosmetic procedures. But whatever you do, do it for yourself.
Focus on these for a healthy body and mind (and likely a less aged appearance and improved quality of life with age)
1. Nutrition. Focus on a plant based diet free of added sugar and processed foods.
2. Avoid alcohol and smoking.
3. Stay moving.
4. Get adequate sleep.
5. Practice mindfulness and meditation.
6. Maintain strong relationships.
7. Take care of your skin. Even if that is just cleansing, moisturizing and using SPF.