Monday Motivator: Do NOT Act Your Age!

No, I’m not suggesting you stick your tongue out at people or pull out that micro-miniskirt that you rocked in high school. But there is research suggesting that there are all sorts of cues in our environment about what aging should be like, and we subconsciously absorb them and act them out.

In a study, Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer took a group of elderly men to an isolated hotel where all external cues were set to twenty years earlier.They were also told not to reminisce about the past, but to actually act as if they were living in that previous decade. The results were interesting: physical ailments declined; mental acuity sharpened. Langer’s book on the subject is called Counterclockwise.

After reading a summary of Langer’s study, I became more aware of the messages we’re often given about aging. As I stood in the grocery line, I saw a magazine headline: “Forty and Fabulous” and realized that the subtext was that, in most cases, forty must not be fabulous. When any person over the age of sixty stops a robber or runs a race, it’s a news story as if it is some sort of freakish oddity. In a youth-obsessed culture, age is something to be feared, and we take in the messages that there is something wrong with us if we’re older than Justin Bieber.

As much as we can, let’s embrace life with fullness and stop waiting and fearing that first wrinkle or the first twinge of arthritis or when some young student asks how you felt when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor šŸ™‚

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3 thoughts on “Monday Motivator: Do NOT Act Your Age!

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. My doctor just shakes his head when he asks what I have been doing and I tell him baseball, football, kickball, and street hockey with my 8 year old grandson! Too many people look at the number and with their heart and mind…

  2. I am finally that gray-streaked 50-year-old I always thought was so absolutely gorgeous when I was a girl. I luxuriate in my maturity! Granted, the bones creak and the cartilage crunches, and my, how the memory goes, but I love myself best of all right now in this moment!

  3. This is a grand reminder of the sad truth, as well as the positive knowledge, about our society and aging–and our own mindsets and fears. I really enjoyed the replies. To dma above, good for you! That is inspiring as well as the previous post. I’m right there with you, dma, and it did me good to hear you say how you see yourself being the gorgeous woman you used to think was so beautiful as a child. šŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing.

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