The Happiness Connection  

Why we should embrace aging

Aging gracefully

Whatever the date on your birth certificate, there’s something we all share. We’re aging and that seems to be an easier process for some than others.

When you first find yourself old enough to take advantage of seniors discounts, you may be horrified. Our culture doesn’t celebrate aging. It tends to be viewed with fear and resistance. You may not like the prospect, but you can’t avoid it. You can, however, learn to view aging through a more positive lens. Perhaps it’s time to find joy in getting older.

One thing many people struggle with is seeing the changes in their physical appearance. Are you pretty? You may not have all the signs of classic loveliness, but it isn’t just your features that determine beauty.

I know that many people consider me to be attractive. This opinion, first expressed in my youth, has continued into my more senior years. Honestly, I can’t see what they do. I don’t see a beautiful face when I look in the mirror.

What I’ve come to appreciate is that they see an energy that I don’t when I look at my reflection. Attractiveness has more to do with expressions and vitality than whether your mouth is 1.618 times the width of your nose (a proportion believed to be ideal.)

This is an important understanding to have if you want to shift your thoughts around aging. Research shows that facial expressions are nearly as important as physical features when determining attractiveness.

The lines and wrinkles that appear in your face are the result of your facial expressions. That’s a good thing.

Actor John Cleese suggests that as you get older your expressions become etched into your face and show what type of person you are. That’s something to think about, especially if lines are just beginning to show in your face.

"If you're beautiful when you get older," says actor John Cleese, "it's not a free gift. It's because your face shows qualities that are timeless—strength, kindness, dedication, wisdom, enthusiasm, and humor, intelligence, compassion."

People are drawn to faces that are smiling or exude warmth. Expressiveness is beautiful. Take Princess Diana for example. She had lovely eyes, but it was the way she looked up with them that made her so memorable.She’d now be in her 60s and I’m sure she’d still be viewed as beautiful. Getting older doesn’t mean you stop being attractive.

When you look in the mirror, you’re probably viewing a still face. You aren’t able to see the energy and expressions that other people do. Are your eyes shining? Is your smile genuine? This is why a photo that you know is being taken often can’t capture what an impromptu one can.

Being a thriving senior has more to do with attitude than anything else. Rather than trying to stop the aging process, embrace where you are and make the most of whatever phase of life you’re in.

Eat well, stay physically active, and keep your mind engaged. Have friends of all ages. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Whether you’re twenty, forty, sixty, or eighty, it’s never too early or too late to think about making next year better than this one. See those wrinkles as expression lines and your grey hair as wisdom highlights.

March is Embrace Aging Month in the Okanagan. Check out the event calendar if you’re interested in helping yourself or someone else rethink aging.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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