3 Thoughts about Aging and Living to 100
Our society imprints so many messages about aging onto us, we often carry around loads of assumptions without even realizing we’re doing it.
Our cultural assumptions about lifespan were forged years ago, when people lived much shorter lives—and now, they don’t apply anymore.
People are living longer and longer these days, and science is predicting that lifespans are going to keep increasing.
A recent major study predicted that by 2050, the average lifespan for American women will be as high as 94-years-old! And that’s just the average. People regularly live to be over 100.
So, knowing that, it makes me value taking care of myself and keeping myself healthy so much more—because I’m going to need this body to run well for a lot of years!
Here are some ways I’ve found to loosen up and expand my ideas about lifespan.
1. Remember how you felt at earlier milestones.
I had a complete freak out when I was about to turn 30.
I thought it was so old. I was stressing about whether I’d accomplished enough yet.
I was feeling the scarcity about how much time I had in front of me and how fast the previous few years had gone by. I felt like something was “over.”
Then I had an epiphany.
The reason 30 felt like such a big deal was because my only experience of being “myself” (i.e. an adult) was being in my 20s—and that decade was ending. But that meant I had only done one decade of adulthood!
I realized that 30 wasn’t the end of anything, it was the very beginning of my adult life.
That reframing totally shifted how I felt, and all of a sudden I was super excited to turn 30.
Most of us have some version of this story around turning 30. But women older than me often say We will look back and chuckle at how “old” we thought 30 was when we were actually really, really young.
2. Do the math.
It’s no longer unrealistic to think you’ll live to 100 especially if you live an active life, take good care of yourself, and eat well.
If you assume a lifespan of 100 (instead of the 70 years it used to be), that means “midlife” is 50. That means when you hit that midpoint you’ve potentially got another five decades in front of you.
Think about everything you could do with the first five decades. It’s a lot!
At 50, there’s time to reinvent yourself (at least twice!), go back to school, travel, choose a new career, master an instrument or several, start a new business, learn new languages, move to another country, totally transform your lifestyle.
Once we loosen up our ideas about what’s possible, and distance ourselves from the assumptions that have been imprinted on us, and focus on how many years we actually have.
I find once I actually do the math, I’m amazed at how much time I have—and I start creatively imagining all the things I can do with that time.
3. Look for role models.
I’m fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful older women. I seek them out to chat and gain as much wisdom and insight as they have to offer.
What I continually notice when I chat with these women is how many times they have re-invented themselves. Gone back to studying, learning, starting new things and... at whatever age!Look around you. Who in your sphere is doing the same? Who’s reinventing themselves, studying, learning, starting new things? Who’s living like they have decades in front of them?— and looking after their health, well-being and skin for the long haul.. What are you looking forward to the most in the decades to come?
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