There have been many points in my life where I was excited to get older. I waited with anticipation for the typical milestone ages people look forward to that result in a right of passage: becoming a teenager, being old enough to drive a car, being called an adult, drinking alcohol, etc. I personally was also excited to turn 30 as I thought it would give me more credibility professionally. Many people can’t wait to get older and reach these points.
But not all people get excited about hitting age milestones. Getting older can be hard. 25, 30, 40, 50, 65…many times people struggle with anxiety as they age. They have a fear of getting older and may even try to reject it.
What are they so afraid of?
Some fear death and the process of aging. Some fear loosing freedom and becoming dependent. Others fear there will be no one to depend on. Some fear loneliness. Others fear they will forget the life they lived, while some fear they will be forgotten by the world. People may fear the afterlife and wrestle with faith and if they will go to heaven or hell. Many fear all the loss that comes with getting older.
If you are one who has a fear of getting older, here are a few coping skills to think about each time the fear overwhelms you:
- Look at the positive- Negative thinking can be an overwhelming powerful force. When you focus on the negative, you can get sucked in and dwell in all that is bad. When we intentionally look for the positive, we can shift our mindset away from the negative and restore hope. Focus on all the good in your life with a spirit of gratitude, rather than the fact that you are getting older in the process. It’s healthy to be sad and grieve how life changes as you age, but when that is ALL you can focus on, your life is out of balance.
- Control what you can and let go of what you can’t- We cannot control that we age. Many people may try to control looking older, but they cannot prevent it from happening. When we fight against something we can’t control, we continually lose. Then we continually feel like a failure. Try to stay focused on the parts of your life you get to control and accept that somethings are out of your control.
- Seize the day- Making the most of the moment can help you live life with intention and will keep you focused on the parts of your life that are good and that you have some control over. Choose wisely and intentionally to do things that are fulfilling and give you a sense of purpose.
- Reject the lies- Society may label getting older as a bad thing and that the aging population has little to offer. I completely disagree. I LOVE hearing aging people share memories and talk about how different our world was when they were growing up. The older we get we have unique perspectives and experiences. The aging population has learned from mistakes and can offer some wisdom to help the younger generations walk a new path.
- Focus on your future- This is where things get really exciting for me. Because of my faith and confidence in my salvation, I know I have an eternity of something amazing to look forward to. Having an eternal mindset can give you a healthy perspective that this world we live in and the life we are living is temporary. Someday all the struggles and fears we wrestle with won’t be our reality. If you are a Jesus follower, you can experience the peace and reassurance that getting older is ok and not scary. It is one day closer to a life in heaven.
So tell me, what is it that you fear about getting older and why?