You might think that the hardest thing about getting older is learning to deal with other people’s changing expectations. After all, women our age are often expected to be invisible by the rest of society. In movies and on TV, older adults are treated as “cute and forgetful,” at best, to “mean and grumpy,” at worst.
The more I think about it, the more I believe that the biggest battles we have to fight in our 60s are with ourselves. We can choose to live up to society’s expectations and sit in front of the TV all day. Or, we can get out into nature and improve our bodies and minds. We can accept invisibility. Or we can start blogs, get active in political and social causes and continue to share our wisdom and experience with the world.
This struggle reminds me of a quote by the Renaissance philosopher, Michel de Montaigne, who said, “Old age puts more wrinkles in our minds than on our faces.”
There are several ways that you could interpret this. I like to think that he was saying that many of the issues that we face as we get a little older are in our heads. Wrinkles are inevitable. Letting them make us think that we are old is a choice. Small aches and pains are either a challenge that prevents us from getting out of the house – or a source of motivation for getting us out of the house.
Of course, there are exceptions to this way of thinking. Some of us experience genuinely tragic events as we age. Not every problem in life can be overcome with positive thinking.
At the same time, I don’t think this is what Michel de Montaigne was talking about. He picked the word “wrinkles” for a reason. These are small “imperfections” that really have no impact on our life – yet, we somehow allow them to change how we feel about ourselves.
In other words, we may not always have control over the “big stuff,” but, we can always choose how we react to the “small stuff.”
I’d love to hear what you think about this!
Do you agree with me that the biggest battles we have to fight after 60 are with ourselves? What are you doing to stay active and healthy as you get a little older? Please join the conversation!