“This post is made possible with support from AARP’s Disrupt Aging. All opinions are my own”.
As I walked into the shop, my eyes searched for the receptionist. I told her that I would be getting a manicure and pedicure and eagerly began to look for nail polish colors that spoke to me. I wanted something bright and bold. After all, my 40th birthday was coming up in a few days so my nails had look the part. I picked this particular nail salon because it was spacious and the scent of chemicals didn’t overwhelm me at the front door.
I also liked the fact that the manicurist always offered a choice of beverage after he introduced himself. “Wine, coffee or juice?”, he asked.
“Do you have any green tea?”
“Certainly”, he replied and scurried away to the magical land of tea. Once he returned, he handed me the hot cup of tea and we began to make casual conversation as people do at the nail shop.
As I steadied myself in the chair, I slowly let my shoulders relax. After all, I only go to the nail shop about three times a year so I was definitely ready for some pampering. He started firing questions and since I was in a particularly good mood…I actually welcomed the conversation. After all, homeschool was wrapping up and I was leaving for Miami in a few days.
“What are you doing this weekend?”
“I’m going to Miami.”
“What are you going to do there?”
“I’ll be celebrating my 40th birthday and having a fabulous photo shoot to go along with it!”
And then he began…
“Honeeeeyyy…you know it all goes down hill from there right?”
“Not for me it doesn’t”.
That conversation went left pretty quickly.
Although this was my first time sitting in that manicurist’s chair, I had been here before. In the type of conversation where folks start making erroneous generalizations based on their experiences and try to pass it off as facts, especially when it comes to aging.
Why does aging make people act this way? I distinctly remember working for the Census many years ago and a woman (most likely in her forties), refusing to disclose her age to me. It didn’t matter how much I assured her that her responses were confidential. I didn’t find that surprising. What I found surprising is that she told me that not even her husband knew her age.
My perspective on aging has always been that getting older is a blessing. Almost every week when I scroll through social media, I am reminded of the fragility of life. Every day and by default every year is a blessing and a new opportunity to disrupt some myths on aging.
Here are some of the myths on aging that I’m debunking.
It’s too late to follow your dreams.
It’s never to late to follow your dreams. Age is not a deterrent for accomplishment or progress. At forty, I’m working harder than ever before on accomplishing my goals and am excited that the best is yet to come. But, you don’t have to listen to me…here are some age disrupters and proof that it can go up from here.
Dorothy Steel didn’t start acting until she was 88 years old. Eventually she got her big break at age 91, in the record breaking Black Panther movie.
Mary Kay started her company using her entire life’s savings ($5,000) at 45 and built a profitable business.
The reason that middle aged adults and older can’t “fill in the blank” is because they believe they can’t. The second reason they can’t is… because they never even try.
Your best health is behind you.
Your best health doesn’t have to be behind you. Despite what the media would have you believe, aging healthfully has nothing to do with finding a pharmacy that keeps all your medications in stock and a snazzy pill organizer that can accommodate all your pills. Being your own best health advocate along with eating well, exercising and living a healthy lifestyle is the ticket to keeping prescription medications at bay.
Check out Ernestine Shephard. She joined a gym and started lifting weights at age 56 and has never looked back. Now at 82, this body builder is not only in the best shape of her life, but she’s in better shape than people even less than half her age.
Sexy is for young folks.
Effortless appeal. That’s what Christie Brinkley brings. At 64, she can still rock a swimsuit like no other…effortlessly.
As you age, you’ll loose your sense of style.
Colors, brights, textures…please give me a break with leaving color and fashion for the “young folks”. If you don’t know Iris Apfel, you should get to know her. Fashion icon, business woman and rocking Instagram and fashion at 96 years old.
So I guess my point is..no, my best years are not behind me and it doesn’t all go “downhill from here”. Quite frankly, the best is yet to come!
PS. I’ll be celebrating my birthday all year long. Birthday gifts and wishes are still highly encouraged. (*smile)
Watch my five tips on aging gracefully and get some ideas on how to debunk these aging myths.