The Truth About Aging

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Given our advancements in technology, the day may come when we actually reverse or even stop the aging process. In the meantime, it’s estimated that by 2020 the global market for anti-aging products will be worth $331.3 billion. The only thing money has purchased thus far is a temporary gloss-over of the aging process. We can make ourselves look and even feel younger, but so far, no one has penetrated that seeming impermeable barrier of advancing age. To the contrary, French fashion designer, Coco Chanel (1883-1971) probably got it right when she said, “Nothing makes a woman [or a man] look so old as trying desperately hard to look young.

It’s understandable that we prefer youth to aging, especially when aging is accompanied by a deterioration of our physical and/or mental faculties. An important aspect we overlook, however, is the thing that happens when we gaze into the mirror and see that increasingly lined face looking back at us. Our soul is certain that it is not that aging person we see. From our soul’s perspective, we’re still at the peak of youth and vitality. The changes we observe are not us, but another we scarcely recognize.

The soul is correct. I’ve wondered how many bodies I’ve seen staring back at me from a mirror. I don’t dwell on this sort of thing, but I accept that it’s true. I am not this physical vehicle that allows me to interface with my material environment. But I live in a culture that seems determined to lure me into thinking otherwise. Science tells me that my body and brain are all I am. Religion tells me that missteps while in this body can earn me an eternity in hell. Society tells me that the comfort and preservation of this body takes precedence over every other consideration.

To make peace with our aging body, we must first find the peace of our soul. The day will come for each one of us when we step from the confines of the body. I think we will look back on this time and say to ourselves, “If I only knew then what I can see clearly now, I would have lived a freer, happier life in my body.” I don’t think this realization has to wait. Let’s work toward knowing now what we will surely know then.



One thought on “The Truth About Aging

  1. I don’t look in the mirror so much any more–only when I have to. It does not occur to me, now that I am nearly 80. But for many years now, I have thought of myself as being in my 40s. It is a shock to realize (when I move) that I can’t do things so easily as I did as a 40-year-old. But I think you are right: we are not the body that we see in the mirror, nor the one that aches when we move.

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