If you scroll through my Twitter, you’ll see a lot of posts about grey hair sightings. You’ll read how terrified I am to get those pesky sparkly hairs that stick out like a sore thumb (to me, not to anyone else), to have wrinkles on my forehead that seems to be as deep as the Grand Canyon (also worse in my mind), and to just get boring in my old age.
If someone talks about how I need to “grow up” or tells me I’m immature, I thank them. I enjoy being young. I enjoy being silly and funny because I don’t want to be serious, and boring.
A few weeks ago it hit me that these are kind of ageist thoughts. Not in an “older people deserve less, or should be treated differently” way, but in a “I am so afraid to get older and be older that I don’t want to have any part of aging” way. No matter, though, it scared me to have such thoughts.
But because I know this mindset and this fear is a tad irrational and kind of mean, I started to really look into what my issue with aging is. And besides the societal pressures we have put on women to look young and fresh and to stay hip and relevant, I think I figured out it isn’t the act of getting older that I really fear.
After some soul searching, I realized it’s the not really living that actually bothers me. I’m not afraid to get old, I am afraid to die without having lived first. I’m afraid of getting to my grandmother’s age or even my mother’s age and realizing I forgot to do things. That I got old and didn’t pursue my dreams and my passions. That I am lying on my death bed, and I didn’t go on an adventure. That I passed up opportunities because I was afraid of failure. That I stayed stagnant. That I didn’t learn more. That I didn’t eat more yummy foods. That I stopped trying.
Aging doesn’t equate boring. It isn’t sad. It isn’t something to fear or to judge. It’s something we get the honor to embrace. It’s something to Welcome.