How Do We Manage the Emotional Changes that Come With Aging?
Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Is turning 50 really a pivotal time in a woman’s life? Anecdotally, the answer to that is yes! Hello 50 emerged based on the assumption that aging has not only a physical impact but there are real emotional changes that accompany milestone birthdays. Why are we so impacted emotionally and what can we do to counteract negative emotions associated with aging?
1) We feel we lost our purpose: Many women have focused much of their adult years on nurturing their family. Their children are grown and in some cases they are divorced. They find themselves ill-prepared to redirect that care-taking energy.
2) Young people rule: We see CEO’s and entrepreneurs young enough to be our children and grandchildren. This can make some women feel inadequate or that they have little to offer. We grew up in a time period when our elders were wise. Given societal changes and the onslaught of technology, nowadays, young people seem to be the “all knowing.”
3) Our perspective is not valued: Unfortunately, some women as we age feel minimized, albeit real or imagined. I have heard my mother-in-law say many times “I am just the old lady in the room and no one cares what I have to say.”
4) We struggle with body image issues: Call it society or marketing but many women feel their self-worth is connected to their appearance. If they no longer dazzle a room when they walk through the door, their self-worth is severely impacted.
The good news is if we confront these challenges and flip the switch on our mindset, we could actually open the doors to endless opportunities. Cecilia Dintino, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Co-Host of the podcast Twisting the Plot, offers suggestions that we can implement today:
1) Re-write the script of our lives. Instead of being caught up in who we always were, realize it is not too late to become who we now want to be.
2) Connect with young people. Read their books, listen to their music and understand their politics. The more we understand diverse perspectives, the more we can influence as well as learn and grow.
3) Rather than allowing our voice to be minimized, take action to be heard. We have life knowledge and experiences that provide real benefits to others. Speak up by telling stories, writing a blog or sharing your wisdom.
4) Celebrate who we are inside and out. Take care of ourselves emotionally and physically but invest energy in our future potential and not harping on our wrinkles.
We all can recognize the challenges associated with emotional changes as we age but the time is now to focus on what we can do, not what we see in the rear view mirror.