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Author: Brigitte M. Gesund


Signs of aging

Every woman on TV is between 17 and 23 and every one of them is gorgeous. Youth screams at us from the advertising industry! I see women every day who apparently want to hide the fact that they aren't teenagers anymore by dressing like them, dyeing their hair and talking slang.
 
We know innately that wisdom, depth and appreciation for life come as we age, yet we don't want to admit we're not young any more. We pretend we're still teenagers with all the vitality it takes to conquer the world. Surely we're immortal. Our society worships at the Fountain of Youth.

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I notice my typing hands. The skin is thin and fragile and my veins are standing up blue through the wrinkles. Those couldn't be my hands! When I look in the mirror, I don't look too closely at the wrinkly places around my eyes.
 
These are only a few of the many outward signs of aging I'm experiencing. I really try to ignore the less visible ones, such as getting out of breath when I walk and my aching feet. I try to hide these difficulties from my friends. And I sure hope they don't notice those, ah, 'dropouts', when I just can't remember why I walked over here..
 
When I notice a new sign of aging in my body, I've gotten really good at immediately thinking of something else. However, down deep I know I'm denying what's happening with me, and it's getting worse. But, hey. I'm busy. I've got so much to do; I don't have time for this. I can push on through, just like I've always done, can't I?
 
It's easier to see the trend in someone else. One of my friends, Susan, who I've known well for about six years now, is starting to go senile. She keeps saying she's still recovering from a head injury. She's been staying with me for a few months, so I've had a chance to observe behaviors she's unaware of. The number of little things she forgets is quite disturbing. My pots and pans are really suffering because she burns dinner as often as she makes it. Her 'senior moments' come thick and heavy. She forgets our conversations. I've talked to her about this. She keeps reassuring me, 'I'm getting better'.
 
Another friend, Buryl, slurs his speech. He can't hear well. He also shuffles, limps, and he burns pans when cooking, too. He washes dishes, and they're still covered with food. He doesn't have medical insurance and he's living out of his van now. He can't see a computer screen and his fingers can't move well to type, but he keeps talking like his next big break is just around the corner.
 
Growing old is inevitable, and being in denial about it is deadly! It's important to hear the early signs of trouble, and we're the only ones who can do it! What happens when you ignore a toothache? Our bodies give us many signs of trouble before these signs mushroom into screaming pain.
 
Taking on denial isn't easy. Human beings are masters at ignoring something if it isn't fun. We've been taught that when you're in pain you should do something quickly to end it. Then you don't have to remember that anything's wrong. But, generally, when we refuse to deny something, we grow as people. Therefore, we can allow pain to tell us that we should pay attention. When we do this, the wisdom of aging emerges.


 

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