Better With Age

How to embrace each birthday and feel increasingly better in your own skin.



Istock/YvanDube

Remember back to when you were young and couldn’t wait for your next birthday to arrive? It wasn’t just the presents, party, and cake, but the idea that you were going to be another year older. You would be older, wiser, and that much closer to being a “grown-up” like your parents. And of course, it was that grown-up status that carried lots of perks like independence, staying-up late, and doing the things that you wanted to do. Aging meant that you could be more and more your own person.

So, when did that all change? What happened? Why did so many of us move from embracing and enjoying our birthdays to dreading them as if they were an emergency root canal?

What happened was that over the years as we transitioned into adulthood, unbeknownst to us our focus covertly changed from the inside to the outside. Instead of feeling what we felt (birthday excitement), we looked at how the outside world viewed the aging process and then we adopted that as our own view.  Every poster of a slim, dewy-skinned young model plunged a knife into the heart of our self-confidence, and every standardized visual of what was considered “attractive” looked less and less like us. We accepted many of these images of “beauty” hook, line, and sinker, and like a flailing fish, fought harder and harder to try to preserve the last gasps of our youth.

If you don’t agree with me, then imagine this: that somehow a paradigm shift occurs and the new standard for beauty is age. Yes, that’s right - age. Wrinkles are the rage, a sagging jaw line is considered sexy, and some stretched skin here and there is desirable! You may laugh at the thought, but the point underscored is that if somehow age did become fashionable and the standard of beauty shifted, then you would feel differently when you looked in the mirror.

So what to do about it? Choosing what we feel and choosing to feel good at any age is very much a function of cultivating healthy self-acceptance. Accepting who we are and how we look (even when we’re older) is really the key to feeling happy.

When you choose to base it on the inside and not the outside, then you are in control of how you feel. We know from all the tragedies in Hollywood that physical beauty is no determinant to how a person feels. And yes, while it is difficult to have our youthful looks fade, if we feel physically healthy and happy with the kind of person we are, then we are rich beyond measure. And, if we’re not physically healthy or content with whom we are, then those are the areas we can work to improve.

When my birthday approaches in December every year, I am grateful that I have had another full year to grow, to learn, and to love. And while I may not applaud the gray hair creeping in or the lines on my face, I do feel blessed that I have made it this far! I have had the privilege of seeing the years come and go, and the privilege of aging. I accept that how I look is now is how I am supposed to look in my 50’s.  

And that is my point; if we view getting older as a privilege and a gift - as opposed to something that we must work against – then aging becomes our friend and companion, not our enemy. There are never guarantees in life and so the most important thing to focus on is that we are here. Celebrate that you have many years to look back on, and many to look forward to. Your wrinkles are a testament to that and a blessing.

“Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty - they merely move it from their faces into their hearts.” Martin Buxbaum


Liz HoffmanLiz Hoffmann BA, MBA, CPC is a successful Executive and Personal coach and owner of Atlas Coaching LLC in Fairfield.  Liz coaches her clients to successfully navigate change and find greater satisfaction in their lives.  Her expertise is in relationship challenges, career situations, and health. Her coaching style is fun and interactive, and Liz’s true passion is in helping individuals to shed self-limiting beliefs, negative thought patterns, and unnecessary stress.

For more information on coaching and on Liz,  please visit Atlas Coaching LLC or email Liz »