Just last weekend I posted to Instagram about the dry skin issues I’ve been having in the Aussie winter weather:
Among other suggestions, a good friend of mine suggested it could be an ageing thing. Say what?!!
Since her comment I’ve been thinking about all the things I’ve done my whole life, chasing eternal youth. I’ve used sunscreen meticulously since I was a teenager, drunk lots of water, used the same regime of various toners, exfoliators, serums and moisturisers for at least a decade and my skin was still dry and beginning to crinkle. Did she have a point?
This lead me on to a book I recently read, ‘Dynamic Aging’ by Katy Bowman (Amazon AU link here). This book is less about superficial youth (superficial as in the surface, not in the other more derogatory sense), but physical youth by strengthening and simply USING your body. And it highlighted to me how my 35 years of paying attention to the superficial had left my body far older than my 35 years.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a decrepit 35 year old. I am overweight, yes, but I am fit and strong. I walk a minimum of 5 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. And my job as a yarn dyer is actually quite physical involving a lot of lifting, stretching and moving. Since reading Katy’s book I’m actually upping my walks to multiple a day and also on weekends (when my foot injury isn’t flaring up that is. But that’s another story). And despite my efforts chasing young skin, it turns out the thing that ages me most is my body. Especially my weight.
So I don’t know whether it’s the chronological age and the gradual knowledge that comes with the advancing years that has expanded my idea of youth, or my vanity and long-held desire to be thin and fit. But either way I am taking steps to improve the physical. More on that in another post. 😉
How has your idea of youth and ageing changed over the years? Do you still strive to be young or are you comfortable as you are? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
One thought on “On ageing…”
Is it sad that I actually welcomed the drier skin of aging because I was so sick of the oil slick of youth on my face. Ha! I actually was too oily for my thirties because of hormonal problems, now I have just a little of both. (eye roll) I had a bit of a fear of being sickly that I didn’t recognize until I started to have those hormonal problems. The migraines and aching joints and fatigue made me think of my mother who had often had similar complaints, before she passed away from cancer. She was an incredible person, but always very frail and I think I feared becoming that, too. Of course, migraines don’t mean brain cancer, but subconsciously, I feared being sick like she was.
I didn’t recognize this fear until I was around thirty and the hormonal headaches, fatigue, and pain started. I tried resting for a while but then feared losing my vitality and pushed myself to perform like I was okay. I was active in some groups, busy with young children, I taught more martial arts classes than I wanted to, taught yoga, and took classes at the studio. I also ran. All of this is a big red flag to me now. I was doing too much. You can’t calm down hormones by being more physically intense. I should have been working on my sleep and backing out of responsibilities, but I feared if I didn’t “use it” I’d “lose it,” meaning my vitality. After a couple of years of that, it became obvious that it wasn’t a fluke or laziness on my part- something was wrong. I felt a little betrayed by my body. I read The Primal Blueprint and started to see that I needed to ease up on my activity level, or I’d burn out. I’m glad I started doing that then, because a couple more years of super stress were around the corner. I needed my strength for that time, as it was almost depleted once my grandparents passed away.
So I am trying to do what you are doing, Julieanne. I am trying to walk daily. Even if I do something else physical here or there, the walking is relaxing. I try to do it a few times a day, unless there’s some yard work or something I can do instead. I’m listening to my body. If I am exhausted I do a light walk with the dogs and that’s all. As my hormones are balancing I am gaining muscle again. It’s really in there somewhere, lol, and I’m interested to see all the ideas Katy has for building functional strength. I can feel strength returning to me slowly. I didn’t expect that. I was resigned to having been wrecked, so it encourages me.
I did have a sort of vanity issue too, in all of that. I never cared about being society’s idea of pretty. I wanted to be athletic. I was athletic…until I wasn’t. Maybe I will regain some of that athleticism, maybe not. I am trying to accept where I am and am pleasantly surprised when my body can do the things I like, like hike on a camping trip. Or when my skin started clearing up. My skin aged a lot in a short time due to stress, but I didn’t mind the wrinkles so much because I am so glad the acne is clearing up.
I know it is an even slower process for some people. They eat right to balance hormones and try to live right and are faced with roadblock after roadblock. So I am grateful that I’m not having a harder time feeling revived.
One thing I am realizing even more after my Katy Bowman immersion is that being strong and fit is a lifelong process and the minute I begin it, I am doing it and should feel encouraged by that.