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What is Aging? Really?

There is a lot of talk about aging. Mostly negative. But what is it? Really?

Over the years, I have experienced very different perspectives on what ‘aging’ is. Let’s look at definitions of aging.

What most people nowadays do when looking for something is google. So I went to Google too to see what comes up when I search for ‘aging’.

Google defines aging as the “process of growing old” and for material things as “reaching the end of useful life; obsolescent”.

What I find shocking about this view is that it basically sees aging as a process of deterioration. Falling apart physically, mentally, and even emotionally.

Yes, there are some grumpy, old, stuck, ill people out there.

But who says that they should be the standard we measure our own life on? Who says that we have to be frail, lose our memory? That things have to get worse with every additional year?

This view on aging drives me mad. Unfortunately, this deterioration theory-based view on aging is a very common belief. And it is heavily supported by media and industry who – of course – want to sell you something. And selling based on fear works so much better than anything else.

Is Aging normal?

Today’s society seems to ‘prove’ that aging is normal.

Look around you. I’m sure you know of mothers, fathers, aunts, … who aged early or have wrinkles, ailments. And you might have colleagues, friends, … who have fallen into what I call the ‘aging trap’ already.

But do not take them as a standard. Just because statistically they are the standard, doesn’t mean that it is ‘normal’.

Today’s research shows that we can live up to about 130 years, maybe even 150 years.

And I love that Aubrey de Grey says that he believes that the first person to reach 1 000 years is already born. Admittedly, that might be a bit challenging but – why not.

What is Aging really - A DefinitionImagine what you could do and achieve if you would live that long …. in perfect health

You could design the perfect life, try different things, take years off to experience something different, or – if that pleases you more – really dig in and make your dreams and vision a reality.

But let’s come back to the definitions of aging. The National Institute on Aging says: “aging reflects all the changes that occur over the course of life”.

What is interesting is that they don’t actually say when those changes start but you can expect that they mean from conception on.

We are changing all the time, so we basically age all the time too. I find that this is a very positive view. Just think about the biggest successes you had in your life and in your business. They were all due to some type of change, right?

What about Anti-Aging?

You might be wondering by now what my own view on aging is. As you probably know I had been working as the ‘Forever Young Coach’ and not the ‘Anti-Aging Coach’. Actually, I did call myself that for a month or two when I started out because I thought that by doing that I would be easier found on the Internet and – to be honest – I was a little bit afraid of the responsibility this puts on me. It means that I am actually a role model.

But after reflecting for a little while on my beliefs, I could not stay on the negative side. Even though in theory ‘anti’-aging sounds positive, it still means that you have to think about aging first.

What is aging? Really? In this article, we look at different perspectives of aging & antiaging and the one main factor that keeps you youngJust try for instance not to think about a pink elephant right now. Are you not thinking about that bright pink elephant with huge ears that is spraying a wonderful cool blue fountain of refreshing water on you? …

I’m sure all you could do is think about that elephant, even though I told you NOT to think about it. And that is exactly what happens with ‘anti-aging’.

But this is not the actual problem. The problem is that the word ‘aging’ has gotten quite a negative taste to it by now. So just when we hear it, most people think about becoming frail, ill, miserable. Not a nice thought to keep coming to your mind.

And the ‘anti’ sounds too much like a battle and not like a journey that is so much fun and lets us enjoy life more fully.

And if that is not all to move away from ‘aging’, then maybe this is it. THE MAIN common factor in pretty much all research of people who lived a very long time is their mindset. They saw themselves as young.

After all my research and experiences, it is my strong belief that it is much better to think about FEELING YOUNG – or if you want YOUthful – at any age than about aging.

So how would I define being young?

Let’s keep this for another story. Check it out here.

Ines O'Donovan, PhD
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