The circle of life is from the cradle to the grave, and aging is a process many would love to avoid. The thoughts of retirement may seem frightening. Why are people so afraid of getting older? Is there a better way to cope with this inevitable process?
Of course, it would be nice if you could turn back time and not age so quickly, but we all know that is not possible. The journey from beginning to end has many twists and turns, but the thought of the final stretch is more than some can bear.
Eleven Common Reasons Why People Are Afraid of Aging
If you’re apprehensive about getting older, you’re not alone. One study determined that more than 87 people have a fear of getting older. Here are some common reasons why retirement and getting older scare some people.
1. You Hear Your Biological Clock Tick As You’re Getting Older
You often hear women talk about their biological clock ticking. If you want to have children, you have a short window to do so in your life. Your chances of having a child with a genetic defect increase over 35, yet women are still having babies in their late forties these days.
If you haven’t started your family, you might hear the alarm blasting on your biological clock. While men don’t give birth, they certainly feel the pangs of longing to settle down and start a family. The fear of being at retirement age with no grandkids or immediate family can be overwhelming, as your children are who take care of you when you’re older.
2. You Fear Diseases and Cancers
The chance of developing diseases and cancers increases as you age. Getting older makes you more susceptible to dementia, Parkinson’s, arthritis, heart disease, cataracts, and diabetes. No one wants to be sick and unable to get out and live the life they’ve become accustomed to, so the thought of these conditions is overwhelming.
So often, individuals spend their lives working and trying to raise a family that they run out of time to fulfill their bucket list. Make sure you make time for self-care and to do the things that make you happy. Getting older happens in the blink of an eye, and you want to make sure you can look back and be satisfied with your life.
The key is never to wait till retirement to start living, as it might be too late. No one is promised tomorrow, so you must learn to live in the moment. The older you get, the less time you have, so don’t put off your bucket list.
3. You Fear Aging Decreases Your Employment Prospects
While it’s illegal in this country to fire someone for their age, a business always has a way to get around those legalities. When you’ve been with a company for many years, you demand higher wages than someone just starting. Companies often need to tighten their belts, so they may choose to bring on younger people rather than continuing to pay higher salaries.
Another issue is that younger people are full of ideas and new inventive ways of doing things. When you’ve become accustomed to a particular way of doing business, it’s hard to teach an “old dog” new tricks. You may feel like you’re not as valuable and can easily be bought out for early retirement or pushed out for a younger, hipper employee.
4. You Fear Getting Older Will Make You Less Attractive
One thing that certainly changes as you age is your appeal. The once brown locks fade to a gray color, and the skin that would bounce back like a rubber band is now loose and saggy. Looking in the mirror is a constant reminder that you’re aging fast.
Americans put a lot of emphasis on how you look, while other countries embrace the aging process as it comes with wisdom. Why are so many people getting face lifts, breast augmentation, and other procedures to fight Mother Nature?
You can be beautiful at any age. No, you might not look like you did in high school, but when you eat healthily and live an active lifestyle, it does reflect on you. You can always tell a person who doesn’t smoke or take drugs by the appearance of their skin.
5. Saying Goodbye to Loved Ones Is a Natural Part of Aging
The longer you live on this earth, the more people you will see pass on. Getting older is a challenge in and of itself, but when you start saying goodbye to people who’ve meant so much to you, it changes everything. Losing someone close to you is a threat that’s all too real.
Many people outlive their children, and the loss of the child is something that no one should go through at any age. People in nursing homes across this country have outlived their friends and relatives, and it’s scary to be alone and feeble with no one but staff to assist. Aging makes you constantly aware of the circle of life, and attending funerals becomes commonplace.
6. Becoming Invisible
When you’re younger, you get whistles when you walk down the street, people ask for your phone number, and you’ve noticed. However, there’s a certain age point where all that changes. You feel that no one turns their head twice to consider you an object of desire.
There’s no one whispering that you’re hot or cute to their friend–you feel that you may to vanish into the background. Your choice of clothing changes to a more modest style, you mind your own business when you’re out and about, and you only frequent places that respectable people will go. This is all part of the retirement years, and aging makes you less likely to get the attention you once garnered.
7. You Don’t Like the Appearance of the Wrinkles That Come With Getting Older
You can fight wrinkles with serums and healthy eating, but these lines will eventually be more powerful than you can defend. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons explain that people in the United States spend over $16 million a year on plastic surgery, most of which is to try to erase the damage done over time.
The most common wrinkles are laugh lines and crow’s feet. Why not look at the lines around your face to indicate that you had much to smile about in your life? Perception is your reality, and very few people age without any wrinkles.
8. There’s No More Time for Major Decisions
When you’re young, the world is your oyster. You can decide if and when you will go to college, what you want to be in life, and if you’ll have a family. Once you hit a certain age, these choices are already made and hard to change.
For instance, a woman in her fifties is more towards retirement age than starting in the workforce. It’s only natural that she might feel like it’s too late to further her education or have the family she didn’t have time for in the past. While you should know that it’s never too late to fulfill your dreams, aging does complicate things.
For some, the fear of being out of time is crippling. You often see people have a mid-life crisis during their fifties or sixties because the truth of aging is hard to accept. Men usually buy expensive sports cars trying to recapture some of their youth, and women will dye and cut their hair in styles to make them appear younger.
9. Your Vocabulary and Perception Changes
One thing that you will notice is that your perception of yourself changes. Getting older means you change the words you use to describe yourself. You think of the younger crowd as babies, innocent, cute, child-like, and millennials.
When you think of yourself, you use terms like old, wise, elderly, senior, mature, baby boomer, or experienced. Why is it that these words are so bothersome to your esteem? Hearing someone say this older lady or gentlemen can strike fear in your heart, as you’re no longer considered young by the world around you.
10. You’re Afraid of Becoming Lonely and Grumpy as a Result of Aging
Aging does take its toll on your body. You’re tired from a well-lived life, and you may be lonely. The longer you make it on this earth, the more likely you will lose those around you, possibly even your spouse. When you add the aches and pangs, you feel lonely each day, enough to make anyone tired and grumpy.
11. Memory Loss Associated With Aging Is Terrifying
Memory loss often as you age. You may have once had a stellar memory that could recall the smallest things, but it’s only natural for that to decline. Additionally, the chances of developing conditions like dementia that take away your ability to recognize the face of your loved ones can be frightening.
Final Thoughts on Being Afraid of Aging
Are you afraid of aging? While there will be some physical limitations and ailments that you must consider, you can still be young at heart. It’s time to change society’s view of the older generation and those heading towards retirement.
The more you plan for retirement, the better you will be. Having adequate savings, making plans for your care, and doing things to ensure you’re set will help ease this anxiety. Lastly, it’s time to embrace your years and live each one to the fullest. Whether you’re 25 or 75 doesn’t matter, as you can still live an active and exciting life while getting older.