Flip Your Script

John J. Schessler, Wellness Coach/Personal Trainer

Growing old gracefully.

It’s 2022 and for those of us born in 1982 (this guy!!), we all just or will be very shortly turning 40 years old. OMG, what!? I can still remember being in my 20’s, attending college and hanging out with friends and such. Say what you want but time is extremely relative and it flies by super fast. Have you noticed though that a lot of people in their 30’s to mid-50’s don’t look their age? In fact most of us in that age grouping, tend to look younger than we actually are. I wish I could say that it was attributed to drinking water from some sort of magical fountain of youth but obviously it’s not. So what’s the secret to keeping yourself looking young and feeling young?

In America we have a youth-obsessed culture and we’ve been that way for quite some time now. I remember when plastic surgery was growing in popularity in the 80’s. Unless you had a lot of money at your disposal, odds were that there would be no face lift for Christmas that year for you, lol. Fast forward to today, millions of Americans have taken the leap and have been indulging into getting all different kinds of elective procedures to help make their appearance improved upon. It’s true that some people to medically need surgeries such as liposuction or lap-band surgery because sometimes they are medically necessary to help prolong the life of that person. Of course, these surgeries are not what I’m talking about. That being said, the appeal and the allure of wanting to get plastic surgery or some sort of cosmetic procedure is very seductive for a lot of people to wrestle with.

With all the pills, lotions, surgeries, etc., no one can stop the aging process but we are able to pump the brakes on it just a little bit. Thanks to medical science advancements over the years, there have been some breakthroughs in prolonging our joint health, helping our bodies fight certain diseases and using anti-aging cosmetics. Does this mean that we should stop growing old gracefully all together, try and pickle ourselves in lotions and live to be 100? Nope. Nor should we want to. Many people view growing older as a proverbial badge of honor that a lot of human beings are privy to. Once you reach a certain age, you want to stop living like the rest and start living you best. Aging gracefully means different things to men and women and it’s interesting how we each handle this fact of life. Concerning women, a lot of them get angry and bitter….which is totally understandable. In a world where you are judged most of the time on how you look, when those looks fade, I’d be angry too. However, not all women feel this way and some take on a very positive outlook on getting older. Some women opt to do a lot of self-reflection and inner-body work on themselves. These women have learned that you can re-write your story at any age and fully embrace yourself for who you are now, not who you used to be.

Men tend to view things a little bit differently in this subject. With how very little a lot of men express feelings outwardly, it’s no surprise that on this topic it would be any different. With aging, men tend to go a few ways when coming to terms with it. We either don’t acknowledge it at all, remaining stoic and acting like it doesn’t bother us to not resemble the captain of the football team when you look in the mirror anymore. It does bother us though, more than we care to admit to be perfectly honest with you because we aren’t the young bucks we were once and again, there is some wrestling with those feelings that each of us has to do. We make stupid jokes about ourselves and how ‘the parts don’t work as well as they used to’ and things like that. This is actually a great way to view getting older and coming to terms with the inevitable. Not taking yourself too seriously and taking the time to laugh at yourself every now and then is healing and that in itself is a great life lesson.

Submitting yourself to getting older doesn’t mean that you should stop doing the things you enjoy or stop taking care of yourself. It is extremely important for older adults to continue to exercise regularly and keep visiting your doctor to make sure that everything is doing what it needs to be doing inside of your body.

We’re all going to get older and have more limitations put on ourselves physically as well as mentally. Just as fast as our lives began, in the blink of an eye, it ends. There is a Latin phrase that’s very appropriate, ‘Memento Mori’, meaning “Remember you too will die.” Keeping this in mind isn’t meant to scare you or to make you feel sad in any way but it’s to help you put things into perspective and help you to breathe a little easier. Growing older gracefully is all a point of view and if you have a positive mindset, your natural beauty will definitely shine through the wrinkles and hang around that much longer.

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John J. Schessler is a Pittsburgh-based Wellness Coach, Personal Trainer, Men’s Life Coach and host of the podcast, “ManAlive!”, available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. He is a graduate of Penn State University ’05 with a degree in Corporate Communications and Psychology. He has been working in the fitness and health fields for the past 15 years with patients and clients from all walks of life. For booking or personal training information, please email: j.schessler@pghwellnesscoach.com.

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