Speaking Up for “Pro-Aging”

Being pro-age is the antidote to anti-age marketing, proclaims Debra D. Bass in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 06/06/2009.

“Aging is not optional, so forgive me if I’m a little annoyed by the ‘anti-age’ marketing bandwagon,” writes Ms. Bass. “…In response to the ridiculousness, I’ve adopted a pro-aging policy.”

So have I! I relish aging, because — let’s face it — the alternative is dying. Let’s see, aging… dying… aging… dying — is it even a fair fight to select the winner?

When Robert died — far too young, just 71, and in the prime of his emotional life, his creativity, and his ability to love fully — I wished he had been able to get old. Why do we fight it?

I knew a young (by my standards) man who was devastated by his oncoming 40th birthday. Loving his youth, good looks, and physical prowess, he kept saying, “I can’t turn 40!” He died in a motorcycle crash right before turning 40.

Be careful what you say and believe, and instead of fearing and hating aging, embrace it.

I grew up always looking years younger than I was, a real problem in my childhood and adolescence, but not so bad as the decades swiftly passed. Now, at 65, I do believe I look my age (remind me to post a current photo), and I’m happily settled into this aging process and the emotional growth that goes with it.

Don’t think I’m sitting back and letting my body fall apart: I dance nine or more hours a week, do an hour of Pilates twice a week, and aim for 10,000+ steps every day. (I wear an Omron pedometer everywhere, to the amusement of my friends.) I’m trying to redefine what aging looks like and feels like by staying physically and mentally fit and focused.

This blog is about sex and aging, and I firmly believe that how we feel about our own aging process affects everything else, including sex, relationships, the love we have to give, and our enjoyment of life. Robert and I gloried in our aging bodies. We saw wrinkles as badges of experience, and every tingly sensation we experienced together or apart was reason to exalt the joy (and face the challenges) of living in aging bodies.

Woman, 58, “heavier size,” wonders how to attract men

“Sassy” wrote me and asked,

How does one who is 58 almost 59, on the heavier size find someone who would want to go out with her… other than married men?? I do not want to ever get involved with a married man. I’ve been hurt because someone else has stepped in and has taken my man and I don’t ever want to do that to anyone!

Sassy, I don’t know why you think your options are limited to married men, just because you see yourself as heavy. Some single men are looking for slim women, yes, but many prefer women on the curvier side, and still others are looking for an emotional and intellectual connection that isn’t restricted to a particular waist size.

If the problem is, however, that your weight makes you feel unattractive, that might be what’s getting in the way of you attracting the men who interest you. We all have an intuitive sense when someone feels undesirable and self-critical, and that’s not a come-hither quality. Please look at whether you’re happy at your weight. If not, there are ways to change that. (You’ll see on my website that I’ve written several books about fitness and have recommendations of both books and videos for people who would like to get in better shape.) If you are happy the way you are, walk proudly with a swing in your step and a twinkle in your eye, and show the world that you know you’re got a lot to offer.

Since you brought up not wanting to get involved with a married man — there’s a terrific book out now: The Other Woman: 21 Wives and Lovers Talk Openly about Sex,Deception, Love, and Betrayal, edited by Victoria Zackheim. Some of the essays reflect the point of view of the “other woman,” others are the wives suffering through their husbands’ affairs. The book is strong, stark, and honest.