Marcia Newman

Psychotherapist, Conscious Aging Consultant & Author

You’re OLD, I’m Not

A few days ago, I was sitting with a robust group of women who had invited me to come speak.   I began the discussion portion with some questions that help us take stock of our own age phobia. What happened next was completely unexpected.

One of the elder women cleared her throat and said “I’ve never admitted my true age out loud, to anyone. But today, I’ve decided it’s time to tell you all that I am 79 years old.” The entire room gasped.

Old Woman with Head Scarf

And then the avalanche of voices began.  Each one stating their name and their age out loud.   These women poured out their own stories of chronological age denial.  I felt like I was in a 12-Step room full of cocaine abusers admitting that wanted to get clean.

Yeah, the forces of aging denial in America are prolific. As I discuss in my book, Five Gifts of Pro-Aging our media and entertainment industry are more obsessed with celebrity baby bumps and the newest techniques of how to stop-the-clock. It’s rare that we receive news of positive stories for those of us in the second half of our lives.  Denial keeps one in the loop of being youth-obsessed and feeling more valuable.

Since birth, we’ve all been baking in this oven of time.  Yet, we still cling for more evidence of our youth.  If you’re like many Americans over 50, you think you’re not old and are not like most people over 50.  That’s the key finding in a recent AARP survey with 1,800 Americans. Eighty-five percent of respondents told us they’re not old yet. One 90-year-old woman actually said she isn’t “old” until she hits 95.   So, who is old?  It just depends who you ask.

Cherish the gift of authenticity,