Gerascophobia is apparently an extreme fear of aging. I recently ran into a reference to the “fear of aging” and it seems to be a lot more prevalent than I assumed. I mean, isn’t getting older kind of in the natural order of things?

And isn’t it preferable to not getting any older at all?

People have been decrying the “culture of youth” probably since there were young people in the culture, but I’m not attempting to minimize the fears of others. There are lots of dynamics attached to aging that become more real as we get closer to the exit.

And, of course, getting closer to the exit is one thing some people fear.

Other thoughts come to mind that would add to the apprehension of aging — the “what if’s.”

What if I am already in a health-compromised situation? Getting older may reduce the chances of possible interventions or possible cures.

What if all my friends grow old and die and I’m left isolated?

What if people think I’m somehow “less” just because I’m an elder?

In spite of what marketing might try to tell us, most of us can age without having to cave-in to every pill and device out there promising to “make-do” as we grow old.

The volume of ads we see would seem to indicate that as we accumulate more years, we naturally accumulate more diseases, and disabilities.

Maybe what we can think about is this: Other than carrying more years (and, I might add, more experience) is life any less certain than it was when we were 20? 40? 50?

While looking more deeply into all of this, one of the sites had a quote from Mark Twain: Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. Agreed.

Some helpful hints I found along the way:

• Keep in touch with friends — both old and new. Reach out to them even before they reach out to you. It’s a two-way street.

• Ask yourself: What am I interested in? Not only what have I always been interested in, but maybe something I’ve wondered about.

• Read a different genre than you’re used to. Might spark some new areas of interest.

• Recognize that if you had a longtime career, that it could have defined your life… but it very likely never was your whole life.

• Take some time to exercise. Add walking, tai chi, etc. to your routine — but allow it to be a “get to” versus a hard scheduled “have to.”

• Stretch your creativity. Always wanted to write, paint, sculpt? Give it a shot. You might surprise yourself.

• Explore your spirituality. Take some leisure time to reconnect and grow.

Aging is exploration in a variety of new landscapes. Appreciate the journey.

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