A guide to ageing: 50 and beyond

Life lessons

A guide to ageing: 50 and beyond

When the Japanese mend broken pottery, they fill it with gold. They believe that when something has suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful. This art, known as Kintsugi, can provide many life lessons.

For starters, it can provide an invaluable lesson about our attitude towards ageing. Reaching midlife should be defining and positive, and not a crisis. 50 is the new 40, after all. It is a time to celebrate our life experiences and feel renewed and reenergised. At 50, we have probably achieved many of our life goals. The children have grown up by now, and we should finally have more time for ourselves.

Regardless of how liberated we are today, many women - and men - still think of ageing as a deterioration of their sense of self worth and quality of life. According to a survey by Pew Research Center, growing older seems to be a major concern for the Japanese, South Koreans, Germans and Spanish. To an extent it appears to be related to an adequate standard of living in old age. Countries where economic growth has been better seem to be more optimistic. Concerns also revolve around public healthcare expenditures, which are fast rising in most countries. 

Health wise

In such a scenario, investing in preventive healthcare may be a wise idea. It is a cheaper alternative to bearing the burden of curative healthcare costs, and can help individuals live longer and healthier. Adopting measures such as regular full-body checkups and screening, and healthy weight management can go a long way in improving overall health and curbing diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, hormonal imbalance and micro-vascular
disease (a type of heart disease more common in women). Also plan for your body’s metabolic slowdown: a diet rich in vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and reduced processed foods and sugars, and regular exercise will keep your heart healthy, and your body active.

Feel good

Ageing is also about feeling good about one’s self. If I feel good, I look good. Being older isn’t equivalent to being infirm, even though one can take note of one’s health, lifestyle and emotional quotient to improve the quality of life. In my 50s, I am proud to say that I am in better health, than many of the people I know!

Take care of mental health issues by getting rid of emotional baggage that stresses you out. Stay away from negative people, places and things. Look for positivity, and be grateful for what you have.

Stress not only causes a host of health problems like sleeplessness, depression and heart disease, but can also make you appear as much as 10 years older through telomere shortening, according to a study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco.

Do it now

Do things that you, perhaps, did not have time for before, like taking a holiday or trying your hand at a new sport. How about making time for the crossword, or even starting your own business? You could also go back to school - the oldest student at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad was 55 years old!

Be a role model to someone. Be optimistic. And don’t be apologetic about looking good. Set your own definition of beauty and ageing.

I see an increasing number of women - and men - opting for fillers and skin rejuvenation
therapies. They say it shaped their confidence. Your life, your choice.

So, live your life the way you choose to and forget your age - it’s just a number, after all.

(The author is the founder of VLCC Group)

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