August 2015

On Men, Women, and Aging

Let's face it: speaking about aging is sensitive for both men and women. But should it necessarily be this way?

I remember one night conversation with my school girlfriends back in the days when I was fifteen and at a summer camp. We're lying in our beds in the big common bedroom and talking about... the time when we'll get old. (That's what I call a proper teen conversation!). I remember saying to the girls that in my opinion age was a nonsence. If you pretend not to notice, you don't care. The girls started laughing and making fun of me. They said: “Yes, Anna, we already imagine you somewhere in your 70th, crooked, leaning on your walking stick and repeating in a trembling voice that age is a nonsence!..”.


I'm still very far from my seventies, but I must confess I've lost that teen's careless approach to aging. Its place was taken by the careful one when I think aging is something we can't stop, however we can learn how to gracefully deal with it.


Aging is different for men and women.

Men can go on fathering children in their 50th, 60th and even 70th, while women are prisoners of their constantly tickling biological clock. At any age men loose weight faster than women. As if that was not enough, a man's skin is about 25% thicker than a woman's. Women, though, are more often those undergoing plastic surgery, tummy tucks, liposuction and other 'look-cotrolling' procedures.


On the other hand, somewhere in their early forties, a lot of men find themselves in
a devastating middle-age crisis which women normally don't suffer from. Also, research show women keep the result of weight loss longer and with a lesser effort than men. Paradoxically, woman's rate of depression, anxiety, and suicude drop as they grow older. Along with their age comes a highly developed set of coping skills, empathy, ability to listen, patience and courage to pursue new endeavors.


Looks like nature wisely balanced our aging differences, didn't it?


I think the situation with men, women and aging is that our world is panicking about it too much. In reproductive medicine, for example, cases when couples which consider themselves aging, rush into having IVF (in vitro fertilisation), even if they don't need it, are quite common. Our body is still ok, our fertility is still ok, but by whatever reason our diffident brain is telling us something else...

I do also panic, my friends panic, and friends of my friends panic. But more and more often I recall my own words about aging from when I was fifteen: „If you pretend not to notice, you don't care”. Sometimes kids are much more wise than adults.

I truly believe nature balances a plenty of things, aging included. If we were here to enjoy life only when we're young, the whole human existence wouldn't have made any sense. People all over the world don't die once they turn 30, do they? It means we're supposed to live longer, and to live a worthy life. I'm nearly excited when I meet people who can't care less about their age. Their energy comes before their wrinkles.

I believe aging is not a sentence, but simply one of our life exams. If we're well-prepared (healthy food, avoiding stress, working out...), we'll eventually pass it. Easily, gracefully and enjoying every single day of our life.