Existential Psychology

Fear of Aging For The Young Person

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Most of us are terrified of dying, though we repress this fear from our conscious awareness. But there is nothing quite like the process of aging to forcefully remind us that we are indeed organisms tied to the natural world, that however godlike we fancy ourselves our bodies disagree with us, betraying our fragility and ultimate mortality.

Many young people claim they are not afraid of dying, but they will admit to being afraid of aging, which amounts to pretty much the same thing. It’s the recognition of not being a static entity, that change is an unalterable fact of life. And with this recognition comes existential anxiety.

There are a few ideas for helping to allay the fear of aging for the young person. The first is that worrying only serves a purpose if you have some ability, however small, to influence the outcome. Aging is inevitable, and therefore worrying about it is pointless. The same can be said for the fear of dying. Take Sigmund Freud, a man who never let a day pass him by without being gripped by the terror of dying. But die he did, just as every human being must, and all his terror accomplished was to lessen the quality of his life.

Actually the positive side of being worried about something is that it means this something has not yet come to pass. In the case of aging, one way to allay your fear is simply to refocus on the present moment and realize that while the decline you are worried about is inevitable, it hasn’t happened yet. Your body still works great and you’re still young, capable of all the physical activities you enjoy doing.

The final point is that you can use your concern to remember to live a healthy lifestyle. While there is nothing you can do to change the inevitable, there is a great deal you can do to influence the course of your aging by taking really good care of yourself right now through healthy eating and exercise, (we believe yoga is the best) and continuing these practices for the rest of your life. This is really the only power you do have against aging and if you’re so worried about it, don’t let the fact that you are young and healthy now despite an unhealthy lifestyle keep you from the realization that your bad habits will probably catch up with you down the road.