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I feel old: 3 tips on what to do in the face of this discomfort

I feel old: 3 tips on what to do in the face of this discomfort

September 6, 2023

That the current society puts a lot of pressure on us to give an attractive and desirable image is no secret. For decades now it has been written about how in apparently free countries there is a tendency to make all citizens fit into a mold of what is considered aesthetic, pleasant to look at. And that this pressure falls especially on women is not something that surprises anyone.

This phenomenon is related to the thought of "I feel old", very common in adult women from a great variety of ages. However, contrary to what one might think, the personal aspect is not the only thing that explains this phenomenon. Yes, it is true that there is an obsession with wrinkles, skin that loses firmness and gray hair, but the problem, although partly psychological and imagined, goes further. Understanding this is essential to stop feeling that anguish and sadness that a large part of the female population suffers.

In this article we will focus on what happens when a woman feels old despite not being very old, given that in the elderly people who feel old age as something bad, the problem is of another nature.

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The initial question: why do I feel old?

When it comes to alleviating the discomfort of this type, everything comes to understand what are the material reasons that lead us to feel old even long before entering the vital stage of old age, and feel bad about it . It is worth highlighting the latter, since old age itself does not have to be something that produces sadness; Although in practice it goes hand in hand with certain physical limitations, how we experience it when reaching this stage depends on how we value those limitations, not old age itself.

In women who feel very old despite not belonging to the elderly, what happens is that the concept of aging acts as a "bridge" between the way we imagine that real old age feels, on the one hand , and the current situation, on the other. And why does this happen? Fundamentally, so society dictates that a woman must be , not because of having entered into what biologically is the third age.

For centuries, women have been sexualized to the extreme, to the point of turning reproduction into their main task, together with the care of the home, which is the place where the fruits of that reproduction should be protected and educated. And as the watch of the reproduction runs somewhat faster than the life expectancy, during the earliest stage of youth concentrates all the social pressure to have children , while having passed this stage of life, the lesser chances of having babies are associated with old age in general, and with the uselessness in particular.

As much as we have advanced a lot in terms of sexism, the idea that the main objective of women is to attract a good husband and have children continues to weigh on the way in which we unconsciously value women. In a context in which the reproductive role of women is constantly remembered, the smallest signs of aging, which usually appear around the age of 25, can cause obsessive thoughts to appear. Sometimes, it is not even necessary to have seen objective signs of aging : it is very common for girls of 19 or 20 years to feel old when they anticipate the moment when they will stop looking so young, and consider it as next.

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What to do to get rid of that discomfort?

As we have seen, the thought of "I feel old" is based on a paradox. On the one hand, it relies on an imaginary preoccupation, which is usually not based on any specific feature of the body itself that is objectively harmful or makes it less functional. On the other, it is not simply a problem pertaining to the woman's mind as an individual, but it exists because Being a woman of a certain age has certain undesirable social consequences because of sexism.

Any initiative that a woman wants to take to stop feeling bad about having the age that she has, necessarily, to take actions to prevent the rest of society from assigning less value because she is not a post-adolescent. Thus, some useful suggestions to follow are the following.

1. Do not let your culture be limited to the mainstream

The mainstream culture is one that reproduces the most deep-rooted and widespread cultural vices, and if a woman is exposed exclusively to it, is much more likely to feel all the social pressure linked to gender roles .

Therefore, frequenting social environments in which the idealization of extreme youth has less power and is questioned, is very beneficial, since it provides a critical perspective that allows us to stop seeing what feels like an exclusively own problem, and move on to see it as the consequence of a social and historical phenomenon, which may disappear in the future.

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2. Search feminine solidarity networks

This measure is similar to the previous one, and has to do with stop relying solely on male approval , whose perception of women, traditionally, extols extreme youth. The simple fact of surrounding yourself with more women with this critical vision of what society expects from them is very beneficial.

3. Demystifying reproduction

As we have seen, the reproductive role assigned by society is part of the core of the problem. If it is said that men age better and more slowly than women, it is partly because the reproductive pressure does not fall on them: if they are parents or it does not matter much less than if a woman is or has been a mother or not.

So that, stop making life itself revolve around the creation of a family , as if you could not be happy outside of this (regardless of whether that family exists or not), is part of the solution to stop feeling old in the bad sense of the term.

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