"Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many." -Author Unknown

I am 37 years old, almost 38, and I am a member of the target market for the very loud, very pervasive and very damaging "anti-aging" movement. It's startling to find myself in this place, especially considering that three years ago, aging and its implications were the furthest things from my mind.

Now, within the second half of my 30s, culturally I am no longer "young," but urged to do what I can to "look young." I feel bombarded and beaten over the head with the message that it is not desired or beautiful to be the age that I am or the ages I am destined (hopefully) to become.

Therein lies the irony of this whole "anti-aging" thing-we want to grow old, but we don't want to look old.

When we fear aging and its physical manifestations, we cultivate and strengthen a collective fear of life and its natural process. If we are intent on believing the myth that aging is preventable and horrible, than we will miss something much larger, much more enduring and much more satisfying in our lives-we will miss the spiritual evolution of ourselves and our lives. We will miss the whole point of life-the cultivation of wisdom and the power to inspire future generations.

We need a new dialogue-in our heads, in our living rooms, at dining room tables and on walks with our friends. We do not have to accept the anti-aging myth. We can remind ourselves that aging is a natural (and desired!) part of life for every single living thing.

To stop this natural flow of life is as futile as plugging a hurricane with our finger.

We must gather our wisdom and courage and stop the desperate clawing of the anti-aging movement. We must see it and call it out for what it is-madness.

It is not easy to grow older. But we can choose to finally turn the focus away from our appearance toward our most valuable asset-our health. We can eat foods that give us energy. We can walk into the sunshine, rain or snow and we can breathe fresh air into our lungs and minds. Instead of spending our money on Botox treatments and special creams, we can spend our money on classes we've always wanted to take and plane tickets to places we've always wanted to see. We can find mentors in women who are living their lives to the fullest, deepening their laugh lines and crow's-feet unabashedly.

Let's choose a different dialogue. Let's get radical and choose to just accept it all-spread our arms, take a deep breath, stay connected with our sisters and leap joyfully into each and every season of our lives.

Janna Brayman Krawczyk is a writer and teacher living in Minneapolis with her two children and husband. www.ourlivesourstories.com.

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