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Fear of aging

  • 05-06-2022 10:21pm
    Registered Users Posts: 144 ✭✭Marymoore

    I just wanted to see if anyone feels the same as me or if it’s abnormal to feel this way.. also any insight as to why I may be feeling this way would be helpful. So I’m a 39 year old woman and for the past year or so I’ve had this insane fear of getting old. I sometimes wake up and think I’m still 25 and then when I realise I’m almost 40 I panic. I feel like my life is almost over my youth is over and it makes me feel so afraid. Is it normal to feel this way? I’m afraid of looking old and going downhill from here it’s just a horrible feeling


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,625 ✭✭✭maebee

    Marymoore, Sorry, but being 40 and afraid of looking old is beyond ridiculous. My husband (of 36 years) and I are in our sixties. 2 weeks ago, he was diagnosed with cancer in the liver, kidneys and lungs. We'll gladly swap with you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,480 ✭✭✭YellowLead

    I’m almost 38. I feel young because I compare myself to elderly people rather than teens/twenties. I always think one day I’ll be nearly 50 or nearly 60 or 70 looking back thinking how young I was and how foolish to not have enjoyed it.

    Getting older is a privilege not everybody gets to enjoy.

    Of course I have panic moments, because I’m single. And fairly often too. But I’m just an awkward person so reckon I’d be just as single if I was 28. You have plenty of years left and you should be wise enough to make every moment count.

  • Registered Users Posts: 394 ✭✭Miadhc

    I'm mid 30s, I don't feel any different than I did when I was early 20s and those days seem like last week , but at the same time I am aware I'm getting older and yeah it feels strange. You're not alone.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 24,016 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    I’m not afraid of ageing but I’m more aware of it.

    a cousin of mine is 52 and on seeing her about a month ago…..the girl who never aged just look like she had begun to.

    because of a medical condition I’ve had for the first time had to look after my health and embrace a whole different lifestyle..but loving it

    gym, healthier eating, no alcohol…. Perfect, feel better, look better, more energy and determined to keep going on that pathway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 799 ✭✭✭who what when

    @maebae I'm not sure if you read her post but what you propose is the exact thing she fears, ie getting older!

  • Registered Users Posts: 372 ✭✭john123470

    You don't mention if you have kids, Mary

    For some, growing older - without offspring - can exacerbate the anxiety about aging. People fear being alone with no one to care for them

    It is easy to say "make every second count / live your life to the full" etc .. but i think Time militates against our feeble efforts.

    We can make vain attempts at changing this dynamic but - for the most part - we are powerless. Time sweeps it all away

    The closest I've come to conquering this anxiety is through being lost in eg helping others / forgetting - not being conscious of myself. I don't always manage it but, ime, these were the times when the anxiety was most absent

    Mary, 39 is still "young" in the grand scheme - but it is good to ask these questions. It allows you to evaluate your current existence / expectations and prepare to adapt to the inevitable changes that will come with growing older

    Here comes "the slow movement" in the Symphony of life but no less beautiful for that. Winter is just another season


    What really baffles me though is not so much the inevitability of aging but the existence of guilt ie. when it comes to looking back on life

    I mean - soon to be dead - what purpose can it possibly serve - ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 623 ✭✭✭

    Looking at rte news last night...there was a interview with Liz O' Donnell former high profile TD/minister who's now with road safety authority...I honestly didn't recognise her at first as she has defo aged a lot since her parliamentary days...still looks well for 65 though

    Post edited by on

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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,609 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    Oh I'd say we've all had similar thoughts OP.

    I don't remember panicking at turning 40 but certainly I've had my moments. But they're only moments. As a whole, I much prefer my life and attitude now to when I was younger.

    Be happy with who you are. Be happy in your own skin. And do things that you enjoy. It can be so much better this side of 40!

    I know it's a cliche, but getting older is a privilege not everyone gets to experience. Embrace it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 144 ✭✭Marymoore

    Thank you so much everyone for your replies and help and to most of you for not judging me. I amnt choosing to feel this way I try to forget about it during the day but I just wake up and freak out and panic. Thanks for understanding.

    haha you’re right “don’t mind me” I’m still a young thing to 70 year olds etc..

    “yellow lead”- I can totally relate to how you feel. I’m also worrying that lll look back and realise i wasted these years worrying and not enjoying them.

    ”Joslyn Important Gunpoint”- see the problem is I do enjoy night clubs and I actually still feel 22.. I haven’t grown on the inside and it makes me depressed. I was never a party animal and always led a pretty quiet life so maybe it’s coming out now I’ve no idea (I’m still not a party animal but the odd time I’ve been out has left me craving more)…. I met up with my best friend from my 20s. I met her when we were 15 anyway I met her a little while ago and I can see has aged personality wise. Although we both still look you enough, she is so settled.. she couldn’t bare even going for a drink and only goes for meals with her husband. She complains about being tired and just wanting to stay home all the time etc. She completely lost the giddiness from our youth and I still feel like that same girl 20 years ago. Why didn’t I get old inside like she did.. will I feel old inside someday i just find it all so confusing and frightening.. anyway thanks

  • When you say grow on the inside then I wonder do people change that much anyway over time? Like if you are giddy and energetic when you are young then there is a good chance that you will be like that in middle age etc.

    Id say a lot of people feel like their peers only talk kids and want to be at home when they hit their late 30s.

    There aren’t as many social outlets for people over 30 as I’d say less people that cohort aren’t out.

    Its a good way to be to go out and to crave more nights out as it shows you aren’t overdoing it.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,609 Mod ✭✭✭✭Hannibal_Smith

    Why didn't I get old inside like she did...there's a comment to make about a friend 😀 Is she raising kids? That'll tire you! If she's happy with her life as it is that's good enough for her.

    You're both the same age, so it's not that she's getting old she just doesn't enjoy the same things you do.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,480 ✭✭✭YellowLead

    Not everybody ‘gets old inside’ Some people are youthful in personality well into old age and until they die. I plan to be, I don’t want that to change.

  • Registered Users Posts: 939 ✭✭✭bitofabind

    I get it. I don't think many people are excited at the idea of getting older, looking older, the door closing to the opportunities that come with being young. It's hard anyway; I sometimes think being a woman, and then being a woman in her 30s can make it even harder. We're supposed to be young forever, then invisible after a certain age, we're supposed to be mothers, home-makers and then career women too; then the timeline for kids gets real. It's hard, you're not alone in that.

    What makes it easier for me, is reminding myself of what I know now that I didn't know ten years ago. One of those things is the knowledge that what everyone else is up to is none of my business and my life is my own to figure out. So in that sense, relief from the pressures I felt when I was ten years younger. Also the wisdom to see that the fear of getting older is so, so much worse than ACTUALLY getting older. I thought thirty was old as a 20 year old: now I can see how incredibly young it is. I thought I'd become "less attractive", now I see how unimportant (and untrue, I'm a ride at 37 :D) that actually is. Could give two shytes about how I rate compared to my peers now. I'm shrewd enough to see through bs now; I'm smart and experienced enough to make much better money; I've got better perspective now so can make harder decisions a lot more easily - nothing is worth sticking with if it makes me miserable, unhealthy, unendingly stressed and I prioritise accordingly. I've been around the block enough to know my limits: so I don't push myself beyond my boundaries or people please myself into a hole anymore. And I can hold my own at a dinner party as I've seen a fair bit of the world and got the stories to tell about it.

    The feelings are normal. Lean into them; none of us want to age. But this is all one big journey that the lucky ones amongst us will go on, so it's best to reconcile with it and figure out what the best life looks like FOR YOU. What does 40 look like for you? What about 50? Where would you like to be? What would you like to be doing? Who would you like to be with? Do what you can to figure those things out, and to set yourself off in the direction that works best for you. The ageing bit becomes less scary alongside that.

  • That’s a good way of looking at it.

    I think a lot of the reason youth is valued is that you have time ahead of you.

    Maintaining a positive attitude valuing your gain in experience as a balance to ageing appearance allows for a more honest reflection.

    I think acceptance of ageing helps a lot to. Lots of people over 40 have good social lives, are active and young at heart.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,639 ✭✭✭completedit

    It happens to all of us though. To be honest much more aggrieved to have been born less attractive or shorter or whatever. Getting older is the great equaliser. Nobody escapes it. It's just something you adapt to I think. It is normal to feel crap about it but then I think perspective takes over

  • Registered Users Posts: 21 Wifey82

    I started to feel exactly like this last year right before I turned 40.

    I think it’s quite common to feel this way as you are embracing a new decade of your life.My mother passed away when she was 43 so I try live my life to the fullest for her.

    best of luck!!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,829 ✭✭✭rolling boh

    I think its quite common for people to think about ageing especially when you hit the roundy birthdays each decade seems to be a different stage so as you cannot halt getting older you have to try and look at all the positives and make the best of things .

  • Registered Users Posts: 506 ✭✭✭asdfg87

    Have youj ever had a real intikmate relationship which for me would be with a man. but i understand others have dkifferent ideas.