As I climb the steady ladder of ever increasing age, I find myself courting the senior fringe of life. AARP has found me and is tapping ever so gently on by backside, reminding me I am on an inevitable trek to oldness.
I in turn must remind myself everyday that it is a privilege to meet my birth date every year, enabling me with one more year in the gift of life.
But really, what is old anyway? I witnessed the beautiful form of a 1956 Corvette slip on by me, its perfectly painted cherry red body glistened its defiance of being termed old. That metal body has been through an entire overhaul for sure. But ask any true car lover and they’ll tell you, “yeah it looks good but what’s under the hood?”
And so it is with our own bodies. But unlike the Corvette, how the inside of the body is working will inevitably in the long run give you what is happening on the outside of it. The young with the gift of low mileage riding their decisions fail to take heed of the time ticking away while inside them the silent workings pump blood and make cells, as if this process would continue forever.
But the mechanics of youth is governed not only by gravity, but by many factors that coalesce to bring on what we all hate to hear: aging.
The opposite of that is anti-aging, and I dislike that term as well. Anti means being against, and that means opposition, which means opposing a force that takes us from innocence to wisdom in a journey so personal and unique.
But I am finding there are basically two avenues that one can ride, and it consists of a short route or a long one.
With insatiable appetites for looking beautiful coupled with negligence (maybe ignorance?) of what goes on inside the body, this road produces short term effects of great physical appearances for a small amount of time.
Smoking, drinking alcohol, eating rich foods, and lack of exercise all contribute to aging the body. Couple that with a rising steady stream of toxins everywhere with the everyday stress of modern living, and the body – even the strongest ones – slowly breaks down. Heart attacks, diabetes, and high cholesterol are signs that every day habits imparted to the body are not beneficial, and the results manifested truly are preventable with care and concern for the inner workings of the body.
Instead, paralyzing facial muscles to simulate youthfulness garners the attention, a short term fix indeed. But there is a longer road to take that allows youthfulness and beauty to stay, where aging gracefully doesn’t mean simply acceptance.
I see it manifesting with a new twist on the fountain of youth, focusing on rejuvenation as a promising promotion on how we age. It’s an old story run new, an understanding that the stress the body endures with every day living, whether it’s in our control or not, can be relieved with a boost on the insides, giving its mechanics new life and disease a kick in the butt.
The thing is, it’s not one simple treatment or answer, hence the longer road. Dr. Garrett Wdowin, Medical Director at Renew Integrative Naturopathic Medicine of Newport Beach who is completing a fellowship in Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, says it involves identifying risk factors, nutritional deficiencies, metabolic and hormonal imbalances, food intolerances, genetic anomalies, and toxic body burden. Then by applying individualized treatments to these risk factors, the body can regenerate itself and become whole again.
Anti-aging has become more than just a battle against wrinkles and topical and surgical fixes. It’s driving deeper within and proclaiming the body has the power to regenerate and renew and become youthful again from the inside out.
We are once again walking the steps of Ponce de Leon, this time knowing the fountain lies within us all.
Gina Dostler can be reached at [email protected]