Dehumanizing Your Future Self

Woman in a hoodie

I thought growing old would take longer.
-Old guy’s shirt at the grocery store

As many of you know, I teach ballroom dancing. I spend a lot of my day with people in their 50s-80s, recently retired, looking to fill their work-free days or reconnect with their spouses.

I love spending time with the older demographic. They come in for their lessons, doze off to sleep, wake up, knit a scarf, make a stew, find a quarter behind my ear…and off they go.

No, actually. That doesn’t happen at all.

The Metzgers grab at each others asses and play Candy Crush in the waiting room. The Sanchezes bring me in beers they brew at home and share photos on their iPhone of the trips they took to China or Mexico. The Watsons…well yeah, I mean, Mrs Watson does in fact bring in her knitting, but she has been knitting since she was like fifteen. And yeah, her chicken and dumplings are really good. And Mr. Watson has found almost four dollars in quarters behind my ears. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the Watsons as an example. My point is…

They are all totally unique individuals and when I talk to them about their pasts I find something truly astonishing:

They aren’t anything like us, they are exactly like themselves.

We can so easily dehumanize our future selves because we look at old people and think, “they are nothing like us.” We think we are going to morph into an “old person” and doing things for that guy seems ridiculous.

After all, you are nothing like an old person.

You aren’t going to make sacrifices and considerations for a future version of yourself that you can’t even relate to. But here’s the deal kids: you aren’t going to turn into your grandma. You aren’t going to turn into anything. You are going to be the exact same person. That old person was the same person they have always been; there hasn’t been some metamorphosis.

Golden Girls Bitch Please GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

If it’s important to you now, it will be important to you later

My contemporaries often tell me about the things that won’t be important to them when they are 50 or 60 or 70.

“I can smoke now to stay slim, but I will quit when I am older because being thin won’t be important to me.”

“I can get that massive tattoo on my midsection before I get pregnant because having nice skin won’t be important to me after I have kids.”

“I say spend it now, it’s not like I am going to want to travel or go out to eat when I am old, I’ll just be eating string peas and watching matlock.”

If your figure, skin, and indulging in the delights of the world is important to you at 30, it is still going to be important to you at 50. You know why?

50 is not fucking old!

60 isn’t old. 65 isn’t old. I will go to a yoga class and 75-year-old women will be encouraging me to keep reaching for my toes as they stand on their heads. Not only is 50, 60, and 70 not old today, by the time that we are that age, it will be even less old. With 3D bioprinting, ever-improving surgical techniques, that crazy skin glue that they made out of amazonian snail slime last month (did you see that shit?), 70 is going to be so young we will still be using #adulting.

Ways to stop short-changing your future self

Use sunscreen

Yes, I know that you know that we all know that you should be wearing your sunscreen.
If there’s one thing that is being crammed down our collective throats, it’s that we should be dripping sunscreen 24 hours a day. We should shower with it, sleep with it, take it to meet our parents, and when the time is right, ask it to spend the rest of our lives with us.

So if you haven’t gotten the message yet, damn, girl, get your shit together and then slather it with sunscreen.

Save for retirement

If you don’t have a Roth IRA you are losing money. Not even for your future self, but for your current self. By chucking a couple bucks into a Roth IRA, you can use what’s called the “saver’s credit” on your tax return this year.

It’s easy. You can do it through Turbotax . All the money you put in (and sometimes more), you get back. Then, when you are a whopping 59.5 years old, like Andie MacDowell and Jennifer Tilly (you know, clearly old and decrepit…), you can give the middle finger to your job and retire in the Mediterranean.

Andi MacDowell

Start exercising

Finding a physical activity that brings you joy is so important, whether that’s belly dancing or yoga or Pickleball or water aerobics. You don’t need to bust your ass in the gym or be an athlete to take care of your body. We all have something that we find beautiful, something that calls to us. If you haven’t found a type of exercise that brings you joy, you are not looking hard enough. Laser tag to juggling, try to think outside the box. Find a movement that you love and your future self will thank you.

You are and will always be you. Take care of yourself.


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116 thoughts on “Dehumanizing Your Future Self

  1. When I was a teenager all I wanted was to be old. “Old”:as in 30.. then I could be doing adult stuff and nobody would tell me what to do. Now I’m way pass that age and got a nine month old telling me what to do. So that plan failed. Now I’m aiming for 150. Ain’t nobody being a boss over me then.. just the nurse locking my door at night

    Liked by 1 person

  2. well, one out of 3 isn’t failing, exactly, right? I mean, I exercise…

    My philosophy in a nut shell (which I have a feeling might elicit a defeated sigh from a few of you)

    Burn your goddam candles.

    You have beautiful candles that you purchased because you love them. But you don’t burn them because…well, because they were expensive, or one of a kind, or you are saving them for a special occasion…

    It just doesn’t make sense to me. So I save my beautiful, smelly candles for that special occasion and die tomorrow? I just deprived myself of pumpkin spice bliss and a cozy, dimly lit room for years on end for what? So they will look perfect for you when you join me for said occasion. My unsolicited opinion is if I love you enough to have you be a part of my world and you love me enough to spend a special occasion with me, you won’t give a shit if my candles are a bit lopsided and partially burned. And really, do I want to waste my beautiful smelly candles on someone who would give a shit?

    All to say, I more more often than not live my life in the moment, which I realize can be problematic for you responsible, ‘big picture’ types…. but sometimes that beautiful bronze tan or pair of stupid expensive new shoes just feels so much more satisfying than skin cancer prevention and a cushy retirement. 🙂

    Loved this…and would so love to join in on one of your dance classes some day! Hugest hug.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Soooo true, in fact, we are all still the same kids, only our body doesn’t look the same, but I feel young and very healthy and I would never never never go through any of that youth shit ever again if I had to go back. So right on baby! I want to scream as I’m doing yoga or zumba – don’t i look rad at 63! Oh yes I do. I’m the best version of myself at this moment! And you are too! Embrace today!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m at the age where I have become my future self. 🙂 I do knit, but I have never, ever, located any loose change from behind anyone’s body part. I would accept that as a super-power, though. Also, I would like to agree and emphasize that 50 is not fucking old! Especially when it feels as though you’re just getting started. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Your blog posts give me life! I follow your blog like I follow Sophia Bush’s twitter because FUCK YES, GIRL.

    Also, I’m 110% positive that the older generations live life to the fullest more so than the rest of us. My mom is 75 and raised 10 kids and we joke that she’s 25. Holiday party? I’m the one hunkering down in my warm cozy bed while my mom is pretty on her holiday sparkles. Want to move out of state? I’m the one whining that I want to stay in my childhood room and shes out there renovating a house in the middle of nowhere (I’m not kidding. She’s renovating a house in the middle of nowhere.) Family get togethers? I’m the one calling it a night and she’s still out there drinking wine and laughing.

    Also, pretty sure I’m failing at life. I never use sunscreen, I’m not saving for retirement, and I don’t have an exercise. Whoops.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. At 42, finding myself in a wheelchair part time and getting my first service dog in 2 weeks, I consider myself physically old.

    But I used to be a dancer. (Yes a fat girl dancer, what of it?) My 20 year old Russian dance instructor laughed in my face when I said I wanted to eventually compete somehow. It didn’t help that I said this as we watched the studio’s “star dancers” spinning in circles around us on the outskirts of the dance floor. I think collectively the dance couple weighed 97 pounds with their shoes on, and I suspect their bodied were made entirely of rubber.

    Anyhoo, his laughs didn’t register because in my heart and mind I was always dancing. Back then I practiced at home 2 hours a day, 6 days a week (even God rested on Sunday), because one day I was going to be a famous fat girl dancer.

    I guess Kirstie Alley and Ricki Lake beat me to it – Thank you, Dancing With The Stars – but even now the drive to dance again burns deeply in me. I think sometimes I look at that wheelchair, and the scrappy fighter inside me says, Oh Yes I Can, Watch Me. And maybe one day I actually will. Stranger things have happened.

    So technically I’m calling myself old at 42, but …I’m still a Fat Girl Dancer and I always will be.

    And I know, I know, you always tell me my profile link does not work, so here:
    http://Www.allergictomyselfblog.wordpress.com
    🙂
    MichelleInTheMask
    PS- you never wrote me back. Prolly cuz your alter ego was busy web designing all night for your Insomniac blog, when you should have been sleeping. 😛

    Liked by 2 people

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