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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139 thoughts on “Dehumanizing Your Future Self

  1. You are in my head all the time! When I was 30, I used to think that way. Now, I’m about to turn 39 and I have a retirement plan, I wear sunscreen, and I exercise. Not because I think I’m getting old, but because I want to stay feeling young. Most days I still don’t feel like an adult lol.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. THIS! I’m Italian American, and the women in my family shrink by 6 inches and gain a hundred pounds at age 50. They’re also all old and totes happy with life. I told this to my husband’s (non-Italian) family a few years ago and they were all like “Oh no don’t say that! It won’t happen to you!” and I was like “Um, I didn’t say shrinking and gaining weight was a bad thing…” They projected their expectations onto my future. I, for one, have gotten happier as I’ve aged. Can’t wait to see how happy I’ll be at 70.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Brilliant! Old age does not have to be a descent into irrelevancy and inactivity. I was inspired to give up my job and travel around Europe in a caravan by a group of 70 and 80-year-old windsurfers, all of whom do exactly that!

    Liked by 7 people

  4. Wow, I didn’t know you taught ballroom dancing, how awesome! I’ve been guilty of viewing older people as “different” from me at times. Then I reflect and think that when I’m older I’ll still be the same person, but just in a different looking body. Great post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Aw ballroom dancing always seemed so fun!
    Honestly, I look forward to the freedom that seems to come with aging. I feel like the older I get, the less fucks I have to give, and it’s pretty great. And in some ways, I’ve always been a bit of an old soul, so I think I’ll just grow into it like I eventually grew into my buck teeth.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This is my favorite blog, ever.

    I know I said that last week, but really, this one. For all the obvious reasons. Not just because I said I was closing in on 50 soon, in my own blog, today (tombeingtom.com/responses), and some guy called me old, but because … well, that is the MAIN reason, yes…

    But let me explain the other reasons, very briefly:

    * I found out you teach ball room dancing. That shit’s cool.
    * You had me laughing out loud by the second paragraph.
    * I had stew this week.
    * The Sanchezes bring you beer.
    * You made $4. That’s a lot for a blog.
    * I saw an Arion subfuscus.
    * I saw Andie McDowell.
    * Your wisdom was practical and insightful, and
    * You said that me being me will always be me being me and I like Tom being Tom. A lot.

    See, this is why I always stop by on Thursdays. It’s my day off, true, but you always manage to enlighten and entertain in that mighty, mystical DG way. Great job! #BBE #NK

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Yaaaaaaaaas! People shouldn’t be scared about getting old or think that everything will change, because it won’t! You are still the same person with the same hobbies and weird habits ahahahah

    Amazing post, love it!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. If you wrote a self-help book, I’d not only buy it but I’d HEED IT. THat’s right – that’s high fuckin praise. I’m on my boiled-egg-and-fruit diet because of you (not really, but I do eat a boiled egg before I eat junk food and I have eaten so much less candy) and now I’m gonna actually start wearing sunscreen.

    I love you.

    Liked by 6 people

  9. Very true but personally I think our generation is very different to the one above us and the one above that as we were brought up in the technology age. When I see pictures of my grandparents when they were in their thirties they looked in their sixties, they were already old, worn down by war and a harder life. Susie x

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I’m so glad you and they enjoy spending time together. I’m really enjoying doing more community work at the moment – for the same reasons.
    Also it gives me a lot of people I can consult during my endless over analysis of various conundrums.
    I love that my kids get on with them too. If anything the ends of the age spectrum are a lot more sorted than the adults my age.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love Love Love this; I wish I had someone saying this stuff to me when I was 30. 50 is just around the corner for me (and you are so right, it is not old!) and every word you say is true true true. I love that you teach ballroom dancing – super cool!!!!!! Thanks as ever, for being hysterical and wise!

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Big fan of your blog! And this post is one that resonates with me, I truly feel as though we think of ourselves in the future as complete strangers, and the idea of growing old scares us because of that. Waking up and realizing that you are ‘no longer yourself’ is the common fear. But this is a reminder that we just grow into wiser versions of what we are now.

    Also those are some good tips, and this is motivating me to work out as well as save up for retirement.
    one thing I would say is, make sure you seize moments while you can, because your body will not be able to do the same things in 20-30 years. So always make sure to appreciate yourself now,and take care of yourself. So that when you’re older, you won’t be limited.

    Also, I think it’s so cool that you teach ballroom dance.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. This is great stuff. Getting old doesn’t need to be a problem…the alternative to getting old is. I lost so many relatives in their 50’s and 60’s.

    Today’s 60, 70 year olds do not look like those of the past. Just google Raquel Welch at 75 ! She did an interview with Piers Morgan a few years ago. Amazing. And I know, she’s exceptional, but still…

    I love that you teach ballroom. Enjoying your blog immensely. Glad to have found you here.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. If I am just a slightly more self aware version of the shithead I was at 17, then I will simply be a wiser version of the shithead that I am now when I’m 70. Whenever I try to delude myself into thinking that I’m so different than I was in my teens someone who hasn’t seen me in two decades tells me that I have not changed a bit.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Uuuuuuuuuuugh FINE! *google searches kickboxing classes In Dublin area*

    Also did you have to use Andie MacDowell as your example? She’s one of only two people whose faces – for whatever reason – I absolutely cannot stand. I think it’s because even when she’s smiling she looks like she’s going through deep personal tragedy. The confusion of her facial features just makes me so deeply uncomfortable I can feel it all the way down to my bones.

    She looks great though, despite being a human oxymoron.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. When I was in my younger years (like high school) I remember thinking that “old people” were like, probably close to 100. Like no lie. I always thought that short changing other generations was dumb. Which is why I’m glad that I’ve taken pretty good care of me now so when I’m older than now I’ll still be awesome.

    Altho, realizing that since I act like I’m a child now means I will forever act like a child is interesting. Nothing like a 87 yr old woman acting like she’s 16 to brighten the day I guess.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Love it! Love it! Love it! A couple of years ago I walked from Seville in southern Spain to Santiago de Compostela in north west Spain, over 1000km, with two of the most inspiring 74 yr olds I have ever met. They did not miss a beat and every day I thought about how I want to be as fit, healthy and engaged with the world, as those two were…and still are! Roll on the wrinkles! Mel

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Yes, yes, yes! Agree completely! I don’t know at what point I figured that out but it certainly wasn’t in my early 20’s…. I still thought 30 was old then.
    I remember being 20 and having a job as a bank teller. My manager, who was 27 or 28, often wore sweaters with things like bears and apples on them and I remember thinking, “She’s almost 30 so she probably doesn’t care about things like fashion anymore.” OMG. I’m nearing 40 and yep, still care about clothes! 😀

    Liked by 4 people

  19. I think a lot of us forget that time goes by quicker as we get older. I feel like I just graduated high school and now I’m 24 and still not where I want to be with life (another story), but! Point is, time really flies. We don’t feel older, but we do mature. Our bodies start to work differently, and it sucks. We legit have to care about our bodies if we want to actually be healthy. 70 feels like a long time away, but you’re right, I don’t see myself changing as a person all that much underneath the surface.
    Love your posts! 💜

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and your support ❤️ I read this thing the other day about how major surgeries today take half as long and heal twice as quickly compared to just 12 years ago. I bet we will be smoking hot in our 70’s!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re very welcome 💜 and I believe it! They’ve made so many advances in the last 30 years, I’m sure we’ll have a lot more chances to look good by the time we’re that age 😛

        Liked by 2 people

  20. You know what? I just love your blog! I love the way you write, the way you think and the way you keep it real. You also make me laugh, a lot actually! You remind me of one of my old friends hahaha. Can’t wait to see what you post next – I’m excited !

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ummm that’s kind of groundbreaking. But you’re totally right. We will still be the same person we are today. My great grandma once told me she still thought like the 20-year-old she used to be, but it was kinda weird cuz she was in an older body. And my beauty of a Gramma once said, exasperated, ‘I JUST NEED TO LOSE 5 POUNDS’. (she totally didn’t).

    I’m so pumped to be old and really into napping and Netflix.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Ha! I intend to be a kickboxing black belt (currently green, going for blue next month. I WILL get there, and I’ll ONLY be in my early 50s when I do. Then it’ll be onto the next challenge. My mum is in her early 70’s and is currently exploring Vietnam and Cambodia – I have a great role model 😉

        Liked by 3 people

  22. I never used to exercise like five years ago but now I can’t live without it. Definitely glad I took up up exercising when I hated it in school.
    My mom always keep telling me to put suncream on so I don’t burn & I don’t get lines.
    Another great and interesting blog post and you are right, a lot of older people tend to be in more physical shape then a lot of younger people. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  23. I’m impressed and can tell you that you are right. I am 66, still think like I am 28, quit smoking decades ago, still work full time, take care of a hobby farm, have had basal cell carcinoma, do a little tai chi, still play in a band and rock out in my garage, and all that other stuff. Wore out my original knees and have new ones and am looking forward to getting more snow so I can get out skiing again. I wake up and think, ” I’m not dead yet!” And do save money for when you get this age so you don’t have to fucking work so much.

    Liked by 7 people

  24. I love how you get out there and teach something. The only thing I’ve been doing lately is teaching my bro to be sober thru NA….you meet lots of people through many walks of life there. Thanks for the post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  25. So I’m 35 now and I’m like when the hell did this happen? I’m sure I’ll be 65 and saying the same thing. I just taught my 60 something year old mom how to fill in her eyebrows last night and she was beyond excited and wanting to go show them off. It just goes to show what you’re talking about. We will always want to feel and look good. I’d better get on that regular yoga routine. I’m trying to be a GILF. Grandmas need love too, right.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. When I am old and am holed up in Sunny Pines Care Home, I intend to be wearing my converse shoes and listening to Hungry Like the Wolf as I toss back some lagers with my girls, because, shit, who says my mind has to match the age of my body? No fucking way! Just nope. Getting old is a gift – many don’t have the opportunity – so, if I am so lucky and reach the ripe old age of 80, I am going to be sure to enjoy every moment and NEVER stop laughing about farts. Life is to be lived, that doesn’t change just because your hair turns grey!

    Liked by 5 people

  27. I just love this post, and not because I’m 52. It’s because it’s so spot on true. You nailed it, you old soul. And this is why I tell everyone from 17 to 75 about your blogging butt. In all my life, and I’ve been through some shit, these years, these 50’s I have begun, I have never felt so alive, so on point, so confident, regardless of prior life fuck ups. I have never felt so sure in who I am and my purpose. I once had a manager that was 58 at the time we were conversing this very subject, he was succesful, wealthy on his way to early retirement and he had said in all his life, his most favorite decade had been the one he was in now, his 50’s. In the norm you typically spend your 20’s trying to figure out just who you are, your place in the world, you spend your 30’s defining that person, your forties you’re solidifying your future, by 50 you know yourself so well, you don’t wavier, you don’t budge, you’ve been through so much, so many life lesson, you’ve seen so much… you are so comfortable in who you are. I don’t mind this “old ass croning” age. I wake up every morning feeling thankful and blessed for every single thing that has made me the person I am at this age. I wouldn’t trade this feeling for the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so so much for this comment and for always being so supportive. I know a ton of people in their 50’s telling me that they wouldnt go back to their 20’s for all the money in the world haha! You rock!

      Liked by 1 person

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