Do you ever wonder if there’s ANYTHING (heavy emphasis on this word!) good about GETTING OLDER? I think most of us could name five unlovely🤢 things right now that naturally come with aging. But what about the good stuff? IS there any🤔?
In today’s episode of the Fitness Matters podcast🎙️, we’re delving into this intriguing question, along with lots of random (but totally related, I promise!) things like Gwen Stefani👱♀️, tummy tucks⌛, and hot flashes🔥!
This is juicy🍈 stuff, and you’ll want to be part of it at any age! Tune in now, and let’s GO!
(Don’t wanna listen? Access the transcript here)
Can’t see the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube: https://youtu.be/IvkB4FHeykw
Ep. 012: The 3 BEST QUESTIONS to Ask Yourself When You’re Struggling
Ep. 082: Mindset TRICKS
Ep. 073: The BEST FEELING
Ep. 009: Facts vs. Opinions
Ep. 089: Mind MANAGEMENT
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Is There ANYTHING Good About Getting OLDER (full transcript)
You’re listening to the Fitness Matters podcast with Pahla B, and this is episode number 90, “Is there anything good about getting older?”
Hello. Hello, my friends. It’s good to see you again, even though I don’t actually see you. That is such an automatic thing for me to say that I often don’t think about it until it’s literally coming out of my mouth. It’s good to be heard again. How about that? Because I don’t hear you either, but I know you’re there and thank you for it.
Thank you especially to those of you who are leaving ratings and reviews like we’ve been talking about for the last couple of weeks. I notice that it is really helpful. I’m getting more of an audience. I’ve been getting comments about people who are like, “Oh, I found you from your podcast,” and I absolutely love that. So, thank you very much for that. You guys, I am Pahla B. I’m your hostest with the mostest, life coach to the stars, and I’m really excited about today’s episode.
I’ve been thinking about this one for quite some time, actually. I got asked this question a month ago – and really by the time you hear it more than a month ago – by a friend of mine who I know is listening to the podcast. Therefore, I want to just say that everything that we talk about today, I say with love – because I always say everything with love – but really specifically to the person who asked me this question. When we get more into the conversation, you’re going to understand why I’m prefacing it like this.
Everything that I say, I say with love. This question, especially the way it was asked, really specifically (and if you are reading the transcript, this might be a little bit difficult for you to parse out so I’m going to tell you explicitly that the way the question was asked). It was with this particular emphasis, “Is there ANYTHING good about getting older?” The reason why the word anything was stressed is because of the way that the question is asked. Here’s what my answer is to why I think this is a fantastic question. This is a fantastic question because it’s a fantastic example of a terrible question to ask yourself.
That’s why I told you upfront that I say this with love. I truly mean this lovingly. This is a terrible question to ask yourself. You know how when I tell you to ask questions . . . in fact, I’ve told you that a couple of times now in two podcast episodes. One of them is the Three Best Questions to Ask Yourself (Ep. 012 The 3 Best Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re Struggling https://pahlabfitness.com/the-3-best-questions-to-ask-yourself-when-youre-struggling/), and the other is about mindset tricks (Ep. 082 Mindset Tricks https://pahlabfitness.com/ep-082-mindset-tricks/).
These two episodes talk about how you should ask yourself questions. In fact, I have, oh my gosh, I have another one also. It’s called The Best Feeling (Ep. 073 The Best Feeling https://pahlabfitness.com/ep-073-the-best-feeling/). I have lots of episodes talking about how you should ask yourself questions. In fact, I frequently just mention that you should ask yourself questions to get to the heart of what you are thinking. But sometimes we ask ourselves terrible questions.
Sometimes we ask ourselves really helpful questions – helpful questions that can really get to what we’re thinking and whether or not it’s a helpful thought for us. This particular question, because of the way it’s asked, is an example of a terrible question to ask yourself because the way it is asked is asking for evidence of a negative. Here’s what I mean. When you ask your brain a question, it’s going to find answers based on the way the question is phrased. So, when you ask yourself something like, “Why is my life so terrible?” your brain will come up with all kinds of reasons why your life is so terrible.
When you ask yourself, “How is my life the best it could possibly be?” your brain will come up with reasons why your life is the best it could possibly be. Your brain isn’t really looking for facts. This, of course, is the point where I’m going to refer you to episode number 9, Facts Vs. Opinions (Ep. 009 Facts Vs. Opinions https://pahlabfitness.com/facts-vs-opinions/). You rarely, if ever, think in facts. Everything we think is an opinion, and every time we ask ourselves a question, our brain is simply trying to corroborate that opinion. Your brain is not looking to prove you wrong ever, really ever, unless you ask a question about proving yourself wrong about something that you had previously believed. And we’ll get to that because, believe me, we’re going to get there. But here’s the thing about asking a question with a bias behind it.
First of all, we always have biases. Just, I mean, that is a fact. That is something that you can take to the bank. We all have biases. Your brain is looking for whatever bias you have, truly. Your brain wants to agree with itself. This is actually – I’m sure that this has a name – a psychological principle that your brain wants to agree with itself, and it makes sense. When your brain has millions of inputs every single minute of every single day to sort through and sift through, it simply makes sense that your brain is categorizing and interpreting things in a way that it will therefore agree with.
Because otherwise, if it was questioning itself constantly, every single minute of every single day, we would never get anything done. It’s far more efficient for your brain to think something, get efficient at thinking something, and then simply look for evidence why that one thing is true and will continue to be true for as long as possible so that it doesn’t have to get efficient at thinking something else. I mean, this is what your brain and your body do. Your body also wants to stay the same as much as possible and will only make adaptations when necessary.
That’s what your brain does, as well. Guys, nature is always looking for the simplest way to do anything, so when you ask yourself a question like, “Is there anything good about getting older?” your brain is looking for the answer, “No, there’s not.” Which means that the evidence that it’s going to bring you are things like, “Now I have wrinkles. Now I have aches and pains. Now everything takes longer than it used to. Now I’m slowing down.” Your brain is simply looking to corroborate the biased question that you have asked. Now the exact same question with a slightly different emphasis might get you different answers.
“Is there anything good about getting older?” asked with a curious tone, might get you slightly better answers. Well, sure. At some point in the future for me, for example, I hope to have grandchildren. That’s something to look forward to. That sounds good to me. So my brain might be able to, if I come at it with a purely curiosity aspect, might be able to find slightly more good things to look forward to. But here’s the thing about asking ourselves questions with or without bias, even though there’s literally always going to be bias.
When you ask yourself a question that in some ways you truly can’t answer . . . I mean, that is part of the problem with this question is that it’s unanswerable in the sense of we don’t know the future. And when you are looking to the future with this slightly negative bias, it can be very easy to perceive that nothing good might come because we’re asking ourselves the question in that way – that no, there would be nothing to look forward to because of this comparison to either the age you are now or the age you were anytime previous, being younger. That comparison can be the real problem here.
I was thinking about this really specifically today. I was thinking about this for two different reasons. Number one, because I knew I was going to record the podcast today, I was kind of going over my pre-podcast list, making a little checklist of things that I knew I wanted to talk about and I knew I wanted to get to. So, I got on the treadmill this morning as I do, because that’s how I start my day. I got up the treadmill and for whatever reason, I chose a different playlist to listen to.
I frequently listen to podcasts on the treadmill, but knowing that I was going to record my own podcast this morning, I really try to limit my outside influence. I try really hard to simply stay in my own brain because I know what I want to talk about, and I know how I want to get it out, more or less. So, I don’t want to be unduly influenced by listening to other podcasts or having too much input. I don’t even really go on the internet or do much before I simply sit down and record because it is very early in the morning.
Anyway, for whatever reason, I chose a really different playlist of music to listen to, and it was this really, really old playlist. We’re talking 2007, 2008, something like that. So I was listening to these really old songs and it was very, very interesting to me to, well, to realize about halfway through my walk that I hadn’t been listening to what my brain was thinking, that I had simply been letting my brain think whatever it was going to think, and I had gone down a very interesting path.
I was on the treadmill this morning, thinking about 2008 and pining for days gone by – how simple it was when my kids were younger, how much easier it was when I had a different job, how much thinner I was, how different my body was, how nice it looked when I had such long hair, all kinds of thoughts. It was fascinating to me, when I didn’t hear them until . . . follow me on this one you guys. This is how my brain works. This is what we talk about on the podcast, in case you’re new around here. You get a little bit of insight into the way my brain works. So here’s what I was thinking. I was listening to a song that was actually a really good song that I would like to listen to again, that I hadn’t listened to in years and years and years, by Gwen Stefani.
I happen to love Gwen Stefani. I’ve always been a fan. Her music when she was with No Doubt was like the soundtrack to me meeting my husband and falling in love and dating and getting married and being really young and irresponsible for the last time in my life – the last couple of years before we got married and had kids right away and all those kinds of things. So, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for her. She’s literally exactly my age. She’s three weeks older than me. And I was thinking about this song really in particular. It was the song that she wrote about making her first solo album. It’s a song called “What You Waiting For?” Really good song, but she’s talking about how scary it is to take chances.
I was actually thinking about, “Oh my gosh, this is really relevant to me and really interesting to listen to the lyrics and be thinking about what it was like for her to be launching a solo career and what it’s like for me to be an entrepreneur,” and me drawing parallels in my mind. Me and Gwen Stefani, we’re BFFs. Do you do that? Do you have a celebrity – or in my case, several – who you just think, “Man, we would be such great friends because we have so much in common,” and I would have absolutely nothing in common with Gwen Stefani other than, I mean, she’s three weeks older than me and we both have boys. I mean, she’s got one more than I do, but still. I mean, we have a lot in common.
We don’t. Here’s what I was thinking. I was thinking about how she has aged, and I was thinking about how I . . . it’s pretty obvious to me, and I don’t know if she’s ever talked about it because I don’t really follow her career as much as I used to, but it’s pretty obvious that she’s had some work done, meaning plastic surgery to have aged as well as she has. The thing that woke me up, I was thinking about Gwen Stefani. I was thinking about how she just recently got married, and I was looking at the photographs and how she dresses and the way she looks and things like that, and I heard myself think, “I wonder if I should have a tummy tuck.”
I almost fell off the treadmill laughing at myself because that thought, I was like, “Brain, what did you just offer me? What in the world?” That came so out of left field and was so ridiculously hilarious that I was like, like I said, it woke me up to be like, “Okay, what have I been thinking for the last 15 minutes here on the treadmill that I wasn’t paying attention to?” So I went back and I was like, “Oh my gosh.” I was completely reminiscing about the past as though it was perfect. I was thinking about my present as though it is problematic and completely unconsciously thinking that the only solution – because my brain is always, your brain too, always looking for a problem and trying to solve it – the solution that my brain offered me was, “Oh, you should get a tummy tuck because then the skin on your stomach would be smooth.” [Pahla laughs]
As though that would solve anything at all. Oh my gosh. Those of you reading the transcript, I hope it says somewhere in there that Pahla is laughing hysterically because I’m laughing hysterically. This is hilarious to me the way my brain works, especially the way my brain works when I’m not paying attention to it. You guys, we have definitely talked about this, and I don’t know exactly what episode number it was, nor can I come up with the title of it right now. I think it was just last week, two weeks ago.
There are two steps to managing your mind. Number one, pay attention to your thoughts. Then, step two, decide if they’re helpful. So this is how I spent the second half of my time on the treadmill after I almost laughed myself off of it. I went back, and I was paying attention to all those thoughts that I’d been having about how nice it was when my kids were younger and how lovely my body was and how much prettier I was with long hair, and just all of these thoughts that were completely related to the topic at hand. It was hilarious to me how this choice of the playlist really, really created the podcast for me in a way that I had already created it in my mind. It truly brought this to fruition in my own life.
This is what happens when you are not supervising your brain. Your brain will automatically choose the highlight reel from the past. My brain was automatically finding all kinds of reasons why right now is not as good as the past, and why the future will definitely be worse than the past. So I let myself really dig into that and really question whether or not any of these thoughts were true, which I mean, true isn’t helpful either, but really specifically, if any of these thoughts were helpful, partially because of their veracity or lack thereof.
I realized that what my brain was offering me was all of these idealized thoughts about the past because I happened to like this song. That was probably what really brought it up for me. The song brought up some particularly good memories about feeling free and feeling like I was having fun. But when I really thought about it, I was like, “Oh my gosh. When my kids were young, I was full of angst, constantly. I worried about everything, all the time. I had so much social anxiety about me, about them, about everything. I constantly worried about me, about them, about everything.
There were definitely highlights. There were definitely good times, for sure. But there were also really difficult times – mentally, emotionally, physically – all kinds of both good and bad in the past. I’m thinking really specifically about my body. Even though I was younger, I didn’t appreciate it at the time, in much the same way that I am sure I will look back in another 10 years and be like, “Oh my gosh, look at my 51-year old body. It was amazing.”
We idealize the past, but I happen to know because I started thinking about it, that I had all kinds of body angst also. I had all kinds of thoughts that came and went as they do, about whether or not I liked the way I looked at the time, speaking really specifically about my long hair. I was really just recently looking at pictures and thinking how pretty my hair was when it was really long. I did not like having long hair. I had it for several years. I’m happy that I did. I love looking at the pictures because it gives me an opportunity to think to myself, “Why don’t I grow my hair long?”
But then I remember about 98% of the time I had it up in a bun because it was in my way constantly. I had to put it up before I would cook or eat. I had to put it up when I was doing anything else. It was always stuck in my shirts and stuck everywhere, and really, I shed a lot. So even with short hair, I have hair on me all the time. But there was nothing perfect or amazing or wonderful about having long hair, except the fact that it looked good in these three really specific photographs that I just found recently. My friends, here’s the real crux of what I want to tell you about this whole topic.
There is plenty of good to look forward to, and there will be bad things in the future too. Your entire life is made up of good and bad, always. Every timeframe that you can look at in your life has good things and bad things. There are things you worry about. There’s angst. There are things to laugh hysterically about. There are things to look forward to. There are things to miss. There’s good and bad, always, always. So, rather than asking a terrible question, and again, I say that with love. I really, really do.
Rather than asking yourself the terrible question of, “Is there anything good in the future about getting old?” why not ask yourself, “What’s good right now and what’s bad right now, and what is amazing about that balance?” I’ve been thinking, really specifically, about getting older and what I want to look forward to. It’s really, I don’t know if it’s funny. It’s funny to me because I just recently . . . here comes some TMI. You’re welcome. Because we haven’t delved into my brain enough, let’s go ahead and talk about my body a little bit. I just recently started having hot flashes, you guys.
I am so excited about this. I can’t even tell you. It is so fascinating to me. It’s so fascinating that this is what our bodies do when we get older. That this is what our bodies do when they are finishing out the last gasp of estrogen. I realized that it was happening a couple of weeks ago. I woke up in the night and I was like, “I feel weird, and I felt really hot.” Of course, I mean, you know, you know. Well, you probably know. Maybe you don’t know. If you’re really young, you have no idea. But it’s coming probably, for most of us.
So I pushed off the covers, and I was like, “Oh, that was so weird.” Then I got cold almost instantly, and I was like, “Oh, my gosh. Am I having a hot flash? Was that night sweats?” It was so cool. So, and not, I mean, it was not cool. It was very hot, but it was so interesting to me. So, I’ve realized that I’m noticing them, that I’m having these flashes of heat and it’s so . . . I remember, how old would I have been? Can I do math? I can’t do math, but I was probably in my early twenties. I remember when my mom was having hot flashes, because she would’ve been just about my age, maybe even a little bit younger.
I think she was going through menopause in her late forties, if I remember correctly. I’ll have to ask her about that. But I remember one really specific time. We were sitting at the dining room table and we were playing a game, and I watched her have a hot flash. You could just see it come over her. Her whole face and neck just turned beet red, and she started sweating. It was just this, I mean, it was a flush of like she was having a quick fever, and it was so interesting. Of course, I laughed at her at the time because I was 20. Haha, what did I know about hot flashes?
It was just funny, but I kind of still feel that way now. It’s really funny that our bodies do this, and it reminds me in a really weird way, for no good reason, of BART. If you are not from California, you don’t know what that is. So let me tell you. It’s the Bay Area Rapid Transit. It’s an underground train. If you’ve ever been on any underground train, I assume they are all like this. I have no experience with other underground trains, so here’s my experience with it. You can feel the train coming before you can even see it or hear it because it’s a tunnel. There’s probably some barometric thing that happens that I’m not even going to try and pretend like I understand, but I’m sure that’s related to what your body senses.
Then, of course, you can hear it. Then, of course, you can see it and feel it at the same time as it comes into the station. That’s what hot flashes feel like to me. I feel the barometric change before I actually feel the hot flash. It’s almost like an earthquake is coming or like something is going to happen. I get that weird tingling on the back of my neck. Like, “Oh this is different, something’s happening” feeling, and I find that to be a really interesting sensation. I know at some point in the future, I’m probably going to be completely over it. Like, “Oh my God, this is not fun anymore. What’s happening? I’m over it. I’m tired of it. This is not fun. When am I going to be done with this?”
I’m sure there will be a change in thoughts, but also maybe not. Because I am choosing to have this thought about it now, it’s got me thinking about what else could feel fascinating and interesting in the future. This, my friends, is an example of a really good question to ask yourself. “What else in the future, when I’m getting older, could feel this interesting? What other adventures are there to tackle?” There are lots of them. When I ask my brain that question, oh my gosh, so many good things come to mind and not even necessarily good things.
Here, let’s delve into something. Maybe you don’t want to talk about it, but I’m fascinated by what death is going to feel like. I think that is something not to look forward to like, “Gee, I hope it comes soon,” but to be like, “I wonder what it’s going to be like. I wonder what it’s going to feel like, all of the stages up until then,” because everything up until then is still new. Every day is something new, and I can choose to look at each of the new things as a giant pain in the butt. Like, “Oh my gosh, now I’m slower. Now I’m having a harder time finding those words.”
Or I could be like, “Isn’t this fascinating how my brain is doing this work differently than it did when I was younger? Isn’t it fascinating that my body is going through this change?” I choose to find it fascinating that this is the life cycle that we all experience. I choose to find it interesting that I don’t know what’s coming next, but anything could come next. Some of it is going to be amazing, and some of it is going to be terrible. When we look at life as half amazing, half crap, I can’t help but laugh at that because it’s hilarious. It’s hilarious. But all of our lives are halfway just awful because if they weren’t, we wouldn’t recognize the good stuff.
When you simply accept that life is half good, half bad, and there will always be things to look forward to and things to dread, and new and different things that just are, why not ask yourself a better question? Why not choose to look at life as an adventure? Choose to look at the questions that we ask ourselves as being helpful or unhelpful. Why not choose to think about lots of good things that could be coming in the future?
I know that this was a little bit rambly. They frequently are because it is early in the morning and I am pondering some imponderables, but I also always, always hope that it’s helpful to you. I hope that it’s helpful to you to think about things slightly differently. Thank you so much for listening, you guys. I’ll talk to you again soon.
So are you totally loving this mindset work and you really want to do it every day in order to get your goal? Then, my friend, you need to join the Get Your Goal group. It is my personal and private, very interactive coaching and accountability group where every day we talk about your mindset and we get your goal. You can learn all about it at PahlaBfitness.com/get-your-goal. I’ll see you in the goal group.