I noticed her when she came into the room – one of the last to arrive for my talk on how to grow younger. This small woman with gray hair was smartly dressed in a navy blue suit with the collar of a crisp white blouse peeking over the edges of her suit lapels.

Her stylish black heels were a little too high, making her teeter as she walked. Her serious demeanor contrasted noticeably with the animated faces of the others there for the talk.

What drew my attention to her was the way she looked furtively from side to side and then slunk down into a seat in the back.

It was later, after my talk was over and the line for book signings and questions had thinned, that I noticed her again.

All the other seats were empty but she was still hunkered down, just waiting. For the police? A jealous ex-lover? Gotcha, you’re It?

Actually, it was none of these. After everyone else left, she came up to me to ask a question. It seems she didn’t want anyone she knew to see her at a workshop about growing younger.

In a timid voice she told me her friends discussed my workshop on growing younger and criticized it as a vain attempt to hold back what’s natural and inevitable. They concluded, “It’s against nature. We should just grow old gracefully. Wanting to grow younger is vanity.”

Here’s what I told her. While I respect those who feel we should grow old gracefully, I don’t agree that we should accept the inevitability of decline. Accepting that decline is going to happen, no matter what, brings with it all the programming we’ve accumulated over the years associating age with progressive deterioration of mind and body.

It’s not vanity to want to enjoy life with vigor; to live passionately; to feel good and share joy, love, accomplishment and adventure. That doesn’t have to change because we live longer.

I noticed she was perking up. She straightened her shoulders and seemed to grow two inches. “That’s how I feel,” she told me with excitement in her voice.

I could tell there would be no more hiding for her – no more putting youthfulness ideas and techniques in a plain brown wrapper as if they were something shameful.

I was back on my soapbox: If we, individually and collectively, change our image of aging, just think of the incredible contribution we can make to society. Baby boomers, especially, are ripe for pioneering a new frontier of transformation and renewal. Boomers and my generation can form a pivotal group that changes how we age – and reduce Medicare costs in the bargain.

What a delightful change our society would experience if we could de-program ourselves from expecting old age to ravage our bodies and minds, and banish fears of living our last days in lonely exile in a nursing home. That change could happen! We just need to collectively bring into the open an awareness of a new, conscious, youthful way of living and remind ourselves and each other to practice, practice, practice.

Author's Bio: 

Author, columnist, keynote speaker and pioneer of age-reversing consciousness, Ellen Wood, helps men and women grow younger with body/mind/spirit action steps. She is living proof that they work. Sign up for three free gifts at her website: http://www.howtogrowyounger.com