Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lesson #40: There Are Billions Of Dollars Invested In Me Feeling Scared And Sad About Turning 40

Does it ever seem strange to you that we are made to feel bad about the most natural process in the world?  Aging is the one thing we all have in common no matter what gender, race, sexual orientation, class, culture, religion, geographical region, or financial status we are.  Either we die or we age.  I prefer the latter option.

So why then is there so much shame and embarrassment about going through the most human experience possible? Because financial corporations have a vested interest in making us feel fear so we'll buy products we don't really need.  Moisturizers, cosmetic surgery, make-up, weight-loss programs, teeth whitening gels, hair coloring treatments, hair restoration programs, Viagra, fitness programs, and dozens of other products are advertised specifically to capitalize on our fears.  They try to make us feel like we will be old and alone and depressed if we don't purchase these items.  The implicit message is: getting old is really terrible, but you can feel less afraid by buying this _____.  And since everyone will get older, everyone is the target market. 

I, for one, refuse to give into this.  I'm not saying that any of these products are "evil," I just do not appreciate the fear and shame tactics most use to manipulate and terrify their target audience.  This "40 Lessons Of 40" series is committed to celebrating and embracing the aging process, and forging a new path for anyone who has been told to fear the inevitable.

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City. He specializes in issues related to addiction, bullying, caretaking fatigue, grief and loss, gay/lesbian issues, stress management, depression, as well as couples in non-traditional arrangements. He is the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." To have him speak with your group, or to schedule a counseling visit, call 347-227-7707, or email at

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