Friday, March 17, 2017

Vanity or Basic Human Need?

I loathe narcissism, 

but I approve of vanity. 

                                                                         Diana Vreeland


Sharing my age has never been an issue but since entering my 7th decade, I notice I avoid it. I acknowledge my aging challenge is related to this body's changing appearance.

Recently, a friend told me: “Your age challenge is an issue of vanity. If you had health issues, your focus might be different.” I have no debilitating health issues. There are, of course, physical changes. As a long-time swimmer a mile used to take me 25 minutes, then 40, and now I allow an hour for a mile swim. So there is a natural slowing down that comes with age. The significant health issue that is accompanying me is glaucoma in my right eye.

I am fortunate and grateful to be pain-free and in good health. And the health issues mentioned above do not significantly phase me. I suppose one way to look at my issue with aging is that of vanity. But I believe each of us has a basic human need to feel seen, heard and valued.  No longer being gainfully employed where I did receive these things, and not having a best friend/lover/companion – feelings of invisibility and irrelevance run rampant in my psyche..

Perhaps, this is reflective of vanity and even worse narcissism...though fortunately my muscles of compassion and empathy are fully vibrant – I just need to direct them inward toward myself.

I end this blog encouraging each of us to fill the world with compassion and empathy toward others as well as ourselves... 

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