I Don’t Look Young Anymore: Worry Journal Exercise

I Don’t Look Young Anymore: Worry Journal Exercise

People have been telling me for a long time that I look young for my age, but that means something a lot different when you’re 35 and look 27 than when you’re 43 and look 38. Besides, who’s to say what 38 looks like when plenty of 38-year-olds look 33…or 23…or 43, for that matter? It’s all subjective anyway. The truth is, I have no idea how old I look these days. I just know it’s not young and I’m struggling with it more than I like to admit.

Situation / Trigger

Looking in the mirror

Negative Thought

I don’t look young anymore.

Anxiety Level (1-10)

8

Evidence For

My skin is covered in spots – brown ones here, white ones there. On my forearms they’re all gathered together, forming a big blotch that pretty much covers the whole area. I fancy that, from afar, it looks like a tan, which still isn’t that great of a look when the rest of me is white as ghost. It’s also crepey in places, which up until recently I didn’t think happened to women under 60.

I have smoker’s lines around my lips. I quit smoking cigarettes 20 years ago, but it wasn’t until 2009 that I quit smoking weed (not because it was making me anxious and depressed, but because that’s when I noticed the lines).

Just in case they’re not visible enough, the smoker’s lines on my mouth are punctuated by parentheses that beg me everyday to rethink the promise I made to myself to never fill my face with poison.

I have laugh lines around my eyes (which I actually don’t mind).

Evidence Against

Some of my skin is smooth and unblemished.

I feel young. That has to come across in how I walk, how I gesture, and pretty much every other way I use my body to move and express myself.

What’s More Likely

Parts of my body look like they’ve aged more than others.

Alternative Thought / Positive Affirmation

I look like a woman. I look like I’ve lived. I look like I’m alive.

Anxiety Level (1-10)

5

What’s Worrying You?

Keep your own worry journal and work it through. I picked up this tool in cognitive behavioral therapy. Inevitably, my anxiety level at the end of the exercise is less than it was when I started. I hope it works that way for you, too.

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I'm a writer living in Los Angeles and founder of Plenty Woman, a website for women ready to believe we are everything anxiety says we're not: Beautiful. Lovable. Powerful. Important. Smart.



2 thoughts on “I Don’t Look Young Anymore: Worry Journal Exercise”

  • Oh I know what you mean. I am 43 now and I have the same issues. I see new lines or saggy places all the time and it makes me wish I could go back in time and do so many things differently! But there is a lot of great things about growing older. If I could go back in time and be 20 again, I wouldn’t do it for all the money in the world. I would never want to be that person again. I will take who I am now, lines and all, any day of the week! I think you look great, by the way! I don’t see any lines on you!

    • Lisa, I look at my personal history much the same — as tough as much of it was, I wouldn’t go back and change a thing. I like where it got me (and where it’s got me going). That said, I wouldn’t mind popping briefly back in time to get my 20-something self into the habit of wearing sunblock every day of those 13 years I spent in Arizona!

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