Adapted from Chapter 15, Old Bitch: Spoiling the Golden Years, from The Bitch in Your Head: H to Finally Squash Your Inner Critic, by Jacqueline Plumez, Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Sooner or later after forty, The Bitch will tell you, “You’re old and over the hill.” Or you will look in the mirror and The Bitch will torture you about the roll that has formed around your middle, or the droopy skin under your upper arms, or tell you that the wrinkles around your knees make you look like a camel. Here are three ways to counter this depressing load of crap:


1. Please yourself

You have probably spent your life trying so hard to be a good daughter, wife, friend and mother. You have probably devoted a great deal of time to pleasing others. Now is the time to focus on being a good friend to yourself. Take some time to figure out how to live in a way that pleases you!


2. Make positive plans for the future

If The Bitch is trying to tell you that your future is behind you, find some new hills to climb. Make a “bucket list” of all the things you want to see and do before you die. Most people think they are going to do all the things they never had time to do when they retire, but then get depressed and spend too much time watching TV and waiting for cocktail hour. Hang out with people who are actively using their time in positive ways. Share your bucket list with them.


3. Try something new

The famous psychologist, Carl Jung, said that people who have spent their life in hard-driving business activities, will probably enjoy doing something nurturing or altruistic when they retire. And those who have been nurturers might like to get involved in running an organization or starting a business. Or if you like what you have been doing, you may just want to find a new way of doing it. The point is, if you feel that your life needs to be shaken up a bit, find a positive way to do it — and some role models to lead the way.


What to do:

Each life stage had its challenges, but I think the last stage is the most difficult. There are so many losses: friends die, bodies droop and ache. And it’s frightening to come to terms with death. But don’t let The Bitch make you depressed and cranky. Become one of those older people we all admire and love to be around: the kind who stay vital and interesting, whether they are in the best of health or not.