When we’re younger, we can’t wait to be older. But when we’re older, we wish we were younger. Part of the human condition, especially in western cultures, is wishing for what we don’t have and then being surprised that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be when we have it.
But not every culture views aging as an unfortunate event. Rather than dreading their next birthday, many cultures look forward to getting older because of the wisdom and knowledge that comes with life experience. Some cultures even believe their elders have special powers.
Western Views on Aging
In the ‘80s, the band Alphaville sang the slow, melancholy words, “I want to be forever young.” It’s a sentiment many people in western cultures agree with and a goal they aspire to achieve. From workout programs, to expensive skincare regimens and injections, to surgeries, some people will stop at nothing to keep their young looks. The adverse reaction to aging is partly due to the high degree of importance western cultures place on young people. Originally, Protestant values encouraged this way of thinking because they prized the ability to contribute actively to the community through work and social activities.
However, western cultures aren’t completely devoid of the respect and trust of older people. The average age of US Presidents is 54 and Supreme Court justices is 53.
Eastern Views on Aging
The Chinese philosopher Confucius promoted a positive view of aging. Those in China, Japan, and Korea tend to follow these ideals and younger generations generally view their elders with understanding and reverence. While some eastern cultures are taught this way of thinking, others listen to their elders out of necessity. For example, one woman in New Guinea was the last living person who witnessed a typhoon that devastated her community. They relied on her to provide guidance as to which plants they could survive on should another disaster occur.
There are many customs in different parts of the world that confer special attention and respect on aging populations:
- Asian Cultures: Adult children in China, Japan, and Korea commonly invite their parents to live with them when they reach a certain age. In China specifically, they have an Elderly Rights Law that requires children to visit their parents frequently or they could be fined or spend time in jail.
- Hawaii: Kūpuna, the Hawaiian word for elders, insinuates knowledge, experience, and expertise. Hawaiian grandmothers are specifically looked up to for their knowledge and skills in creating traditional accessories like leis.
- Ecuador: The Huaorani community in Ecuador believes their elderly spiritual guides, called mengatoi, have special powers that allow them to transform into jaguars. They often sit with those who are sick to channel animal spirits to help them feel better.
- Greek island of Ikaria: Residents live their lives to the fullest — literally and figuratively. Their favorite activities include staying up late, eating Kalamata olives, drinking mountain tea, and swimming. More curiously, the people who live on Ikaria were found to be 4 times more likely to live to be 90 than Americans, and even after being diagnosed with cancer or heart disease they live 8 to 10 years longer.
Smarter Nutrition aims to support natural aging processes with supplements that are made to support the ongoing health of your mind and body as it gets older.* They say life is short, but we believe you can live a long, full life with the right support.
Digestive Support: The stomach starts producing fewer enzymes in your 60s. Enzymes are critical for digesting all types of food and when the body doesn’t have enough, it can cause cramps, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation.
To help support normal digestive processes, Smarter Enzymes is formulated in a vegetarian capsule with crucial enzymes like amylase, lactase, and lipase.* Our formula also includes AstraGin® to help support absorption.
Collagen Support: Collagen is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. As the body ages, it makes less and less collagen naturally and the collagen deep in the skin’s layers changes from a tightly organized network of fibers to an unorganized maze.
SmarterSkin Collagen helps support naturally graceful aging from the inside out. Formulated with collagen peptides and natural support ingredients like green tea and vitamin C, Smarter Skin Collagen helps encourage the production of new collagen while supporting the preservation of the body’s existing collagen stores.*
- Joint Support: As collagen decreases in the body, it can affect the tendons and cartilage in your joints. When you’re not able to move like you’re used to, it can put a damper on the activities you enjoy. Smarter Joint Food and Smarter Curcumin are formulated as stand-alone supplements, but they form a powerful duo when bundled together. Smarter Joint Food nourishes your joints with whole collagen, MSM, turmeric, CMO, bromelain, vitamin C, and lipase while Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric root, has antioxidant properties and helps support normal inflammation responses.*
- Jacobs, Liz. “What it’s like to grow old, in different parts of the world.” Ted Blog. 2013.
- Weintrob, Grace. “Aging Around the World.” Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging. 2022.
- Laurance, E. The Sneaky Reason Why Getting Older Can Lead to Digestive Problems—And What To Do About It. Well + Good. 2021.
- The Nutrition Source. “Collagen.” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 2022.