My relationships with friends and family are not the same. When I began this experiment, I told my daughter and husband about it on the way to dinner. I told them about the yamas and then about Aprigraha. I asked them both to guess what I coveted. They both answered in unison “Aging”. I was stunned. I thought my energy that I spent in looking as best as I could was something that only affected me. I rationalized my thoughts with my family that I was only trying to model good care for myself.
It turned out that my energy affected everyone around me. That my model of “self-care” was the energy that people knew me by and how people related to me. My daughter went to retrieve a drink for her and me while shopping at Whole Foods. She came back and said they did not have any drinks labeled as having anti-oxidants so she did not know what to get me. I told her she could pick me anything that looked good to her. First she looked at me wearily then lit up and said “really?” Best drink I had in a long time.
My annual visit to my doctor was another example of how my Aprigraha for aging affected my relationships. At the end of my exam, she asked if I had been emotionally feeling alright. I said yes and told her about some of the changes I was making in my life. She told me that I was heavier than I had been in some time and was concerned by my weight gain. I asked how many pounds had I gained? Eight pounds was the answer. I asked if there was a health concern about the weight and she replied, “No, I just had not known you to not be concerned with a weight that high.” She knew me to be concerned with my appearance and my health. Someone I only see once a year, relates to me through that lens because that is the energy I have put out into the world. It was eye opening for me and a little confusing for my doctor. I have told friends of my experiment and have been met in a quick and defensive tone. Most also stated what I had initially to my family, that I was only caring for myself. That I did love myself for taking an active role in controlling my weight, my hair color, my skin, etc. I found myself not engaging in the conversation about me but reflecting that this experiment was for me and was not a comment for others about them. I stopped wearing so much make-up to hide my aging spots and wrinkles. I use a little when I feel like it. I had a friend jokingly ask me if I had started to smoke crack because I was not investing as much time in my appearance like I once had. “ I think I actually look a lot happier,” I told her “my skin is actually clear and healthy looking.” My friend agreed with my own assessment.