After I make coffee each morning, I snuggle on my couch wrapped in a blanket and scroll through social media. Headline after headline offers help on how to defy aging, how to exude a youthful appearance, how to properly live these later chapters or ‘defy aging.’ I’m not a fan of that phrase, because it’s bullshit. We are, all of us, aging. I prefer to ask the question; “How can I age gracefully?”
I think about aging gracefully for a bit and what it means to me, and then invite my newsletters subscribers to weigh in. I’m curious what aging gracefully means to other women.
For me, aging gracefully means to not be ashamed of the toll time will take on my body. To move with grace despite the inevitable losses. My body is purely a vessel and of course I want to care for it. But there is more to me than this vessel. My mind, my heart, and the way I move through the world is what makes me who I am.
Nancy from Minnesota responded:
“Aging gracefully means opening to a new rhythm—one that takes into account changes in energy levels along with how I live and move in the world. I ask myself who was I created to be at this stage of my life (I am almost 74)? I attempt to approach this time through the lens of reflection, asking what have I learned so far and how am I asked to contribute and be present in the world. Aging gracefully means accepting both the gifts and the burdens of this time.” ~ Nancy, Minnesota
Nancy’s words resonate. There is grace in acknowledging reality, in asking ourselves how we want to move through these moments. This is what it means to be comfortable in our own skin. When we find such comfort and acknowledge our gifts and our burdens, we are authentic beings.
Alison from California weighed in:
“For me, Aging Gracefully means accepting life’s changes whatever they may be and however they may come to be, even if they arrive all at once in a whirlwind or just keep on coming “steady as SHE goes.” And life’s changes can run the full gamut of:
- Adapting to new relationships with or without partners, family, and/or friends
- Acknowledging appearance differences in body, hair, skin, ears, and eyes
- Challenging and coping with internal and/or external health issues
- Welcoming and enjoying diverse wellness and exercise programs
- Strengthening outlooks on life with mindset, wisdom and beliefs
- Celebrating personal style, inside and out, to better fit life’s journey ahead
- Enacting positive plans for careers, education, and/or retirement; and
- Embracing various lifestyle options (solitary or communal) in new or the same locations
Yup, the whole SHE-bang!
And I call it the whole SHE-bang for a reason. Because we WOMEN are the matriarchs and leaders of our persons, households, extended families, and communities. We are at the core of everything everywhere and always have been throughout Time. So, let’s age with grace, improve with wisdom, and adjust adroitly as Time takes us forward on our journey’s path!
There is so much power in Alison’s words! And acknowledgement of the wisdom women have offered throughout the universe since time began. This is not the time to cower or apologize for our appearance, this is the time to be true and to use our voices. We can live an example of grace that is a gift to our daughters and their daughters.
Karen from Wyoming’s words are lovely, honest and true:
“That’s a tough one because I’m in a bit of a struggle with my age. All of a sudden, even though it’s been coming on for awhile, I realize that I am probably considered an older woman. Whew! So what do I do? How do I age gracefully?Thankfully, my friends are getting older, too. It’s helpful to know that I’m not alone. But still, what to do? We talk about aging a bit and share our experiences. Sometimes I listen to a meditation called Rocking the Crone. It’s good.It helps me embrace my age in a positive way.I stay active, read, write, meditate, practice yoga. I love to spend time with my grandchildren, who help me to see the world in a fresh way again. I don’t want to become complacent about life, my life. I want to embrace every moment with curiosity, courage and hopefully, joy.” ~ Karen, Wyoming
And, did you notice? Not one woman thought aging gracefully had anything to do with weight, wrinkles or working to defy aging.
This is the first in a series of questions I will pose to newsletter subscribers on the topic of our chapters after 50. If you want to participate, subscribe to the Our Stories Today newsletter which comes out 1-2 times a month. I’d love for you to add your voice!