How I Finally Learned To Age Gracefully
I swore to remain young and vital always. Aging? Not for me, thanks. For most of my adult life, I refused to consider that there might actually be benefits to getting older. I went kicking and screaming into my 50s, but now as I approach 60, I have discovered ways to make peace with getting older. Here are some ways to actually celebrate your age:
1. Accept that you've earned every wrinkle and wear them with pride.
I was always so proud that I looked 10 years younger than my age. But, as is inevitable, the day came when I looked at my reflection and wondered who I saw staring back.
I even considered plastic surgery. But I came to the conclusion that (besides the hefty price tag), the idea of living with a face that looked 40 on a body that was 60 was not going to work for me, and I finally accepted that I wasn't going to get younger. And those laugh lines and worry wrinkles? I earned them and I learned from them. I consider those lines money in my karma bank, and I feel well paid.
2. Show that body some respect! It has served you well.
At first glance, when I look at myself in the mirror, I see many imperfections. At second glance, I see a body that has romped me through childhood, changed me through adolescence, and supported me (literally and otherwise) into my late 50s and asked little in return.
I know that not everyone is as fortunate, but I think if you tally up the bumps and bruises, the broken toes, the knees that bear a few extra pounds, you'll come to realize, as I did, that you may not look like a supermodel, but your body has always been there for you. Pamper it a little bit.
Massages are a great way to say thank you to your body. Splurge on different body lotions or essential oils to suit your mood and ACTUALLY USE THEM. Put the correct fuel in your tank, not the processed-food-junk that will jam your gears. Show that body some respect. It deserves that from you.
3. Stop "appearance shaming" yourself by holding to unreasonable standards.
Women are notorious for this. How many times have you bought clothing that you had to wrangle on, or shoes that had you begging for mercy by midday? How many times have you looked at the clock, wishing the day/event would end so you could get home and change into comfortable clothes?
The idea of "Mom jeans" sends women screaming from dressing rooms. But I've earned the right to enjoy my casual time and that no longer includes enduring low-rise jeans cutting into my torso.
I live my life not to impress with my look, but rather to make myself happy. I'd rather wear Mom jeans and sit comfortably all night than stuff myself into hipster jeans and refuse every morsel of food and drink so that I can be admired.
Life is meant to be savored, and that doesn't mean chasing the latest 20-something or 30-something trends. I'm not advocating looking slovenly. I'm saying find your comfortable style and wear it proudly.
4. Honor the good choices that helped you get this far!
Look, I didn't make it this far in life by being stupid (although I gave it my best shot at times). I made choices, good and bad. I raised my family. I worked jobs to put food on plates. And now is my time to celebrate that I am still here.
5. Know that aging is a gift. It frees you to do what you want, when you want.
If things don't feel good for me, I don't do them. I don't have to. I have earned the right to say no thanks. So have you. While I'm sure none of us have lived the same experiences in life, we share one thing: We made it. We are here. That's a hell of a blessing.
Trust me on this, my friends. Live comfortably. Live securely knowing that you've accomplished much, and that you've paid your dues. Aging should be agift, not a fear or an embarrassment. Give yourself the love and peace that you have earned.