“All of what our lives have to offer us, sadly some may never get an opportunity to experience, enjoy or even know of. We need to realize time is most precious. Best to choose to be grateful, experience living, loving, giving and appreciate one’s “Life”, in itself” . C .Star. V
I was the youngest child growing up and even as I got older, I continued to be surrounded by those much older than myself. I did have friends that were my age, but majority of the people around me, were much older than me. In my 20’s and 30’s, I was still surrounded by many friends about or near 10 years older than myself. Then, at one point (which seemed so sudden), I was the oldest within my new friends and others around me. This was definitely an awaking part of my life.
I recall in my 40’s , I visited my 70-year-old auntie, she once had recovered from breaking her hip when she was younger and had just survived cancer for the second time. You could say, she was, what was called (an unsinkable “Molly Brown” type women). On my visit with her, I had asked her, “What is it like being 70 years old and aging? She began to tell me her daily routine..
One of the things that she told me, that stuck in my memory was, when she first gets up in the morning there are days she has a lot of aches and pains, but she heads to a warm shower and lets the warm water therapeutically ease those pains away and then, she feels quite better and starts her day. She told me she enjoys her cup of coffee in the morning and looks forward to a swim in the ocean every day, as water seemed to be her life therapy and she always lived near or on the beach. If she couldn’t get time to go down to the ocean, she would make time to at least go for a swim in the pool (she sure did have a good tan). She ended up having surgery in her late 80’s (due to a old pacemaker, it needed updating sooner as it was older technology), but she did survive it and then passed away not too long afterwards , she lived to 90 yrs old!!
I also observed both my grandmothers and my mother upon their aging, as well. One of my grandma’s, had a faithful routine every day, when she woke-up, she got dressed-up, put on her jewelry, did her hair and make-up and put on her high heels, she did this ‘till the day she passed away, which was close to 90 years old as well. My other grandma, was more of a free spirit, she lived life with such a good sense of humor, she had an infectious laugh and was quite a spontaneous lady. She was always ready to have fun, travel and had such a carefree manner about her, she lived until around 97. My mom was and still is a gracious and cheerful person, even though she was a very strict parent and had been more of an introvert type personality. She worked with the public until she was 78, but then my sibling and I had to tell her she had to stop driving and working (it was for her own safety), she was not too happy about it and she actually worked with a woman that was very active and in her 80’s.
I may not feel as though, I had the type of life or personalities of any of these women in my life, but I had been fortunate to witness such strong and gracious woman figures, in my life. Even though all of them were different, they seem to have had the same mindset. I think that’s what made a difference in the way they aged and why they ended-up seemingly happy, as they lived their lives out. Even though, they grew older and looked different than their younger years, that’s not what came across.. As, they were all happy with themselves, with life itself, cooking, eating and living their lives out to their fullest, no matter what.
With decades behind me now, I thought about what I would say to someone, if they asked me; “What it is like to be getting older and be your age”? Well, I’d have to say, there’s a couple of changes I’ve noticed. One, is in the motivation factor. Whether, I am felling well, in good physical shape and well mental health, “The wanting to do-things-mode” is a bit more relaxed. Not that I don’t want to do things or be active, I’ve never been one to relax (writing helps).
I notice that as you get older it seems as though you can get tired more
easier (especially if you are not kept active, then not sleeping well or if bored). For myself as well as others over a certain age, we may still be active or may still want-to, can and are able to-get-to-do many things, if they’ve always been active and even if not, but the pace and the ‘wanting-to’ may have
changed a bit. As well as, the tolerating of everyday repeated of
excess stress . When younger the stress level that was once able to be
tolerated, can no longer be tolerated without much toil and possible damage
faster to effect ones health.
The one bothersome thing for me is, “The Greying Hair”. It’s not so much that greying hair can make you look older (that’s one thing), but it’s just the having-to-deal with it and eventually it feels like a chore. So, as I started more greying and even white hair, I decided to color it lighter. I know that graying and white hair is just another part of aging and looks good on so many people, but I wasn’t ready just yet, to have that look.. I had been in the beauty business for years (when I was younger) I changed the color of my hair all the time, yet it doesn’t feel the same when you’re (having to) color it to cover the grey. However, I am grateful and have surely earned those “Grey-Hairs”.
Most people as they age or begin to get older, may complain about aging and what they can’t do or didn’t get to do. This is common, but when it’s in excess (as complaining) about getting older and not being able to be enjoying their life, they seem to get in a mindset of feeling too old and speaking negatively can start to make one feel sick. This most likely is done out of fear, regrets and uncertainty. In addition to, not adhering to their health or accepting and coping beneficially with changes in themselves and their lives. As I said above, people get older, but they still may want to do more (to check off that bucket list), but just as when younger, there are factors that take place. Some factors could be, getting injured or hurt, sometimes it take longer to heal as people age, for others it’s finding their-own-time because they may care for aging parents and have young adult children with grandchildren that they want to spend time with (which can be a good thing) and others may have health issues, financial issues etc.. these can also determine, how much one is able to or can do.
As well, when we compare our lives and ourselves to other people (especially as we age) it can cause deception and inaccuracies of reality. People cope in all different ways to aging, in how they do things and how they look. I personally have never had any enhancements, augmentation’s or any alterations (well I color my hair). I always felt, clean water and the foods we eat (getting proper nutrition) is most vital. Yet, not everyone has access to some things nor are willing to do some things. “Aging is a process within nature, one in which you don’t necessarily need to fight it and yet, not totally be accepting of it”. Sure it’s nice to have a little help and looking better, but you know the sayings “You don’t want to mess with Mother Nature” and “If it’s not broke, then don’t try and fix it” (well a little maybe), but not much or too much.
However, one must be able to pleasantly go with the flow of aging and realize ones limits. As we age our bodies can change physically and mentally, but for some people it’s not as noticeable. We can learn from aging people with a healthy aging mindset and knowing of our limitations. One must be understanding about the aging process and it may take having to re-invent oneself (or ones lifestyle) just as in any other situation in life. Prevention of illness (healthier food & weight), medications needed for treatment, along with extra stressful situations removed, calculations of home safety (to ensure less falling and harmful mishaps) within ones preparations in their life-cycles, habits and routines.
At one point or another we all fear aging, but it is a natural process and it doesn’t have to be a scary, sad or a negative thing. Being more conscientious and keeping careful and healthy in ones, younger years will help with the flow as one ages, into a graceful-ager. Regardless, I think it’s important to learn how to have a positive outlook upon aging (read different articles, blogs and opinions, about aging well). One must have the want-to-gracefully-age, have a mindset to live and enjoy life, along with the appreciation of even ‘being able’, to become a senior person. One must keep finding or creating meaning, joy and purpose in one’s life (accept those things you can’t change & change the things one needs to) and a good sense of humor often helps a lot.
Just keep in wanting to live-out your life, to the very-end, no matter what, while practicing a mindset of being happy and healthy as you go through the decades. No need to have a perfect diet or body, but keep closer to healthier foods, purified water and keeping your body active with stretching and walking, those are a must (adding some free-weights for muscle toning & building), these helps to keep you on the right path. Worry less, by enjoying more, have a hobby that’s fun to you, interact with people that have the same attitude about accepting and enjoying life, while being older. Have some younger, but mature friends, keep your communication with family and friends as this is important (do some traveling) and surround yourself with people that are loving and caring. Teach children to do the same…
As stated, a common factor in aging, is realizing your limits, coping and adapting to what is needed, at whatever age you are.. “What we think we can do and what we want to do, as these may not all coincide”. This seems to happen, even in the best of us humans, whether or not we are healthy, fit and have a healthy lifestyle. Even if, our bodies can still look good and if we can have positive attitudes. To be happy and feel good at any level of our lives, it is important to understand the value of knowing one’s limits (physically and mentally). We may not be able to keep up the same pace of doing things, as we did when we were younger and that’s okay, being able to (only) do some thing’s is better than doing nothing, but this often is the most difficult notion to accept.
This notion has been the most difficult one for me, but I had begun to understand and recognize more of my limits and still, know what I want and can do. An extremely helpful thing to learn is planning out life goal strategies, your finances way in advance, be skilled at something and learn to be resourceful. This helps even when things don’t turn-out as well financially or as planned (I know first-hand). As a stay-at-home-mom, doing my best to raise all our children, while on a budget and later living on even smaller budget, but thank goodness for Plan B and C!! There is no “One thing, fits all” in life. Just learn to make wiser choices! I myself and others I know, could have made a few more wiser choices, but most beneficial in life is about how you end-up to view it all.. So just flow with it and proceed on….
I learned these tactics and to use the strong, gracious and humorous attitudes of my aunt’s, grandma’s, mother, other female and male members of my family, and friends that surrounded me. I’ve lived in many scenarios, had experienced various lifestyles, hobbies, employments and my appearance has varied over the years. I also had a wonderful family doctor growing up (he was an older gentleman) and was retiring when I was in my late teens. In one of the last times that I had seen him, he was saying goodbye to me and told me these three things; 1. Please don’t rely just on vitamin supplements in getting proper nutrition, eat your vitamins within real food. 2. Exercise is a must of some type, it will be needed (wear a watch and start by walking 15 mins. straight), then no matter where we are at walk back and that’s 30 mins! (If you need to start less then do 10 mins and build up from there) and he said it’s not how fast your walk, it’s how far you go! 3. If you, a loved one, your pet or a friend is ever takes ill, has a condition or is diagnosed with something, always promise me to get a second opinion! Those things he told me, were priceless and I shall hope to never forget them!!
I seemed to always keep that thought of myself, as that younger me, the surfer, hippie-ish, beach loving gal (I think my soul relates to that well). I’ve learned to get up early, not only get things done, but to enjoy the earlier hours of the day for myself. “No matter how I feel, I don’t let it take over, how I want to feel” and I may have accepted some of the aging process, but I’m not totally give in…
“In this aging process, the absolute most important thing I’ve learned, within aging and living happier is that one needs to love, make ‘friends with’ and be the ‘strongest supporter’, to that person one sees in the reflection of the mirror”.
C .Star. V
How do you feel about aging? Leave a comment below!!
2 thoughts on “Upon Aging Well”
How good that you have had such strong (but different) role models for aging! You’re right, old age is marked– but not marred– by less wanting-to and more coping. Your doctor’s final advice is like gold.
Thank You so much, for taking the time to read my article and glad you liked it! Yes, I agree with your comment!!