A few months ago, I did a panel, and follow-up interview with Prevention Magazine (a magazine which I love, by the way) on aging gracefully. How funny to find myself being a voice for that…
On the panel, as others talked about diet, exercise and how to look young, I found myself getting emotional as I thought about my grandfather, Nana, who had just passed away. I realized, while sitting on the stage, that aging gracefully for me meant living with dignity, being of service, and cherishing the relationships in my life.
A few weeks later, I met an upcoming actor from a popular movie, and rather than thinking about how cute he was, felt like an overprotective aunt. I realized the actor was closer to my daughter’s age than mine!
And at my daughter’s elementary school, as I sat in on a meeting with mostly Kindergarten and 1st grade parents, I realized, as the mom of a “graduate” and a 4th grader, that not only had most of my creative ideas for our committee already been implemented, but we also had a few years of experience to reflect upon.
I spoke at another a panel last week, and as I looked at the eager entrepreneurs in the audience, I realized they were on average 10-15 years younger than me.
This past weekend, my husband’s cousin got married. As I celebrated with the family, I did not even realize that this was the family I married into… Rather, after 18 years of marriage, and with the depth that time and shared experiences create, I was with people I care for deeply and who I am most comfortable with.
Most importantly, my daughter, Tara, turned 13 this month.
I’m now aunty, the older mom, the mentor, and the mom of a teenager.
And rather feeling old and anxious, I am celebrating my age.
One of the tenets in my new book, Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy, is to NOTICE. Notice the people and circumstances that show up along the journey, notice your thoughts and feelings, notice your body, and notice the messages the universe is sending you. And so, lately I’ve been paying attention more to what it means for me to age gracefully.
Some things I’ve noticed:
1. Noticing the effect of sugar and gluten on my body. After doing a cleanse with friends, I noticed that my chronic body pain vanished. I hate to admit it, but my addiction to cookies and cupcakes has been catching up with me. I need to honor my changing body to stay healthy, energetic and vibrant for my future.
2. Noticing how good I feel when I exercise regularly. But also how much I enjoy exercising with friends – walking together, meeting up at class, or doing yoga with my husband and kids.
3. Noticing what keeps me intellectually stimulated. I’m enjoying reading books again. I’m keeping up on world events. I’m trying to see more movies, go to art exhibitions, and enjoy the cultural events in our city.
4. Noticing who the people are that I want in my life as I grow older. During the holidays, we had a friends stay with us, and I realized that in addition to my kids, my husband and my family, these are the people I want to grow older with. It’s a wonderfully comfortable feeling.
Another insight has been that to embrace who I am in my mid-40s is so much more empowering that pretending to be in my mid-30s. My body, my relationships, my career have all changed so much in the last decade. Its time to embrace them, celebrate them and move forward with enthusiasm and excitement!
Would love to hear your thoughts on aging gracefully, and noticing the qualities in your life that you want to nurture. Please share!