Finding Beauty in Aging: Part One
I'm a firm believer that there are more advantages to getting older than there are setbacks. Our intellect is established yet expanding, our influence flourishes, and we have the power to live out our values authentically. Plus, our earned wisdom allows us to cope as well as succeed. Most likely, we are comfortable economically and professionally.
I am fifty-plus and if I really believe in all of this well-earned authority, then why do I struggle with my changing face and body? I know I'm not alone. From serious health issues to minor age-related transformations, any of us can become discouraged or, worse, depressed.
Despite my personal annoyance with no longe looking thirty, I'm buoyed by the strength of the pro-age movement. Also, recent changes in my life are allowing me to let go of my hang-ups about getting older.
Today, I look everywhere for women in their middle years (and greater) not only retaining physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual power, but building it. When I see others leaning into where they are, rather than running from it, their lifestyle resonates. Take one look at social media and advertising - heck, even Hollywood! - and we can see aging well has a strong hold on society. It's inspirational!
A year ago, I thought it was time for me to quiet my life into semi-retirement. It was nice for a little while. The laundry, cooking, playing with the dog, enjoying time with some friends, and waiting for other friends to get off work. Being patient until my children could take a break from work or school. Hovering while my husband completed his meaningful work day. Eager for inspiration to strike regarding art or writing. A lot of "waiting" was happening for me. I soon realized my heart and mind were not ready to slow down.
That feeling of a need to get moving is now helping me embrace my age in new ways. I recently opened a new chapter leading the marketing and advancement department for a 130-year-old intergenerational organization and beautiful community for older adults of every ability and income level, along with a small group of young women in danger of homelessness. Started by two sisters, donors make programs and generosity between generations possible. Delightfully, we also have an anti-agism message at our core. This, and the residents we serve, are daily reminders we can do anything we put our minds to, no matter our age.
I may not have the endless energy I had in my thirties, but I am feeling engaged and alive in my fifties, thanks to my family, my work, and myself. Those wrinkles in the mirror are less and less of a big deal. Like Sophia Loren says, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” Thanks to those I love and thanks to engaging with a mission I care about, I find I have a great anti-aging source to tap into. Bring on that mirror!