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I Love Life

I Love Life
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Missouri,
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June 28
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I love learning and am constantly delighted when that happens. There is so much I want to know and experience.

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SEPTEMBER 20, 2011 11:43PM

Ageing Gracefully (Open Call)

Rate: 22 Flag

Besides staying out of the sun or at least applying sunblock when in the sun, how are we supposed to age gracefully? How are we supposed to accept the new line on our face that seemed to sprout from no where or the so called sunspots (nothing sunny about them) that happened to land on our bodies uninvited? Face it, it's difficult to age gracefully when all around us we are reminded that youth is where it's at. "Youth is beauty" as one friend shared with me as though it was a private revelation. With bill boards, commercials, sporting events, and Hollywood's definition of beauty, it's difficult at times to accept the fact that as each day slips by, so does my youth.

I know the answers. I'll be glad to share my personal and not so personal advice as long as you realize that I am not immune to the same fears and worries as you. I also have to fight the fear that arises from witnessing my youth slowly abandoning me. On one hand, I feel the same as I did when in my 20's, 30's, and 40's....at least in some ways. Of course I no longer have the same energy, drive, and desires, but I also no longer possess the same jealousies, insecurities, and judgements as I did when younger. My bones ache a little. I'm a little more tired. I'm quite a bit heavier, but I still feel the same within when it comes to my love of life, thirst for knowledge, enthusiasm in trying new things, and my over all awe in the beauty that surrounds me. I've always loved and appreciated people, but now that appreciation is intense. I have changed in some areas.

This post is NOT about discovering the fountain of youth, although if you find it, I would like a sip! We all know the most common ways of holding onto the physical aspects of youth: using sunblock, eating the right foods, exercising, drinking loads of water, surrounding yourself with friends, do what you love, etc. This post is about aging gracefully which means accepting the aging process and it's accompanying companions without fighting them. You might as well as learn to accept it, because if you don't, you'll be miserable. Face it, it's a losing battle to fight that which you can't control.

 For me it's a constant battle. Just when I'm feeling fairly mellow about my looks at fifty two with six children, I see someone who I swear is ten years younger than I am, but then find out she's exactly my age...only thinner, with gorgeous hair and flawless skin. I've also noticed lately how everyone around me is looking younger these days. People in their 30's look like kids. As a matter of fact, how come there are so many children having children these days?! Perhaps I'm witnessing a new trend where young girls are now spending more time with their little sisters and brothers than they used to when I was that age. Whatever is going on, I swear most of this generation's parents are too young to be parents! I don't believe I ever looked as young as they do, even at 24 when I gave birth to my first child.

Just this afternoon, I brought my youngest son to a free orthodontist consultation. (We already know he needs braces, but before we sink thousands of dollars into the project, we want to make sure we're hiring the right person to take our money.) Not only am I in awe of the futuristic looking office where everything is computerized and no paper used, my mouth just about falls open as the child-like orthodontist walks in the consultation room.....someone not that much older than my oldest child. Actually, she doesn't look like a child at all, but instead, Miss America, 2011. No kidding. She's drop dead beautiful with an exaggerated tall thin body clothed in an expensive two piece tweed skirt and matching jacket. Flowing out of the short waisted jacket is a girly pastel pink blouse that complements the professional stylish suit. Her graceful tanned legs in high heeled shoes made her look more like a model than a high paid orthodonist. More than her looks, it was her young face that shocked me. I instantly felt old and matronly in her presence. I left the office vowing to get thin again even if I have to starve myself! Did I ever look that lean even before six kids? I don't think so.

How do I lessen my fears of "losing my youth" so I have a chance of "aging gracefully?" Here's what I've come up with.
One, I rarely look at pictures of myself when I was younger simply because it's too painful. Pictures accentuate what I don't look like anymore. Two, although I hang around people of all ages, the ones older than me make me feel younger.(I don't know what I'll do when I'm ninety.) Three, I happen to love and adore the elderly. Perhaps it's because of my close relationship with my own Grandparents as I was growing up. Just about all old people remind me of the beloved Grandparents I once had. Just because I'm getting older, doesn't mean I will be loved less. As a matter of fact, I will be loved more by a larger circle of people. The longer I'm around, the more love I will gather and the more I will get to love others. Love and kindness is truly the beauty I strive for. As I leave trickles and trills of youth behind, my focus is to replace the emptying "kiddy" cup with a spiritual beauty that overflows into this life and into the life beyond.
I've got a long way to go, but the journey is half the fun.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts on ageing gracefully. I need all the advice I can get!
How do I lessen my fears of "losing my youth" so I have a chance of "aging gracefully?"

Don't fear of losing your youth, it's inevitable. Embrace the fact instead and celebrate it. Beauty is only skin deep.
This reminds me of the book the "Velveteen Rabbit". All worn out from love. Looks mean nothing. It is not about being all preserved at the end, it is about sliding in at the last minute saying 'woo what a ride!' and the last little thing I have noticed about growing old is that only narcissistic people want to stay young looking. I just feel bad that my habits show on my aging body. Great Post and call. Thanks.
True that! Right are those who said that beauty is in the soul. A beautiful soul shines through one's face. What a beautiful sentiment, Patricia. R
Gracefully? Be glad you are still around to age. I am much less concerned with grace these days. IMHO the term "age gracefully" is mostly used to say "how can I avoid looking my age." We waste too much time trying to fool ourselves. I see every mark, every line, every wrinkle as testimony to my life. Those who go through life unmarked rarely have lived at all. The most effective anti ageing treatment is the smile and it's free.
Patricia, turns out this is a subject that I have written about and will post a few of them..another time. But the simple truth is there isn't anything you can do to reverse aging. A lot of it is genes followed by hard living, disease and sun. Thing is, you... have to make peace with the face in the mirror. You are never going to look like someone else. People who are gorgeous were born that way..purely an accident..it didn't take talent.

I think you look maaaarvelous, darling! Be good to yourself. " If you take very good care of ..chances are you are going to live a long time, and so will your wrinkles :)... I am 72. I dress for my age...no short skirts, no "t" tops. Time races by. Enjoy today.
Good grief woman, you're only 52?! I'm 75....AND I AM NOT AGING GRACEFULLY, screw that.
I'll always be young in my mind. Why let others define what beauty really is? Beauty is something that can be seen when you let yourself shine, from the inside.

Don't know that I'm growing old gracefully. I'm more inclined to stumble along the way to aging. ;)
I'm only serious when I have to be. Silly woman, I am. Ponder what could be worse...a young soul in a old body or an old soul with no body.
I'm 57 and want to grow up to be like Myriad :-)

My .02:

These are the days when I am so very glad that I wasn't such a hottie when young, because I look better now than at any other time in my life–so sez me when I look in the mirror. My appearance is fairly quirky–braids to my waist, vintage sixties French tortoise cat's eye New Wave eyeglasses, bright red lipstick, a tattoo, too many bangle bracelets, and a major thing for boots. Each day it is an adventure and a delight to get dressed. While men might not whistle at me, who cares?! I could do without the aches, but walk four miles every morning rain/shine/two degree temps, haven't eaten meat since 1973, sit for an hour of meditation every morning since 1998. It all pays off. I'm also the happiest I've ever been. That tends to show on the face. Sometimes I wonder why strangers are smiling at me, then realize I've got a goofy grin going, which on the subway, can be a bad thing.
Green, we need a photo
Patricia,

I have no profound thoughts on the subject. All I can tell you is what is in a message that stayed with me since I saw it on a greeting card when I turned sixteen. It's strange that I remember a few things verbatum, while generally I can be considered forgetful. Here it is:

Count not your age by the years you live,
but by the happiness you give -
the friends you make, the good you do,
the confidence that's placed in you.
Little things that day by day
which make a difference in some way-
so count [each] birthday one more mile
upon the road of things worthwhile.


Oh, and don't wear your glasses unless you're reading! :o) To living gracefully,

Cheers !
♥R
I think you've got it right! All I ask is that I look the best I can at any given age. I don't want to look like any one but me.
patricia, You are still young ... 52 is the new 37. Enjoy!

Um, Green, you ARE hot and you know it! Besides we all know the brain is the biggest sex organ. And no meat since '73, just imagine how beautiful your insides are as well.
Great call, Patricia.
I reckon children take our years like they used to take our cookies - six kids at a year a day it's amazing you're still alive !
Mine used up a lot of my good looks ;-) when they were teenagers - remarkably it didn't seem to affect their mother a bit ( o to be as blithe ;-)
Love Myriad's comment - greenheron appeared briefly some time ago in another Open Call ( What Do You Really Look Like, or something.) All I remember is teeth. Hair & teeth.
Body language, Patricia.
Your smile & the slight tilt of your head speak volumes, mostly about a person who is loving & kind, though maybe a tad shy, which is a beautiful thing I think :-)
Sorry about all the emoticons, it's the only way I can get through the day, now I've given up the alcohol & cigarettes.
Patricia, reflection here. I believe if we are loving and caring and can be happy with what we do and give to others that the smile on our face is testament to the true beauty within.

It is the beauty within that people will remember us by above all else.

Don't fear losing your youth. It is wasted time and energy better used to keep on loving and giving as you do. Smile, Patricia ... for you are beautiful. You always will be.
my secret is dating younger women and taking them out-of-the- way places. what matters is if they love their own bodies and wanna share. but ahm a male so maybe that's not much help. i paid my dues with a frigid wife.
Oops! My first sentence should have said, "Patricia, great reflection here."
"Love and kindness is truly the beauty I strive for. "

Rated for the wisdom contained in this one sentence. One might have avoided ending this sentence in a preposition; but that doesn't detract from the confidence I now have in your outlook.

Don't change a thing. . . .
I love reading your comments! They make me smile and add joy to my life. You, my friends, are so wise. Thank you for leaving me your thoughts. I truly appreciate them!
When my husband died and I had only turned 61 I was devastated. What would I do? I had no idea, but staying youthful in thought seemed to help. I got married and I laugh...alot! I also am dealing with things my 63 years never contemplated, pain from disease, but then there are the days I don't feel any pain and I am young again. I don't watch tv because I don't need more reminders that I am no longer "young" of body. Heck, I've just now began to enjoy what my body can do, versus what it was expected to do. I feel damn lucky to be alive. I smile often, because everyone looks better with a smile, and it makes people wonder what you are up to! Hah!
Smile constantly. Even to yourself.
Give daily gratitude through a positive attitude.
Larger sunglasses.
Red lipstick.
Loads of moisturizer.
Love relentlessly. Yourself first and others gratefully.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
No knives ever. The lines signify that we have lived and laughed a lot.
Walk like you are learning to walk for the first time.
Notice everything around you. All the beauty is right here.
It is in your eyes and what is behind your eyes.
Your thoughts become you.
Think about what makes you happy and healthy.
Do not hold back the tears. They are the shedding of the fears and faults held too closely.
Your tears are your inner truth. Let them flow freely, to release the space needed for more growth and wisdom.
Give back daily, to yourself and others.
Tend your garden. It reflects how you nurture yourself and the life you have created. Inside and outside...
Hug a child as often as possible.
Give thanks.
You are here.
Hugs!
Jimmy says that wrinkles only go where the smiles have been.
I simply don't think about it very much...I too am heavier and find my body can't take the same abuse it used to and I find hair in spots where one should not grow hair -- but I really don't worry too much about getting older, I'm a bit scarred but I earned every scar, kind of makes me look grizzled, that's it I'm going to go for the grizzled look, sans ear hair....
The way to age gracefully is to accept that you're aging and will not be without wrinkles, sags, lessened energy, or hair in weird places; to be proud of these signs because they are the result of experiences; to allow the younger generation to make their own mistakes without saying 'I told you so' or lecturing them; to carry on family traditions in order to honor both preceding and succeeding generations; and to have the wisdom to recognize that this culture that sells youth, beauty, and looks is simply trying to sell.

Wish I could claim to manage any of these.
Great piece, Patricia. For some reason when I read your friend's remark about "youth is beauty" I instantly recalled Keat's final lines from Ode on a Grecian Urn - "Beauty is truth, truth beauty---that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." I would like to think that aging gracefully involves growing more truthful with ourselves and others and more aware of eternal truths. This is why you are focusing less on the "trickles and trills of youth" and more on nurturing your spiritual beauty. You are a beautiful and truthful person, Patricia, and aging most gracefully indeed.
Beautifully written, with a wink and a nod toward the fountain of youth. I don't have any tips, except, exercise.
I never thought aging gracefully was much fun. So! Don't worry about your looks. Live a full, rich life. Love your kids. Follow your heart and make your dreams happen.
I think of myself as really a soul, not just a body
I needed this post, myself--and I'm only 31!! I don't know, maybe my soul is old. But this was a beautiful post.
Sorry to arrive so late, Patricia, I love your thoughts on life and aging and keeping young at heart. That's mine I guess, keeping young at heart, open to love, and I keep the faith! That helps with stress : )