What does it really mean to age gracefully?
When I look at the dictionary meaning of graceful it says “characterized by elegance or beauty of form, manner, movement or speech; elegant.” As I start this new chapter of my life I have been thinking about what it means to age gracefully. Two women who are the dictionary meaning to the letter are film stars Helen Mirren, aged 70, and Judi Dench, aged 80. They are the epitome of the words “aging gracefully.”
We all are going to sag, wrinkle, bulge, and it’s easy to just look at these superficial trappings. But there is more to this aging gracefully than meets the eye. What about being kind, getting along with people, having a love for family, friends, and life, being compassionate, having your feet planted solidly on the ground and finally knowing your own mind.
What kind of attitude you have heading into this later part of life is key. You can’t sit and do nothing, bemoaning all the negatives of getting old. It’s a fact of life, everyone gets old. You have gained a certain amount of wisdom over the years, resilience, and have a more mature perspective on life. Growing old is an accomplishment in itself — look at the alternative.
Here’s a few tips I think will help to ward off the negative stereotype of getting old.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Really, is all the silly stuff we worry about really worth it all. Yes, I have to eat healthy and keep active but does it really matter if I eat french fries on Friday or missed eating my vegetables today. Does it matter if there’s dust on the floors or furniture. Once in a while, I think we have to learn to say “who gives a crap” and let it go.
Continue to learn and keep informed.
There’s nothing more annoying than trying to carry on a conversation with someone who doesn’t have a clue what’s going on or have any interest. Or even worse, talking to someone who figures they know everything there is to know about a subject and they are about to tell you everything. It’s important to keep yourself in the know…read, keep up-to-date on what’s going on in your city, country and even around the world. Keep your mind active by learning something new, or play bridge or do they crossword puzzles, anything to keep your mind active. Eleanor Roosevelt wisely said you should do one thing every day that scares you. I agree, but within reason.
Stay in the present.
The past is just that…the past. And there is nothing you can do about all the regrets or bad circumstances now…it’s over; it’s done. By focusing too much on what happened long ago you will miss out on all the beautiful memories you can make right here and now with family and friends. Live for today. Think about your future. Remain eager to see what’s in store for yourself. Make plans.
Don’t be afraid to throw caution to the wind.
Don’t spend all your time avoiding risk at all costs. You still have to live and love your life in the here and now. It just may bring you immense satisfaction to follow your dreams and cross something off that bucket list. Make sure you have a bucket list. Be reasonable though. Does it make sense to spend all your retirement money on that villa in France or that Maserati. Maybe, if it soothes your soul. “Just kidding, of course”.
Wear rose colored glasses.
Keep your cup half full rather than half empty. What’s wrong with thinking the best of people and thinking every thing will work out for the better? Think of things in the best light. Grumpy, miserable people are hard to be around, they are emotionally draining.
So why not fight aging with all you’ve got. Why? Because who wants to be here if you are not loving every minute, passionately and enthusiastically. You can live an amazing life at any age.