So much advice from those still so young!
As my 60th birthday loomed I became inquisitive about this subject. When I took a long hard look in the mirror, was I supposed to be ashamed of my now totally silver hair or a few small laugh lines around the hazel eyes, that had a determined glint to them?
Was I supposed to declare my life over when I felt it had only recently begun?
I was now unencumbered with children and grandchildren with a husband who worked away from home. We had moved countries, downsized our home to a small Villa, and downsized our bountiful garden so that when I reached my 70’s I could manage it. Our pets were given away to others who would love them. And yes, I recognized there is an art to all of this. I could see it as losing what I loved, losing the peer position in the family hierarchy, and being depressed that now I was being asked by my children “To be Careful mum” or “are you eating well? Are you taking your vitamins? Are you socialising Mum? Or I could be grateful I was no longer playing tag with family, work, and monthly accounts. I was no longer chief cook and bottle washer; my family had grown up and now had their own.
As I looked in that mirror, I decided there were two ways to go:
Grieve for once what was, a tall, slim, attractive, natural brunette with olive skin and hazel eyes, or fall in love with who I had become. A senior with a few minor health problems, having had polio as a child I was told by the professionals ‘who had not had polio’ what to expect as I aged. Really? The Mirror showed me that my figure had changed, no longer a slim waistline even though I swam regularly. The advice I was given – is you become what you see. I saw wisdom, experience, love, and a different mature face looking back at me. I saw a life of hope, fun, and laughter. There was nothing to be sad about, it still felt like the world was my oyster, why not?
That was ten years past, I’m now grateful for a smaller home, this once house-proud woman finds dusting and cleaning gets in the way of being creative. As for the garden, well I still grow my herbs and greens, nothing like garden fresh produce. However, I can proudly say I’ve encouraged quite a few people to garden, and our young neighbours enjoy picking their daily veggies from our garden. Why not? It’s all about community and conversations. Pets? Two goldfish is all I need to keep the feng shui peaceful in my home.
As a senior, I gave myself permission to grow in all ways.
That was the start. In the past four years, I have studied Art Therapy gaining my certificates in Art therapy. Becoming a number one bestselling author, I have had 14 books published, a mix of children’s and adult fantasy. Would you believe – a movie has been made from one of my books? I still pinch myself. I judge two amazing global Entrepreneur awards. I’m a speaker on the art of aging and motivation. My art is sought out after 6 exhibitions have been held.
We have travelled around Europe and Asia, caravanned Australia, and met many wonderful people who all say Age is in the mind. I found that interesting, so I joined a psychology course, which delved very deeply into religion, philosophy, and DNA. I learned how our thinking is cultivated not by (our mother) but by the lineage of females in the direct bloodline. Why? So, I could understand what was happening to my senior friends and husband, and myself. and how my thought process was changing as well.
I freely wander the beaches when I feel like it, a thermos of tea and a biscuit or two on a beautiful day.
There is nothing like it! I wander the shores when it’s blowing a gale, feeling the wind in my long silver hair, and the sea spray on my face. I’m grateful this country is war free. I cannot imagine what women my age in places like Ukraine or any other war-torn country would feel. I allow myself to be humbled by nature, birth, and death as the seasons pass. I allow myself the time to reminisce about life. Do I grieve for what might have been? No, I see it as a lesson, I learned to grow into who I am today.
I also disagree with many experts on this subject of aging.
When will the experts see aging as part of life? Why should we succumb to the adverts, watching senior women learn the tricks of make-up to look 40 years when their bodies say I’m in my 60s +? What’s so awful about aging? We should be celebrating that we got this far and what’s next. I question these professionals that cry try this herb or that and feel the sex drive return, why? There are some days you just want to sit with that hot coffee and take it all in. My advice is to do it. There is no harm in contemplating the view. I would also advise when you are diagnosed with a senior’s disease, question it! Babies are born with many diseases, it’s not just seniors.
Keep your thoughts healthy and motivate yourself in your thinking as it’s not only about the body.
If we combine the mind, body, and spirit we have wisdom. Think about this: If you do your best every day, your best is a gift. Why would you think any less of it? Join social groups and keep a conversation going.
A hint of how to do that is to leave your companions with a question or invite them to give you a question when you next meet so the conversation continues. Personally, I have found this suggestion is pure fun. Don’t be afraid of discussing the body as we age. You will be amazed at how some folks handle it well and some walk away. Our bodies change. The mind is a different muscle, nothing is healthier than a candid conversation. Go to a movie with a friend and deliberate on what you just viewed, as you will each see it from a different perspective.
My advice to any senior is to enjoy what we have, go easy on yourself, never stop learning, and please give away a smile every day whether it is to yourself or another.
You will benefit. There is definitely an art to aging, and I have no doubt we all do it our own way. Enjoy. May you all have enough.
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