Embracing aging…

     So…it’s my birthday. I am sitting on the plane for the 2 hour leg of my flights back home. I started passing the time by talking with my “neighbor” about getting older. A friendly man about my age from a nearby city. Not sure how age came up. Maybe it was his comment about falling asleep and possibly drooling on me, or maybe it was me saying that I was already motion sick from my first flight and that I hoped he wouldn’t have to see me throw up! And that I only seem to get worse motion sickness with age.
     Here I am, coming from a great and relaxing long weekend in Austin with a couple of my closest friends, and thinking about getting old. One friend had seen some hard times financially and decided to move back to Texas, and one friend sold her house, bought an RV, and has been toodling around the country the past 5 months. They are 12 years older than I am. I have always joked that I keep them around as friends just to make me look younger! Good thing they love me or they might not have put up with my verbal abuse the past 18 years!😉 All three of us lost a parent way too young. We agreed that it’s much better to get older than face the alternative! As much as I trust I will someday live an eternal life, I’m definitely not ready to leave this earth yet! Only God knows. But, now that my 40s are sliding downhill to 50, I seem to be re-examining my life quite often: where I’ve been and what is to come.
      I had an epiphany recently. I realized that I don’t mind getting older. I actually embrace it. The wisdom and experience that come with aging is immeasurable. I have noticed that my 40s have brought me so much peace about who I truly am. I have learned to be more assertive (my M.O. was usually passive-aggressive!) I have learned that some things are better left unsaid. And that some things need to be said. I have learned to embrace my quirks and accept that everyone else might not embrace them the same way. I have learned to not sweat the small stuff…most of the time!
     What I don’t like is looking older! Ugh, the “vanity”! Don’t judge me- I come by it naturally with a long line of women who care about their health and appearance🤣 and I don’t really think it’s vain to care about taking care of ourselves, inside and out. It’s ok to care about our appearances, as long as we have a healthy and realistic outlook. Not the outlook that magazines with photoshopped models, or movie stars with endless makeup artists and money, portray. But if we can take care of our bodies, inside and out, with a healthy diet and exercise, isn’t it ok to try to look and feel good while doing it? And if we have a healthy state of mind towards aging gracefully (maybe not always “naturally” for some😉) then I believe it’s ok to work on being the best self we can be.
     Being on a trip for a few days, I also realized how many people I deal with professionally and personally, really have a tough time letting themselves “live a little”.  People who won’t go a day without a rest from their intense workouts, or who won’t let themselves splurge on a dessert occasionally.
     Although we walked about 12 miles in two days, I didn’t feel the need to find a gym and workout. It is good for our bodies to take a bit of a rest. I did make sure I did a lot of stretching though! My hips and back ain’t like they used to be! And my boots weren’t made for walking!

     And yes, I ate a donut! And a cupcake! I have always liked the yummy stuff that isn’t so good for me, but as I age, I’ve had to learn how to let myself enjoy these things in moderation once in a while. And work hard and eat clean the rest of time. It doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” life as many people so often think. I paid my dues years ago and now I like to have some “fun” by eating my goodies and giving my body a break.

     “Age is cruel!” exclaimed Winston Churchill in The Crown. He didn’t like the artist’s representation of him in his commissioned painting. He struggled to admit he was aging, unhealthy, and losing his ability to lead as prime minister. Aging can often be a struggle. Especially when it takes us a little bit longer to stand up straight when we get out of bed in the morning (or when we walk around exploring a new city on a trip and our backs or feet hurt quicker than they use to).Or when we look in the mirror and see those “crows feet” or sagging necks staring back at us. Or when we notice the first gray hair pop out of nowhere. Ha, ha! Making you feel old yet?
     Why is it so hard for so many people to accept getting older? Or even just admit their age or feel the need to lie about it? If one isn’t ready to meet their maker, then isn’t getting older the better and only choice? Maybe we need to start thinking about aging differently?
     Let me tell ya that I have three clients in their 80s! One has been with me almost 19 years, and the other two have only been around a few months. It’s NEVER too late to take control of your body and health! Remember, getting older is a blessing. Another year to be the best person you can be, inside and out. Live life to the fullest, take care of yourself, and love others to the absolute best of your ability. God’s speed…

“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

Margot Benary-Isbert

Just had to share this little gem, too…
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