Exploring the Art of Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully

Roslyn Aging Gracefully, Lifestyle Empowerment

Suddenly there is a chill in the air and we wonder how the season passed so quickly. We often look at a new season as a time of change and an opportunity to look ahead. This year, amid the confluence of seasonal changes and the observance of my own religious holiday, I find myself reflecting in a different way. My body is signaling to me that I am not the same physical person I was last year. The occasional stiff joints are speaking louder to me now and I wonder how did I get here, to age 76? Where did the passing of time go, what was the quality of my life, how do I move into my future years, and how do I embrace Aging Gracefully? 

When do we stop and reflect upon our own life? 

Mother nature sends us subtle cues as to when to pause, and now is a pivotal time of year for reflection. Many people, including myself, are celebrating the Jewish High Holy Days – beginning with the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah and culminating with the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  The ten days between these two observances are spent contemplating the year that has passed, the kind of person we were and the good deeds we performed and we repent for any wrong doings during the previous year. We begin the days of worship wearing light coats and wraps, and if we’re lucky the sun comes out when we take a break from prayer and we can leave our sweaters inside, to be worn again at sunset when we leave. The shift in temperature is a reminder that this is also harvest time. Harvest festivals can be found throughout the world as communal celebrations of the reaping of planted seeds, the beauty of growth and the preparation for the winter dormancy.  

To Look Forward, do we Need to Look Back? 

Our numerical age is immaterial because, although we often measure the passage of time by events (children starting school, graduation, marriages, grandchildren, promotions, operations, friends passing, etc), the process of reflection can come upon us at any given time.  So how do we examine where we are in life? Should I reread Gail Sheehy’s poignant, thought provoking book “Passages” to help me in this process? At what point do we stop to take in the small things that bring us pleasure? Is there a way to be ageless at any age and be at peace? As I start thinking about these issues, it appears the universe is responding by revealing articles and books all related to this topic.

"Awakening" quote by Gail Sheehy

Can we Change our Attitude about Aging?

What do we know personally about aging? We may look at our friends who are into healthy eating and exercise and wonder if it will really make a difference. If now in our 40’s and feeling really good, can we imagine what it will be like to be 70 or 80? Is there much difference between 50 and 60? What if we were women in another culture, say France or the Far East, is aging gracefully measured differently? Can we learn about ourselves and our own aging process through poetry, ancient wisdom or the emerging perspective of baby boomers? Many of us are looking at these issues, there is much to delve into and learn from.

Appreciation of Life

Feminist Betty Friedan wisely said, “Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
Over the next few months, we
 will take a look at actions we can take to fully appreciate life. If life is a process, can we live all the stages of life in a meaningful and fulfilling way? Have you?
This series will address these thoughts and questions. We would love to hear your ideas about aging gracefully; what issues you would like addressed and who you would like to hear from. Or perhaps you would like to share your point of view and contribute a blog or article. Contact us and together we will explore the many perspectives on aging gracefully.

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Roslyn
I loved going to work each day for 30 years as a professional career counselor. When I retired, I explored my creativity and regard for crafts until I discovered beading. At age 68 I turned my new found passion- jewelry design, into a business. At age 72 I took on learning about social media marketing and developing my computer skills. I am sharing my journey from inception, to frustration, to elation -in the hope of inspiring others that 'it is not too late to start again'. Welcome to my re-invention!

Comments 54

  1. Roslyn – This is so beautiful expressed. As I approach my 66th birthday, I ask myself many of the same questions. I am not sure I appreciate every day God gives me to its fullest. I seem to get lost in the everyday details of getting tasks done. Thanks for providing me an opportunity to stop and reflect. I need to go back to Gail Sheehy’s book, Passages, and revisit it.

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      Thank you, LeAllyson Meyer for your thoughtful, reflective comment. It is understandable to get caught up in our daily tasks and as entrepreneurs as well as jewelry designers, we have a lot to get done. And I suspect as we look at Facebook posts we do stop and appreciate the little and big things about our day to day. I think that is one of the aspects of social media I truly enjoy as I am inspired mentally by so much that I read and see on others pages. Really, appreciate you taking the time to comment.

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      Deb Nelson, This post comes from my heart and with my daughters edits, we are touching upon important questions all women share.Thanks for your beautiful way of capturing the essence of it.

  2. I agree with Betty Freidan’s quote on aging, Roslyn. When I was a pre-teenager, I thought 20 year olds were ancient. 🙂 Somehow, my age never mattered to me because there were people who were older around me and each time I hit a milestone birthday, it didn’t ‘feel ancient’. Now in my early 50s, I realize that age is a state of mind and joyfully embrace the experience of life and all the lessons that I have learned acknowledging that the sum total of my substance is the lovely years that I have left behind me with all the highs, lows, trials and tribulations and the reasons to have declared Snoopy Dance time. Life is to be cherished and enjoyed to the fullest.

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      For sure Vatsala Shulka,life is to be cherished and enjoyed to the fullest. Out mental attitude is so important and if we don’t have our health, aging gracefully is harder. Thanks, for sharing your personal philosophy on aging and I hope we all get to dance the Snoopy Dance together.

  3. This is the first year I have “felt my age” due to a couple of health problems. I have since started eating much better (green smoothies every morning, yum!) and am implementing regular exercise into my life. Glad I had a wake up call this year so I could put changes into place that will help me feel younger than my age going forward!

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      I agree with you Bk Walker and that is why I want to write a series related to aging gracefully. It is so easy to get caught up in our day to day. Now with the new season upon us, my refective holiday of the Jewish New Year, it just stopped me in my tracks. I know I did more life reflecting when I was younger, and now is a good time to do some more.

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      So happy Sonya to hear you have taken the time to do some reflecting. Life does throw us curve balls and that will get us thinking too. The more we reflect, the wiser we get, so don’t stop.

  4. It is so true that people need to make sure that they are ready to embrace the changes of time. I mean, time is going to move forward with or without us.
    No one is the exception on this.
    I just turned 40 a few months ago, and I am definitely enjoying the journey.

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      Welcome to our blog Heather and thank you for your thoughts. Love the idea that time is going to move forward with or without us. A great wake up line or meme. Everything about you shows you are enjoying the journey. Keep it up as it is infectious.

  5. As you know, I get my perspective in life from the Bible. The Old Testament has much to say about aging. Psalm 90:12 says “Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
    so that we may grow in wisdom.” From God’s perspective, our life on earth is like a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. So it’s much more important to focus on eternity than on this blip we call our lifetime. Aging can be done with grace when we live in grace.

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  6. This is a lovely and important post, reminding us to take time for reflection and appreciation. I feel younger now (in my 50s) than I did a decade ago where I was cushioned in my comfort zone with no ambition or goals. At some point I realised I needed to embrace life again, spend time being grateful and time striving to be better – it has been energising. I can see the possibilities now, like that great Betty Friedan quote. Isn’t it great how when you start to think about certain things the universe provides you with the books, pictures and quotes?

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      Welcome to our blog and thank you so much for your personal comment and contribution. Also so glad you found your purpose and gratitude. Yes, the universe provides us as long as we are open to it.

  7. wonderful post! I find myself thinking a lot about aging and how our lives shifts, and not so much because of getting older but because my mother passed away this year. As that generations of parents, aunts and uncles are no longer with us, it gets me thinking that myself and my sisters and brothers are now stepping into their roles of keeping the family together, passing on stories of our ancestors & in general being the hopefully wiser older generation.

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      Thanks, Lisa Swanson for reminding us that with the passing of an older generation, we become the wise ones and leaders in our family. I recently met with my older cousins, all in their 80’s & 90’s and we relished in sharing stories. I am ‘the baby’ and soaked it up. So glad the post touched you.

  8. This is a very important piece for all ages Roslyn and very brilliantly written from a personal perspective, one where I see how you are questioning this for yourself and inviting the readers to do the same for themselves. I believe we are in a time in our human evolution where we are being asked to question and investigate, and explore who we are as part of the human family and then who we came into this lifetime to be and what our “intention” was for this lifetime. I have been going deeper through the last three months and find that I continually look at my biography and the stages of life and see where have I come from and has my intention “to live a life that matters”, been fulfilled. What does that even mean? How can I define it even more fully at this stage of my life? In my understanding of the spiritual world, it is our mission to be as clear as possible with our intentions so that the spiritual world can assist us on our journey. As we get older, what matters to us changes and this is definitely reflected in our biographies and where we will put our attention and how our intentions change. Or maybe they stay the same and just get clearer and more focused. Thank you for this beautiful soul infused piece and I look forward to reading more as your exploration of the questions continues. Please know this is not something you can do in one week, or one month. You are on a soul exploration now and it needs to be nurtured and given its own space and time. xo

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      Dear Beverley Golden, I will continue this exploration for myself and for others. Thank you for your generous comment and content, reminding us that it takes time as aging gracefully does. I am requesting that you write a blog to be posted in this series. It could be from the thoughts expressed above or another aspect.

  9. Having experienced so many losses in life I have learned to appreciate and celebrate each moment I am blessed with my health and life. Approaching 35 years old in a little over a month I am in the best shape of my life. I often think about where I will be in the next 10 years. How will I grow, how will my marriage grow, how will my career grow? Again, I plan to take it one moment at a time and continue to have faith and work.

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      Thank you, Sharise Hemby-Nance for sharing your personal experience. I have no doubt that you will continue to live a reflective life. In addition to taking it one moment at a time, you will probably continue to look and ask and be responsible for the paths you take.

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  10. You inspire me like always, Roz! I will tell you that I feel younger and more powerful now than I was in my 20s. At the time, I thought that people who were 35 were old, go figure! I completely believe in being young at heart and that we’re as young as we make ourselves believe we are 🙂

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      Thanks Delia for letting me know I inspire you. Age is always so relative but how we feel about ourselves at any given moment is what makes us feel powerful, or youthful or hopeful. I declared this as a blog series and I have a sense of what is to come. I am so touched, moved and inspired by the responses and comments, it may lead me to places I had not anticipated. Ahh, the joys and surprises of blogging.

  11. Roz, I love this, it is so beautifully written and brings up so many good points on aging. It is funny, I had my child later in life, thank you God, and sometimes when I am around some of the young moms, I forget that I am older…I surely don’t feel it or act it, but some days I can tell it is there…in my heart I am young, and I believe I always will be. For as young as I feel I do have a wise old soul…funny how that works. Lovely piece, excellent writing, thank you Roz for letting me be a part of this.

  12. What a perfect time to read this – for me. The past 18 months have been one of constant change and reflection. Each day I thank God, first and foremost, for my health, my family, and the ability to be my own boss (however challenging it is most days). My husband says, and it’s true, age is just a number. During the rebranding/rebuilding of my business, I have to keep the negative thoughts at bay… “I’m too old to start over,” “They’re 20 years younger and look what they’re doing in business,” “Where did I go wrong,” and tell myself, “It wasn’t you.” “You are good enough.” Life is too short and the small stuff really doesn’t matter; negative people don’t have a place in my life, and while it sounds cliche, as long as I have my health everything is going to be okay because if you have your health, you have everything… I started taking violin last year and never thought I would ever be able to play an instrument. I’m having the time of my life. I’m training to be in a half or full marathon (I haven’t decided which yet), and I completed a triathlon when I turned 50. While aging has its challenges, I wouldn’t go back. We are wiser and more wonderful with our wisdom! Thanks for the wonderful blog, Roz.

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      Welcome to our blog Coleen Wietmarschen and thank you ever so much for your inspiring comment. When I started this jewelry business 8 years ago I was 68 and only took on learning social media marketing a few years ago. Underneath all the reasons for creating a business was my personal desire to show that it is never too late to start again. Congratulations to you for taking on so many new experiences, despite challenges. I will keep you in mind as we move forward in this series.

  13. Terrific piece, Roz. A friend of mine bought me a book titled “Goddesses Never Age” by Dr. Christiane Northrup. It’s on my list to read. I think aging is mind over matter — if you don’t mind, it don’t matter. But one of the things that I’ve been facing lately is the loss of loved ones to old age. That’s hard.

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      Thanks Jackie Harder. At first it seemed strange to write this type of blog and not one that related to jewelry or fashion, but it is exactly where I am at in my personal& religious life as well as the seasonal changes. It all got me into an introspective place and it seems I have touched a chord with many readers. I’m loving the comments. My close friends have dealt with many losses this year, mostly to cancer. Need to think about losing loved ones to old age because it isn’t only the age that takes someone.

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  14. Our culture, in the USA, makes aging gracefully rather hard to do at times. As for me, I refuse to grow old gracefully! I will fight it every step of the way, but with grace and elegance.

    “Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light”. ~Dylan Thomas

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      Appreciate your perspective Sharon G. Cobb. I too will not just fade away and it will be interesting to explore how to maintain the fire with grace and elegance.

  15. Thanks Roslyn, a very thought gathering article. And often we are obsessed with age as a number probably, even though I think above 35 you start thinking less and less about the actual age number. Whether you are obsessed with healthy eating and excessive training, I really do not think that matters much after all…

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      Thanks, Katarina Andersson for your comment. I do think if we are to have any obsession at all, healthy eating, including wine drinking, is a good one to have.

  16. Your writing gets more insightful as we go along, Roslyn. I’m thinking it’s not such a departure to dwell on the elements of life that sometimes ultimately creates metal…or gems. Beautiful message.

  17. Pingback: Stepping into a Healthy Fall: Jewel Colors

  18. As usual, you have offered a beautiful article that is both thought provoking and inspiring. The older we get, the more we consider what it means to age gracefully. You have certainly done an extraordinary job of it.

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      Welcome to our blog and thank you for taking the steps to visit. It is what I love about being active on social media. Glad you appreciated the blog and I too, stay young by being open to the world around me.

  19. For many years I have not felt that I was aging. That was what my parents and my mom-in-law were doing. Now they are all gone and I am one of the senior members of my immediate family. That causes me to think more seriously about this aging process. I feel I have learned lessons from watching our parents go through the process. Time passes so quickly it seems that before I know it I will be in my 80’s and 90’s if the Good Lord blesses me with that longevity. There is much to reflect on. Memories are more meaningful to me now. I have more of a desire to share them with the younger members of my family. I desire to reflect on my experiences that I will use those experiences to help those who are around me. Your kindness expressed a serving spirit as you made a necklace especially for my Mama during her last year of life. I will never forget that and hope I will express that same serving spirit to those I come in touch with. I still say at age 72 1/2, I am in the youth of old age and still have other seasons to look forward to.

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      Pat Moon, Thank you for your moving comment and for sharing your reflections. I remember our meeting in a group where you said we were connected by our common years. Now again, we are connected by the thoughts we share while in the youth of aging. I won’t use the word old because that doesn’t fit us. Wise, yes. Memories and sharing them with our family are very important. Each new day is an opportunity for us to age gracefully.

  20. You state so beautifully what many of us seem to be contemplating. I find unexpected insights almost daily, as if revealed to me as a reward for my attention. And yes, the universe does seem to lead me to the writings, people, and events that validate those new insights. It’s a joy to connect with others experiencing this “new stage of opportunity and strength.”

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      Jane Gramlich, talk about writing beautifully. Love how your comment captures the experience of thinking about our life, where we are and where we will go. Thanks so much for your contribution.

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