We are delighted to feature today’s guest blogger, Jane Gramlich, as part of our Aging Gracefully series. Jane is a long-time educator who now devotes her time to teaching people 50+ how to get clear and get started on what’s next for them.
My predominant thought about aging had always been, “I hope it doesn’t happen to me.” I’m quite sure I’m not the only person who has thought this way. But the irony catches up with us – in order for aging not to happen to us, we would have to die. Now or very soon. The truth slowly dawns that aging is inevitable.
As I left my forties behind and began the race through my fifties, I just wanted to shout, “Hey, hold on here! Slow down!” The physical, mental, spiritual, and social changes I experienced felt overwhelming at times. It especially bothered me that I had people close to me who had given up on life once they reached the age I was quickly approaching. They stopped trying, doing, and enjoying. That kind of existence held no appeal and made no sense to me.
What Gets Better with Age
Changing focus changes everything so, I challenged the idea that as we age we only lose. There had to be more to advanced age than that. I began to look for evidence that life at middle age and beyond had purpose, meaning, joy and beauty. It became my quest for what I call the 50+ Advantages. While the physical results of age are real and apparent, the nonphysical changes are there, too. I think we can find them and use them to benefit ourselves and the world.
As I began to watch for and pay attention to what showed up for me, I did discover some pretty cool things happening. These were real enough to establish patterns in my life. Here’s what I found:
- These days I know things. I just know them with certitude and calmness. Things that would come to be. Or things about how the universe really works.
- Some of the most difficult times of my past, of my growing up years, began to make sense. I experienced a reframing of sorts, not because I should, but because I could. And without the drama.
- I found that the more I was open to delightful surprises, the more I experienced them in the world and the people around me.
- Physically slowing down opened new doors for me. I’m in better shape physically, mentally, and spiritually. I take time for classes, inspirational reading, tapping, journaling, yoga, walking, and dancing.
- It’s so much easier to let go of and discard: things, ideas, people, attitudes, and norms that just don’t serve me well.
- It’s usually best to do, be, and pursue what pleases me. I get the best outcomes for myself and others when I focus my energy this way.
- I appreciate myself in so many ways that I never dreamed of when I was younger.
- Generosity, gratitude, peace, and contentment are so much more prevelant in my day to day living.
- I no longer feel compelled to fix or “help” others when it is not my place to do so.
- I have a tremendous desire to share. I feel a definite calling to impact the greater good in my own unique way. I’m enjoying every minute of answering the call.
I see evidence of this same desire to practice positive aging mirrored in the world around me. It’s a cultural movement. Online media plays a big part in this, and I see examples everyday.
- Huffington Post recently shared stories of 25 celebrities who are aging gracefully, with a focus on the advantages. You can check out what they say here.
- Lorie Eber lists 10 upsides of being a “little past her prime” in her blog post, I Can’t Believe I’m 60-Years-Old.
- My Facebook and Twitter feeds regularly carry lists, stories, and ideas about the advantages of advanced age. Real people with real experiences. So many are accomplishing so much!
Organizations and groups exist to match up older people and their skills with community needs. Ideas of retirement, working, and living at 50 and beyond continue to expand in the most amazing ways. There are movements on a national level by powerful groups, such as AARP and the US Government to study and better the concept and reality of aging today. It’s more apparent each day that there is much we can do, individually and as a society, to leverage the best of what aging allows for us.
How about you? How do you view aging? What are some of the advantages that you have found for yourself? Please share your discoveries, so that we can all benefit.