Ageing Gracefully 101: Everything You Wanted To Know

Ageing: Are you ageing with a “bad” attitude?

That is a relative word, “bad,” and not one of my preferred. Labelling is not an activity that I like to indulge in. No situation or experience is really “good” or “bad,” they just “are.”

Growing older just is a fact of life. It is part of living. Everyone will grow older, will age and most certainly will die. Resistance is futile. To regard ageing with fear is to create a monster within oneself. Being obsessive about the effects of ageing on the body and physical appearance is maddening.

There is nothing you can do to stop ageing – accept that or go nuts!

The French Woman: Ageing Gracefully

ageingClichés such as “age is just a number,” or “it is great to be old, wise and sage,” do little to quell the fears and concerns of those who are not ageing gracefully. Are you ageing gracefully? Not sure what that entails? Let me explain my understanding.

Years ago, I read an article about French women and ageing that really impressed me. The French are often ridiculed, particularly by American comedians among others, however, their approach to life is very commendable in many ways. On this specific topic of ageing gracefully, this Huffington Post article stated that French women:

  1. Can be the sensual love interests in movies
  2. Feel that less is best when it comes to wearing make-up
  3. Consider sex to be important for women 50+
  4. Prefers having just a handful of really nice, perfectly fitting clothing over a wardrobe full of ‘junk’
  5. Rate walking as far more valuable than being an obsessed gym bunny
  6. Watch what and how much they eat, choosing smaller portions of a variety of dishes

Know What You Want

My conclusion is that aside from my name, there is more French to me than originally thought! My only addition to this list would be that ageing gracefully (successfully) also requires knowing what you want. What are the experiences, things, places, people etc that would completely open up this stage of your life?

“To age gracefully, one needs to anticipate the changes that are inevitable…people who think rigidly do not do that. As they encounter the natural changes and health status that are part of aging, these things are experienced as negative and adding a lot of stress and strain to their life. Rigid thinkers tend to get overwhelmed. They can’t manage it, and they get depressed.” Mark Frazier 

I jokingly refer to myself as maturing (like fine wine) rather than ageing. That may very well be my spontaneous reaction to the negative associations with the word “ageing.” Again years ago, I had a minor panic attack seeing that my right hair temple had gone grey. It lasted all of two minutes when no one sympathized with me.

ageingIt’s More Than Accepting The Body Changes

Ageing gracefully or successfully, if you prefer the latter word, is way more than accepting the increasing physical evidence of changes in one’s body. As with any type of “loss” or changing circumstances, it is okay to ‘mourn’, lament or freak out as I did. Let it not be, however, an immobilizing event.

Whatever your age now, start planning or identifying and participating in things that are important to you. These might include things that you did not have the time or dared to do before. Activities such as travelling, spiritual pursuits, hobbies, new social groups, lifelong learning or volunteering might be of interest, depending on how you want to experience this exciting stage of life.

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” Sophia Loren

Be Blessed and Gracefully Age,

2017

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