How to Age with Grace
How do we embrace every stage of our existence without wishing our lives away? We are all guilty of wanting to get to certain milestones, thinking that once we have achieved them we will (finally) feel fulfilled…
“When I lose weight, I will be happy. When I get married, I will feel fulfilled. When I have a baby, my life will be complete.” Any of these sound too familiar?
Then how come is it that once we get to said milestone, we are already looking to the next one? There is something healthy about setting goals and aspiring to achieve them, and then to even surpass them. But the critical factor here is to not forget to acknowledge them once they have been met. Make sure you relish in your accomplishments, and share your findings with those that you love. Celebrate them — daily!
We are constantly learning and tweaking what we think will make us happy, but we must not forget to stop and smell the roses along the way.
What fun is it in getting to a point where you’re so satisfied, and quote unquote perfect, that you don’t want to make any improvements?! Life is about making every single day better — learning, but also reflecting on the lessons you’ve learned and passing them along in the best way you know how.
I would like to challenge you to be mindful of the gift of the different person that you are everyday. Before you start to pick on yourself — your shape, your skin, your smarts or lack thereof — stop! Stop, and be conscious of your breath, and choose to change your thinking. Instead of worrying about the size of your thighs, think about what a gift it is to be able to move those legs! Instead of hating on your thighs, love them for the gift of unique movement!
One thing that is especially important to embrace, is the surrender to the things that we can and cannot control.
Time is fleeting. Take all of that negative self talk, and shift it to the alternative, so that you can learn to appreciate every day of your life. Can you look back at pictures, smile, and remember the fun you were having, being grateful for that moment and what it was, but without desperately wanting to go back? That’s a sign that you are living in the present, and embracing how you currently are.
How can we transmute our negative self talk into something greater and bigger than ourselves? How can we re-allocate our time and energy to things more loving, and more appreciating than the sad songs that we play in our heads? Paying it forward, in some form of a charitable way, is a great option. Simply do something for someone else! Find an organization that resonates with you, call your brother or sister, begin training for a half marathon supporting cancer research…whatever calls your name. Once you start paying attention to causes bigger than yourself, you recognize that maybe, whatever blame you put on yourself really isn’t such a big deal, and that maybe, it’s perfectly okay to have laugh lines and no longer be a size 4, and that just maybe, those things make up a beautiful roadmap for the awesome places you been in life.
Each stage of our life brings a different, unique new experience — reaching puberty, then adulthood, experiencing our first love, starting a career, starting a family, watching our children grow and develop. If you can step back and think about all of the miracles that you are so blessed to witness on a daily basis, you will feel such a fulfillment, that your idea of “body perfection” will dissipate completely.
How amazing is it to observe of the similarities between generation to generation? Of course, there didn't use to be computers and gadgets like we have now, and I even suspect that though we feel so advanced, our children will one day laugh at the iPhones that we think were so modern and sleek. But through all of that, there will still be holidays, families, traditions and markers to signify the stages of our lives and loving on each other together.
The point is: if you can step outside of yourself, heed the words of your elders, and recognize that when someone says, ‘Enjoy all of this! It goes by so quickly!’ that they truly mean it. Don’t dismiss that advice. Listen to it, and walk away smiling about who, and where you are. Today.
Aging, after all, is just another word for living.