I recently read a post written by Dr. Andrew Weil called, “7 Foods for Aging Gracefully”. The article lists items that are important for us to consume in order to live a healthy lifestyle as we age. They are:
- Whole grains
- Dark chocolate
These recommendations apply to everyone because they contribute to overall good health no matter how old you are.
For those of us over the age of fifty, here’s a list I put together for “7 Ways To Age Gracefully”:
1. Strength through experience. Bette Davis famously displayed a pillow in her home whose stitching read, “Old Age Is Not For Sissies.” She certainly earned the right to own that pillow. By the time she passed away at age 81 from breast cancer, she’d suffered a series of strokes, was married 4 times, and near the end of her life her daughter published a “Mommie Dearest” type book about her.
By the time we enter our 50’s we’ve had all different types of life experiences. Whether we faced illness, heartache or despair, it’s important to try and maintain a sense of hope and optimism. Old age is not for sissies, but like Ms. Davis we must carry on the best that we can despite any hardships, always trying to muster an inner strength that will allow us to live a happy life.
2. Humor. Maintaining a sense of humor about ourselves and the world around us is vital. The world is a crazy place. We are bombarded with violence and clashing ideologies. Keeping a sense of humor about “the little things” in life, like mistaking a tub of shampoo for a tube of toothpaste while washing up, or forgetting where you left your car keys, can help us maintain a sense of calm and fun.
3. Favorite Quote. This quote is the embodiment of growing old gracefully:
“The recipe for what makes a woman sexy at any age is simple: beauty, brains and class; all served straight up, with a healthy dose of confidence.”
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4. Do Unto Others. Growing up in the shadows of the social change movements of the 1960’s, boomers learned firsthand of the importance of giving back. It’s not enough to sit back and watch others work tirelessly to end hunger, poverty or disease. It’s our responsibility as citizens to actively do what we can to make a difference in the world. The Peace Corps, Habitat for Humanity, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Literacy Partners, The Humane Society, UNICEF and countless other large and small organizations all need our help.
Aging gracefully means doing something useful for someone else. Do it for yourself. Do it for others.
5. Never Grow Up. Peter Pan used to sing:
“I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up. Not me!”
Peter was partially right. We all grow up, but if we can hold onto some of the purity and sense of awe that we once had as children, we can remain forever young.
There is a lot of grace in that.
6. I love Dame Angela Lansbury. One of my favorite actresses (and a truly classy lady), Dame Lansbury perfectly states my own point of view on aging:
“Every laugh line is a tale. Every wrinkle holds a secret. The woman who tries to deny the changes time has wrought is not trusting that her natural qualities will shine through.”
7. One last quote:
“To age with grace, live with grace.”
How will you age gracefully?
Cathy Chester blogs at An Empowered Spirit, which won third prize in Healthline’s Best Health Blog Contest in 2014, was named #2 of the “Top 10 Social HealthMakers in MS” by Sharecare “ and received a nomination for the past 3 years as WEGO Health’s Best in Show Blog. She is a contributor for The Huffington Post as well as a blogger for MultipleSclerosis.net and Boomeon. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Midlife Boulevard, BetterAfter50, Erma Bombecks’ Writers Circle, The Friendship Circle and Woman at Woodstock.