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Getting Older? Look Wonderful, Be Cool, Do it Your Way


11-stages-womanhood-1840s-wikimedia-commons-public-domain-uploaded-by-churchh

11-stages-womanhood-1840s-wikimedia-commons-public-domain-uploaded-by-churchh

 

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Betty Friedan

OK, it’s true. Aging isn’t all that fun.

I don’t wake up every morning doing the happy dance, chirping “Oh boy. I love, love, love getting older.” No, it’s not like that at all. Not for me, anyway.

However, aging isn’t the scariest life event I’ve ever had no choice but to experience. Twice I went through labor. That scared me.

I’ve discovered aging isn’t so much about letting go: it’s about tweaking my mind-set.

Oh, and I finally stopped worshiping the so-called “experts” on aging. Please; I just want to do this my way.

But I Can’t Look Wonderful

For years, I’ve thought about a conversation I heard between my mom and a young woman. It was the last holiday my mom would share with her family.

The young woman, a lifelong friend of my daughter, stopped in at our Christmas Eve party to say hello to my family.

My mother walked into the kitchen. It was a thrill for to see my daughter’s friend, who rushed over to give my mom a heartfelt hug.

With utter sincerity, she told my 75-year-old mother that she looked wonderful. My mom said, “Well, I shouldn’t.” The friend asked, “What do you mean?”

Mom responded, “Because I’m not supposed to look wonderful at this age.” I thought, Wow. What the heck?

Of course, we laughed. Honestly, though, I was sad that my mother felt that way. She did look wonderful. She was still active and lived independently.

That was despite several major health problems including spinal stenosis, breast cancer, and diabetes. I always joked with her that she was the healthiest sick person I ever knew.

Right then, I decided I wouldn’t buy into that line of thought about aging. I plan to experience wonderful right to the end. You can’t stop me. Bring on the compliments. I will, gratefully, accept every one you throw at me.

 Discovering My Self-Worth

My self-worth is much more pronounced since I’ve reached my 50s. Why did it take so long to realize the breadth of my skills and achievements no matter how big or small?

Admittedly, I went through a low self-esteem spell of feeling inept when I was around younger people; mainly, in my business world.

I had no clue what was rubbing me the wrong way. When I considered the achievements I’ve carried out effectively; on a personal level as a woman and career level; it didn’t make sense that I would feel inadequate.

Fortunately, the odd, uncomfortable feeling lost its hold on me. If I start to feel like that now; I recount my accomplishments in my head. I remain focused on my strengths instead of weaknesses.

I’m content and secure because I haves scores of valuable knowledge and life experience to lean on. I have plenty to share.

What is “Cool” Anyway?

So, I recognize I may not be cool in the eyes of some young people; especially in the business world. That’s OK because cool means what, exactly?

As time goes on, my perspective of cool constantly changes. That’s because of maturity and I like to believe, all this awesome wisdom I’ve picked up over the years.

I think people who don’t have a college degree but carved out a good life are cool. Someone who survives cancer is cool. Holding hands with my husband is cool.

My small grandson could pronounce Massachusetts, correctly, since he was two. That makes him way cool in my book.

Overall, with continuing tweaks to my mind-set, I believe aging will be cool too. I hope … I pray.