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Inspiration: Aging Beautifully…

09/01/2012

“The age of a woman doesn’t mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Inspiration: Aging Beautifully... Somali woman

Written in a Carefree Mood by Lu Yu
Old man pushing seventy,
In truth he acts like a little boy,
Whooping with delight when he spies some mountain fruits,
Laughing with joy, tagging after village mummers;
With the others having fun stacking tiles to make a pagoda,
Standing alone staring at his image in the jardinière pool.
Tucked under his arm, a battered book to read,
Just like the time he first set out to school.

What does aging beautifully mean to you? When I spent time in my father’s village, many moons ago, I observed that the elderly were revered. My grandmother and her friends were consulted for their wisdom and experience, and the prevailing attitude was one of respect and reverence… From that vantage point, I saw aging as a gift; something to honor if/when we get there, and a place we all get to eventually, if we are blessed with longevity. When I first read Oprah‘s Life Lesson #7 on Aging Beautifully, (see below) I wanted to write a post about it, but I didn’t. Instead I wrote a general post about the first 10 lessons. How do you broach such a subject without delving into the ups and downs of aging? How do we age beautifully, even with the aches and pains and the daily dismissals that many experience after a certain age? To age beautifully is to make peace with the many changes going on inside and outside. It is to embrace our body and treat it with loving care; exercise, good food, good reads and company, and even enhancements/treatments if that entails our vision of beauty.

Elizabeth Berg shares 3 Things Nobody Tells You... while Val Monroe shares 6 Things That Happen to Your Body… on Aging.
♥You understand that time moves—and has always moved—in inverse proportion to your desire for it to slow down.
♥You get over yourself.
♥You can stop speaking in questions.
♥You may develop “turkey neck”
♥Your hair gets frizzier and more brittle
♥You’re more prone to facial redness
♥You may start to see spots
♥Your legs start to resemble a roadmap
♥Your lipstick starts to bleed into the lines around your mouth

How many of us take the time to consider all the wonderful, beautiful, life-affirming events that have shaped our lives and made our age worth celebrating? Our stories matter.

“A person is always startled when he hears himself called old for the first time.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

Inspiration: Aging Beautifully... Tibetan woman by Luca Galuzzi

When You are Old by W. B. Yeats
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

When I was gathering materials for this post, I read on poets.org that most poems about aging are rarely happy. They are often sad and filled with regret, loss, anger, reminiscences on the passage of time and death… I chose to add one, by Lu Yu, that was playful above because we don’t have to see aging as the termination of life and our enjoyment of it. Life only ends when we take our last breath or when we choose to sit and wallow in misery over past things we no longer can do or change. Aging beautifully is also about letting go of past hurts and jealousies. It is about forgiveness and sharing stories and family history with loved ones so the kinship can continue. Many of the beautiful stories I heard growing up, were shared by my granny and elderly uncles and aunts who have long passed on. Yet, those stories have stayed with me and will be part of my family legacy and history… Passing the stories on is aging beautifully.

An Aging Exercise via Oprah’s Life Lesson 7
♥Write a brief description of yourself at the age you are now.
♥Where are you judging yourself according to what others may think about you?
♥Do you have a number in your mind of the age when attractiveness ends?
♥Are you lying about your age? Why?

If we see our lives as over after a certain age, then why express horror at the swift, downhill spiral that becomes our lot? Our thoughts and beliefs become our self-fulfilling prophesy… Live! More below. ;-)

“A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth. Instead of its bringing sad and melancholy prospects of decay, it would give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world.” Lydia M. Child

Inspiration: Aging Beautifully... Even as the sun sets on our lives...

Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light

Even as the sun sets on our lives, we can spend the days we have enjoying the simple things that make life worth living; a sunset, a simple meal, a joke, an upbeat conversation with someone positive.  A woman I met once in a dance class, she was in her 70s, told me she prefers the company of happy people, even younger people… “As long as they don’t talk about death and chronic illnesses, I’m fine.” She said. Sure, health issues happen at all ages and perhaps more so as the body ages, but we can add other topics to our conversation. Aging beautifully is seeing the life we can still enjoy. Aging beautifully is recognizing that we no longer need permission to be fully who we are and who we have become. We have arrived. Live!

Lesson 7: Aging Beautifully
Some of Hollywood’s glamorous women reveal how they felt about being defined by beauty; from Cybill Shepherd, Jamie Lee Curtis to Ali MacGraw. “Find out what they learned, and how you can develop an inner self—which is key to aging beautifully.”                                                                                                                 Lesson 7: Aging Beautifully
Question: What’s the best thing and what’s the hardest thing about the age you are now?    Read more: Aging Beautifully

What about you? What are your thoughts? Are you comfortable with your age? What do you think of the course questions? What lessons about aging has your life taught you? If you could choose one thing to change, what would it be? Do share! Thank you. ;-)

Positive Motivation Tip: If we spent time living, Getting to love our unvarnished self, embracing our inner life, being fully present to our loved ones and to ourselves, we would come to see that aging is a gift. Honor yourself.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Somali woman, Tibetan woman by Luca Galuzzihttp://www.galuzzi.it, via Wikipedia. And/Or Mundo do Avesso by Eduardo Amorim via Flickr

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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46 Comments leave one →
  1. 09/01/2012 9:20 pm

    I have such mixed emotions about aging. My basic response is to just ignore it. But now that you’ve asked….
    It’s hard to think of aging beautifully without thinking of age. And I’m at the age now where age is a consideration though I’m not sure when it became that. Was it at 40 or 50? I consider myself pretty lucky though since I’m still healthy and work hard to make sure I control the things I can control and not worry about what I can’t.
    Aging beautifully, I believe, is knowing how to accept and be comfortable with the changes that come during each decade of our lives.

    • 09/01/2012 10:07 pm

      I hear you… It is a subject fraught with emotions and opinions that are as varied as we are. People around the world view the subject from different lenses. In the West, the sentiment is to fight it with everything we’ve got… and in other regions, the focus is on survival, on lessons/knowledge passed on and shared not on a numerical age. Aging takes hard work and yet has joys attached if we stop to think and see them. TY for your feedback and glad to know you are doing well. :-)

  2. 09/01/2012 10:28 pm

    Your posts always reflect your beautiful spirit, Eliz!
    Thank you for this beautiful tribute to aging. We live in a society that places great emphasis on youth…perhaps that is why many older people try to deny their age…or change their outward appearance or bemoan the fact that they are not young anymore.
    I’m thrilled that I’m turning 65 next month. :) I wouldn’t do any surgical “stuff” to look younger, although I am not quite ready for my hair to be white or grey or whatever color it is working on becoming…so I do color my hair. :) I’m fortunate to be in pretty good health…some of that is genetics…some of it is because I try to live a healthy life as much as I’m able. But when my back hurts because of arthritis or my vision is less than I’d like it to be, I always try to see the positive side of getting older…perhaps a little more wisdom and a lot more willingness to make time count for doing important and valuable things.
    Eliz, I really want to pass this on…so I plan to PressThis Tuesday night, I hope that is ok. :) Your blog is one I think should be held as the standard for excellence!

    • 15/01/2012 2:52 am

      TY Vivian! You are so kind and, you know, I feel the same about you and your blog…. You look terrific and I agree it is a combination of factors that keep us all going! :-)

  3. 09/01/2012 11:31 pm

    a face is like a landscape: with a history, telling about wars and joys, great plans and streets of melancholy ,,,

    • 15/01/2012 2:54 am

      Beautifully shared Frizz! I wish we would be more forgiving and tolerant in this world. I wish the elderly would be treated with the dignity they deserve… TY! :-)

  4. 09/01/2012 11:56 pm

    Thanks! Great post!

    • 15/01/2012 2:58 am

      TY for stopping by… I’m enjoying your blog too. :-)

  5. 10/01/2012 12:35 am

    Somehow when I think I am on this age now, I feel like time is so fast and I feel old. When I see the mirror and see wrinkles on my face, I feel like I am old now, but when I play with my kids, I feel young again! :D
    I am glad that I am healthy so I can take care of my children. Knowing I am old means my sons are growing. So I enjoy to be on this age now :)

    • 15/01/2012 2:59 am

      Children keep us young… That is one of the blessings we get from them… and then we get incredibly tired! :lol: TY!

  6. 10/01/2012 4:46 am

    Cool. Crafts and houses also have aging beauty. Why aren’t you human beings

    • 15/01/2012 3:01 am

      Great question! I wish we would be more appreciative of the fine wine we become as we age. I have nothing against enhancements but there are so many other issues the aging have to deal with… small dismissals that become cumulative violence. TY! :-(

  7. 10/01/2012 4:48 am

    I made a note to write about this particular lesson, too. Haven’t yet but still might. Years ago I wrote a little poetry and this reminded me of one I wrote about turning 50. Here it is:

    Life begins at 50!

    A baby at ten,
    How can that be?
    He wasn’t my son,
    But was thrust upon me.

    She never was much of a mother to me,
    How could she handle a baby?

    So God showed me how,
    It was quite a new feat.
    I had no idea,
    I could survive on instinct.

    I did what I could,
    I really did care,
    I swore that no one would harm him,
    Emotional scars were out of my hands,
    She still had control,
    I couldn’t help that.

    You can’t be a child,
    And raise one yourself,
    Thank Heaven you don’t really know that,
    When called on to be a ‘grown-up’ at ten,
    You believe,
    No matter who dares to refute it.

    But what of the child that never gets out?
    What happens to such suppressed yearnings?
    How can you laugh and play without care,
    When someone looks up and needs you?

    You bury the need,
    You bury the pain,
    You show the World “Yes I can!”
    And then you become what’s expected of you,
    An adult with a few years you missed.

    You never forget them,
    The years torn away,
    You know that you’ll still get them back,
    You just have to wait,
    Be patient a while,
    They’ll wait for you as long as it takes.

    Then suddenly one day you open your eyes,
    I’m 50?
    You must be mistaken!
    But no,
    You are at the middle of life,
    And childhood is patiently waiting.

    The journey of life,
    That road with no map,
    Has known all along,
    You’d be ready,
    To live a full life,
    To laugh and to play,
    When you found on the way,
    What was missing.

    To trust in yourself,
    To trust in your Spirit,
    Would carry the day.

    The strength that held you upright,
    Was God all along,
    And now you believe,
    You know without fail,
    You can be the child in your heart.

    B. Hammond

    • 15/01/2012 3:02 am

      I love your poem Barb. It is stunning… TY again for sharing it here… Really beautiful! :-)

  8. 10/01/2012 7:40 am

    I am approaching one of those BIG birthdays and so it comes quite naturally to consider what attitude I will carry into a new decade! I’m fortunate to have had two absolutely wonderful grandmothers who gave me a good road map for moving forward. I’m just so grateful for good health and the blessing of life I can’t get too focused on any negativity. I do what I can to ward off complaints and then I keep a good attitude. As a result I’m sometimes “younger” than friends who aren’t yet my age! Lovely quotes and pictures Elizabeth! Debra

    • 15/01/2012 3:06 am

      TY Debra! I believe the way our Grannys and Moms handle aging can be an indication of how we will respond to it too… not 100% but up there… I wish you peace, blessings and abundance on the next decade of your life. A positive attitude helps, I agree. It’s all good! TY! :-)

  9. 10/01/2012 9:27 am

    Eyes can tell you quite a story of a person’s life, in my opinion.

    • 15/01/2012 3:07 am

      Yes I’ve heard that… lots of stories and emotions in the eyes. TY! :-)

  10. 10/01/2012 9:29 am

    Thank you so very much for the photos of the beautiful older women, especially the Tibetan woman. Thank you for the poems from some of my favorite poets. Bless you and keep you. May His Face shine upon you always. We older ladies praise you and cherish your words in our hearts!

    • 15/01/2012 3:09 am

      Bless you and keep you too… Thnak you for the blessings as we all need it. There is so much richness in the elderly community that it is a pity when there is such discrimination… TY! :-)

  11. Savira permalink
    10/01/2012 9:36 am

    Beautiful women who have lived and seen more than I ever will…Age is just a number… nothing more.. Aging gracefully comes from within.. a certain acceptance of who I am and the life I have lived….

    • 15/01/2012 3:10 am

      Well said… if it is not inside, it won’t matter on the outside… We must work on our interior life, protect it from abuse, and live with joy in our hearts. TY! :-)

  12. 10/01/2012 10:38 am

    What a beautiful and confronting post! I will be 57 in April. My children are 23 and 29, both with children of their own. I am proud of them and what they have achieved. For myself, though, I still feel as if I’m just getting started, not as if I’ve gotten somewhere. Will I go through my life always seeking to be something I’m not? Or will I finally give myself permission to appreciate what I have done and use it as a springboard to achieve more? Thank you for the beautiful pictures and poems as well as such an insightful post!

    • 15/01/2012 3:12 am

      To borrow some of your language, give yourself permission to appreciate what you have done and use it as a springboard to achieve more…. It is sound advice for all of us. TY! :-)

  13. 10/01/2012 11:30 am

    I love the Lu Yu poem and your tip. Especially now that my neck skin is a little saggier, I have a few grey hairs, and sometimes I seem a little jowly! How is it that I still don’t feel a day over 23 or so???

    • 15/01/2012 3:15 am

      Well, you are 23 after all, remember? :lol: I know what you mean. I feel a lot younger on most days and then much older on other days. Go figure! :-) TY!

  14. 10/01/2012 12:50 pm

    Boy, Eliz, this post evokes tons of emotions. Firstly, I did read Eliz. Berg’s article–so true. Every time I look in the mirror, I see some new change that I don’t like. I’d like to do a post on Oprah’s Life Lesson #7. Even though my appearance is changing, I don’t fret about it because my insides (my soul, my thoughts, my spirit if you will) is changing for the better and that’s enough to make me feel good about myself. Great subject.

    • 15/01/2012 3:17 am

      I feel the same way most of the time… I am at peace with my inner life and the spiritual practices I follow. The exterior needs some work and I work hard to care for it… TY! :-)

  15. 10/01/2012 3:02 pm

    I love W.B. Yeats (probably unsurprisingly) I particularly love –
    ‘But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
    And loved the sorrows of your changing face;’
    I don’t mind getting older too much – I was cured by having a friend die at 36 (I was 35) I realised the choice was older or dead.

    • 15/01/2012 3:18 am

      Sorry to read about your friend… I can imagine it being an eye opener for anyone. I love those lines in the poem too. TY! :-)

  16. 10/01/2012 5:00 pm

    I can truly appreciate your post today being a woman of a “certain age”.

    • 15/01/2012 3:19 am

      TY Leanne, we are all beneficiaries of the blessings that can come with aging. :-)

  17. 10/01/2012 6:30 pm

    My great aunt aged beautifully before “retiring” at age 92. She always had a smile on her face and grace in her heart.

    I don’t worry much about aging or the passage of time. Just the NOW.

    • 15/01/2012 3:21 am

      I hear you… I bet your aunt is a dynamic woman…. It would be wonderful if everyone worked on being present in all we do. TY! :-)..

  18. 10/01/2012 8:45 pm

    Hi lovely, I am coming by to nominate you for The Versatile Blogger Award. I am not sure if you have received it before, but The Lucky Mom gave it to me and you are one of my 15! So the details will be in post that goes live on my page tonight in a post called “Goose in a Bottle.” Here is a link http://mynewfavoriteday.com …all you have to do is follow the rules of the road in the post which includes passing it on to 15 other blogs that you enjoy! xo Shannon

    • 15/01/2012 3:23 am

      TY! I appreciate the nomination! I’m still working on a special page for them… I will stop by your blog today to thank you again… TY! :-)

  19. 11/01/2012 2:44 am

    Age. I don’t know. On a good day I am 10, on a bad day I am 100. Most of the time I am just me.

    What would I change? Put my boobs back where they were about 30 years ago! Hmmmmmm make that 40 years ago!

    • 15/01/2012 3:24 am

      I had a good laugh with your comment… I think we can all relate… :-) TY!

  20. 12/01/2012 3:47 am

    The Lu Yu poem is beautiful. I’ve always enjoyed hanging out with the elderly, even from a young age – the majority seem to have fewer hangups about life. My grandmothers were both wonderful women, but in quite different ways, and I loved being with them. I don’t mind ageing so much except for the health issues that are often a part of it even when we make an effort to keep fit.

    • 15/01/2012 3:48 am

      The health issues are a bummer but fortunately we can stay healthy, I give myself permission to appreciate what I have done and use it as a springboard to achieve more if we exercise and eat well.. TY!

  21. Bree permalink
    12/01/2012 8:48 am

    We come of age and then we die from reaching a certain age. I am grateful for the life I’ve lived and for my age. This post made me take another look at myself and were more inner work is needed. ;-)
    B

    • 15/01/2012 3:49 am

      i am grateful for life too… the rest is manageable! TY! :-)

  22. 13/01/2012 4:25 am

    Mom and Dad both worked until their 80’s. They are still camping. They are my models for how to age gracefully and vibrantly. I want to be like them! ;-)

    • 15/01/2012 3:50 am

      They sound awesome to me… wishing you and them them well TY! :-)

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