Aging With Grace

I just came back from a visit with an “old” friend, Kim. I haven’t seen her in ten years.  It just so happened it was also her 55th birthday. She looked healthy, vibrant, youthful—really terrific. She got me thinking more about aging “with grace”. Kim has always had grace. By the boatload. And it’s only gotten more so as she’s grown older. Me? I’m still learning.

Kim’s life and mine are similar in some ways, yet vastly disparate in others. Regardless, we still share a deep connection. That’s one of the most awesome aspects of aging. Once you’ve made a true connection with someone, it’s a bond that never goes away, so matter how seldom you see the person, or how different your journeys appear on the outside.

Here are some insights I’ve gleaned from Kim and others that help me age with as much grace as I can muster—I hope they’ll be helpful to you, too:

  • Get, and stay, connected. Building strong, positive relationships—and reconnecting with “old” ones–can provide you with needed support and acceptance in both good and challenging times. Remember, your social network is only one way—don’t forget there’s the good old-fashioned telephone. Consider calling an old friend!
  • Take care of yourself. Understanding and taking care of your own needs and feelings, getting plenty of sleep and eating at a healthy diet can go a long way. Practicing yoga, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing or prayer; whatever works for you, is a worthwhile endeavor. And it takes just that: practice.
  • Keep learning. When you hit a roadblock, or feel stuck in any way, think of how you’ve coped with challenges in the past. What did you learn from that experience? What are you ready to learn now? A new language? A new dance step? Constant curiosity feeds the mind and soul for as long as we choose to stay engaged.
  • Remain hopeful. Sometimes, when we see the state of the world, we can get dejected. We think we might be getting too old to have an effect. Whenever you feel this way, search out inspiring stories of people making a difference in large and small ways. There are things being done every day that offer hope. (Also, check out this lady!)
  • Take Action. You didn’t think I’d end a post without this favorite mantra, did you?  By breaking down your big dreams into small action steps, you will be able to see your progress along the way, and, before you know it; you’ll have accomplished a great deal.

To truly change the world, you’ve got to stay engaged with it. That’s what “to grow old gracefully” means to me.  How about you? Give me your tips and tricks to growing with grace.  I’ll take all the help I can get!

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