Sep 21, 2011

Classic H of H: Graceful Aging?

I would still like to hear more comments regarding this. I'm staring down the hallway at 50 and have more to say about this subject when I return home. Please comment. It would help me to hear your thoughts.

Have you thought about what you'll be like when you're 70? Have the older women in your life been good role models in regards to how to age gracefully?

I'll give you two examples of women in their 70s from my own experience: My mother-in-law and my mother.

My MIL died in May. When she was young and middle-aged, she was a beautiful, accomplished, generous, lady-like ball of energy. She taught school full-time, sang with a local opera company, and was always dressed impeccably. She was a great mom to her two kids. In the last 10 years before she died at 72, she made choices about her quality of life that led to her becoming a severe alcoholic. She did NOT want to be old and did not want to live anymore. She shoved everyone around her out of her life, including her only grandchild.

My mother grew up in poverty. She quit school in the 10th grade. She had her first child when she was 17 (married a guy to get herself out of that poverty), and then walked away from that marriage because he was abusive. What she did was NOT common back in the 60s, but she determined to make her and her daughter's lives better. She met my dad and married him and it took a few years before she stopped being in "survival mode." My dad provided the stable life that she had never had before. She did OK as a mother, but it definitely could have been a more enjoyable experience for both her and her children. She's 74 now. Do you know what her latest comment to me was? "It's all in the attitude. I see women around me that are my age who are barely living. I'm not going to do that!"

What about you? What about me? The decisions we make NOW will affect who we will be in our later years. Our early life experience doesn't have to dictate the future, nor do the changes of life have to cause us to stop living a full life.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this as well as any examples of positive aging you've encountered, please. Then I think I will print them out and put them in a safe place to read as I age!


RetroRocketGal said...

I think I'd like to read that, too. I'll try to get you the link of Lady Lydia's on graceful ageing. Her advice: dress nicely and in a feminine manner. Don't look manly in sweats with your hair buzzed off so that you look like a hedgehog, with incongruous long professionally manicured red fingernails. Also, try to keep up with keeping your home clean.

For me (I'm 58) ageing gracefully meant letting my hair go grey. I used to color it and had fun with that (I don't think it's wrong), but when the doctor put me on thyroid meds, it made my hair grow so fast that I had to color it every two weeks, and I didn't want to do that (too expensive, too much effort, didn't seem healthful). I found that I loved my grey hair!

Rocky Mountain Homemaker said...

My 23 year old daughter used to be on staff at a Bible college. For a couple of years she attended a Bible study called S.L.O.L.I.M. It stood for Sweet Little Old Ladies in the Making. The young women in the group desired to acquire godly attributes that would last them a lifetime.
I'm 52 and in addition to desiring a godly character, I work out regularly, desiring to be fit all of my life. There are many women my age who are old because they are sedentary. It seems like such a shame.
Very thought provoking post today........Denise

Mrs.Phillips said...

I think aging is in the eye of the beholder. I am 23 and a few years ago I had a friend that (we were both 21 at the time) slept around and got drunk and went to parties every night. She kept saying to me that I was acting like I was 35 and I needed to act like a 21 year old but to me I was acting like a 21 year old it was her who was being really immature. I was a 20 year old who wanted to be a 40 year old. Honestly, I think its really sad and pathetic when women in their 40s and 50s try to look like they are in their 20s. It bothers me that people think there is something wrong with getting older. I think aging gracefully is acceptance. Acceptance of the little lines around your eyes, and almost proud that one has wrinkles because they were earned. Dressing modestly is elegant, a 60 year old with cleavage and a thong....(not so much)

K Quinn said...

I'm with Mrs. Phillips. Aging is in the eye of the beholder. I dress modestly and try (my best to act with grace). But I also know I feel better and younger when I'm taking care of myself. I had gained a bunch of weight and was being really lax about how I went about my day. I felt and probably looked old (early 40's). I started actively changing that a few months ago. Working out, eating better (no more coffee or tea), getting up earlier, putting my all into taking care of family and spending time with Peanut. I'm feeling better and surprisingly younger. And you know when people start to comment that it's working. I also don't color my hair or wear makeup (allergic to most ingredients in makeup) so I got no cover!!!! But it's okay.

On my role models. I think they've been as good as they can be. My mother has dietary issues so that has taken a bit of a toll but she is often thought to be younger than she is. She has aged with grace as has my grandmother. My grandmother was mistaken for my mother in my childhood. I've also has some bad examples in some other relatives that really pushes me to not make the same mistakes. Mostly in letting the body go and trying too hard to look like someone else.

affectionforfitness said...

Hi! When I'm at the gym and see an older lady who is in good shape or has less wrinkles, or good posture, I talk to her and ask her if she has advice for me.

I have learned: Make strict rules for fitness so that you don't get injured, then you can keep exercising when your older. Where a hat or visor whenever you are outside to avoid needless wrinkles. And they also provide me with helpful relationship advice--because these older ladies have seen everything! That is why they are wise!

:-) Marion

Katie said...

This morning I was reading in the paper about something that Joan Crawford said of Myrna Loy: "she latched onto the secret of growing old gracefully--and usefully." This reminded me of this post. The lesson is that grace has another dimension.


Anonymous said...

From Valerie, b. 1951: I discovered this blog today: I'm looking forward to returning and researching it in depth - thankyou, it looks full of promise!

Roxanne said...

All of you said such great things. I think this is VERY important to discuss because our culture is so very youth-oriented that growing old gracefully seems to be a shock to everyone when they arrive at that time of life.

My mom will be 75 next week and she's full of advice on this topic. I will try to compile your thoughts and add hers in another post soon.

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