Tweaking the Aging Mindset

OK it’s true. Aging isn’t the most fun thing I’ve participated in. I don’t wake up every day doing the happy dance and chanting, “Oh, boy. I love, love, love being in my 50s.” No, it’s not like that at all. Aging is also far from being the scariest thing I’ve ever been forced into doing. I went through labor twice… now that was scary. I’ve discovered that aging isn’t so much about letting go. For me, it’s really about tweaking my mindset.

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

But I Can’t Look Wonderful

For six years, I’ve rehashed a conversation I heard between my mom and a young woman. It was the last holiday my mom would partake of. The woman was a life-long friend of my daughter. She stopped by on Christmas Eve to say hello to my family. My mother walked into the kitchen. She was absolutely thrilled to see Andrea. Andrea rushed over and gave my mom a heartfelt hug.

Sincerely, she told my 75-year-old mother that she looked wonderful. My mom said, “Well, I shouldn’t.” Andrea asked, “What do you mean?” Quickly, Mom responded, “Because I am not supposed to look wonderful at this age.” What the heck?

Of course, we all laughed. Honestly, I was saddened, though, that my mother felt that way. She did look wonderful. Right then, I decided I would not buy into that falsehood of aging. I plan on experiencing wonderful right to the end. You can’t stop me. Bring on the compliments. I will accept each one graciously.

From Envy to Appreciation

Even as recently as a year ago I begrudged younger women. I felt the need to suck in my gut as I passed by a group of females. I was compelled to stand straighter. I think I actually strutted by them on occasion. What on earth was I trying to prove? Nothing… other than I was a nutty older female. It was crazy.

I would be feeling super about myself one minute, then; I see some beautiful young girls, and I began to age in front of them. It was much like when the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz” melted into nothingness.

Why? I was envious. Yeah, that was hard to admit. I saw a group of stunning young girls at a restaurant one evening. I blubbered aloud to my husband, I so envy their youth. When I said that, I realized I had made a significant breakthrough. It was liberating to be honest for a change.

After that, I started seeing younger females in a positive new light.

Appreciation of their delicious, blissful youth is much easier to deal with than being envious. Envy is a wasted emotion. Our beauty doesn’t disappear as we age-it takes on a fresh degree of sophistication.

Besides, my youth was the most difficult part of my life. It’s certainly not always all it’s cracked up to be. Even so, it would be nice to… well, never mind.

Discovering My Self-Worth

Self-worth has never been more prominent than it has been in my 50s. Why did it take so long to realize the breadth of my skills and achievements? For some illogical reason, I believed my life, especially my career goals, would reach a finale in my 40s.

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

I had no clue what made me feel that way. When I considered all the things I have carried out effectively; both on the personal level as a woman, and a career level-it didn’t make sense that I would feel less inadequate than those around me.

I raised two smart and thriving daughters. I have four amazing grand kids. I did a terrific 10-year stint as a recognized newspaper correspondent. I have been a productive freelance writer for 27 years. Currently, I am winding down my eighteenth year as a successful business owner. Duh!

Thankfully, that odd and uncomfortable portion of time eventually passed. When a young person attempts to make me feel that way now; I recount all my accomplishments and successes in my head, and I chuckle to myself. Granted, it falls on the side of an evil chuckle, but it keeps me focused on my strengths, at that moment.

I am content and secure now because I haves scores of valuable wisdom and life experience to lean on. Even though I am aging, I have plenty of beneficial knowledge to share.

What is “Cool” Anyway?

I may not be considered “cool” in the eyes of young people; especially in my small business realm. That’s OK. However, “cool” really means what? My perspective of “cool” changed as time passed. It’s vastly different now.

I think people who don’t have a degree, but who have made a good life for themselves are “cool.” I happen to believe someone who survives cancer is “cool.” Holding hands with my husband is “cool.” My three-year-old grandson has been able to pronounce Massachusetts correctly since he was two; that makes him way “cool” in my book.

All in all, with ongoing tweaks to my mindset, I believe aging is pretty “cool,” too.

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