Aging is such a beautiful gift. It means we’re still here. We survived. We came through and we have stories to tell about life and the lessons we’ve learned.
At nearly 60, I am more alive, passionate, and wilder than I have ever been. While many friends of mine are bemoaning the fact that they are getting older, I am delighted that I am the fabulous age that I am.
At 21, I was asked what I wanted for my birthday. I replied in a somewhat depressive and off-hand manner that I’d like a case of anti-wrinkle cream. My friends laughed, but I wasn’t joking. Back then, the thought of growing older was something that I refused to embrace. I thought that 60 was ancient and believed that everything after 21 was a decline into the inevitable. However, such are the gifts of our extraordinary lives and the valuable teachings they bring that today I embrace all of whom I am.
My body, once such a battlefield, full of wars, endless fights, and the scars of self-hatred is now a peaceful meadow, full of the many wild flowers that seek to grow there. My eyes that used to view people with envy and jealousy now look on others with compassion and love. I know that no one has the “perfect” life. None of us move through this journey without some sort of loss, struggle, or obstacle to overcome. And we are all both messy and magnificent. Each and every one of us. There are no exceptions to this.
I thought that 60 was ancient and believed that everything after 21 was a decline into the inevitable.
I think back to the many people I have loved in my life who are no longer here. They would love just another day. A day to sit and chat, to drink tea, to snuggle in front of the fire or watch their favorite film. These are the ordinary days of our lives and yet nothing about them is ordinary — they are extraordinary! When you no longer have the sweet, simple things of life, what is it that you crave? The sweet, simple things.
So when I look in the mirror and see my beautiful face, etched with the story of my life, I choose to smile and honor my aliveness. I look deeply into my own eyes and see my ancestry reflected back at me. I am indeed the result of the love of generations as I stand in the frontline of my life with all those who have gone before me having lived out their stories and carved their unique paths.
And as I wonder at the face before me, I know without a shadow of a doubt that growing older is indeed a privilege. It’s not gifted to everyone and is never guaranteed.
Astrid’s Advice for Aging Fabulously
1. Do away with the notion of a second or third act! It’s a headspace that focuses on the conclusion of a story. Instead, rewrite your current story every day of your life in the most glorious high-definition words and images that you can muster.
2. Bounce and smile! Don’t overthink this one — just do it.
3. Choose to think beautiful thoughts.
4. Love your hips. They don’t lie and will keep you feeling vibrant, alive, and sensual.
5. When you touch your own body, make it a loving caress and not a brush off.
Astrid Longhurst is the founder of the Institute for Body Confidence Coaching, an author, and an inspirational speaker. Her passion is helping people feel fabulous about themselves.