We asked women in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s to write short personal essays answering the question, What does aging gracefully mean to you? Each one is a window into the mental and physical lives of women as they grow older. This first essay is by 42-year-old wife, mother, and internet entrepreneur Kristin Perla. Watch for more submissions all this month and submit your own essay to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To me, aging gracefully means achieving balance, prioritizing well-being, and becoming my best inner self. At 42, I have just started to glimpse how age changes things, but I’m feeling really good about those changes and want to embrace them and use them as advantages to further refine who I am and want to become. I am a strong believer that a positive mindset is the key to aging well, so I’m striving to find ways to focus on that.
I was lucky enough to have grown up in a loving family and to have had really positive experiences as a child and into my 20s. I traveled to some amazing bucket-list places, lived in and got to experience all New York City had to offer, and met and married my soul mate by 30. I recall feeling an intense happiness and an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
In my 30s, I dedicated my mind, body, and soul to giving birth and raising my three babies. Those years were simultaneously the most joyful and the most trying, all wrapped up in a decade I can barely recall. There were precious first moments and magical feelings tied with some really tough physical ailments and zero time to focus on my own health. I can look back with fondness but acknowledge that taking care of myself was last on the list. I felt lost in a negative loop and entered my 40s with reluctance, fearing that the best days were behind me.
Surprisingly, I now feel like I’m able to take a deep breath for the first time in a long time. I have a very clear sense of how precious life is, and I’m slowly starting to find myself again.
Surprisingly, I now feel like I’m able to take a deep breath for the first time in a long time. I have a very clear sense of how precious life is, and I’m slowly starting to find myself again. I’m finding time to focus on nutrition, take long walks to clear my mind, and learn more about mediation. I recently had my first facial and have invested in some quality products to keep my skin looking and feeling nourished. I have a refreshed viewpoint on my life and what I need to feel good.
In this decade, I want to work hard at becoming stronger physically and mentally. I want to continue to carve moments each day for myself and to practice more self-love. I’m aware that aging will bring obstacles, but I will choose to fight them head on and try my best to learn from each hardship.
As I grow older, my children are growing with me, and that is bringing all-new experiences. I love watching their personalities forming. I hope to be able to pass on positivity and teach them some of the new tools I have been learning — helping them slow down and practice mindfulness at a much younger age.
I keep a sign on my desk that has become a mini mission and motto. It reads: “You have to nourish to flourish.” It reminds me daily to work as hard on myself as I do on my job and my family. With that motto driving me, I look forward to the next chapter in life.
Kristin Perla is co-founder of Loup Digital.