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 essay is by 66-year-old blogger Sonia Lovett, who wants to help other women stay in touch with their power as they age. Watch for more submissions all this month and submit your own essay to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My first surprising experience around aging was seeing my mother after not seeing her for nearly a decade. She still had all of the energy and mental stamina anybody could want, but I was shocked at how her appearance had changed. The minute I got over how her face looked, I realized that she was the same person, only better: wiser, funnier, and more open-minded. As I think back on that experience, I wonder: If we are physically fit, take good care of our skin, stay sharp mentally, and keep growing through experiences, how can anyone judge us by our age?
Could it be through open-mindedness, wit, and humor that we remain timeless and evolved? Could it be through physical strength and agility? Could it be through confidence and lack of fear? Without considering somebody’s appearance, age can be hard to discern.
When I look in the mirror, if I see a tired, depressed face, I feel tired and depressed. Conversely, if I see a happy, well-cared-for face, I feel confident and productive. Aging for me is a matter of taking care of what I have, making wise choices, and sticking to a plan. Exercise and good eating habits, along with skin care and a cultivated joie de vivre are my keys to being ageless. It does take effort and discipline though.
Without considering somebody’s appearance, age can be hard to discern.
Aging gracefully for me is also a matter of attitude and connection. When my husband retired and we moved to Montana, I left behind everything and everyone I knew. I was alone in a new place with nothing much in common with my surroundings and no one to talk to. This taught me a great deal about attitude. How I see life is reflected in my attitude. Rather than let the anxiety, pain, and frustration of aging bring me down, I decided to reinvent myself with my blog, Style Beyond Age, and got on social media to share my voyage to become creative with my circumstances, work with what I have, and connect with other women.
With age comes experience, knowledge, and power. Not to mention the confidence that comes from knowing we have survived many challenges. Isn’t that what power is about? Isn’t that the advantage of getting older? I never want to forget that power is mine to give away; it goes back to the adage “no one can make you feel…”
When I think of aging gracefully, I think of a confident, self-aware woman who lets her experiences inform her attitude and actions, who takes care of herself and trusts her own judgment. What could be better than that?