We are all aging. Every one of us, every minute of every day. We will never be chronologically younger than we are at this moment. How we handle that fact will determine if we grow old or if we become ageless. Becoming ageless happens when we shift our perspective.
To be ageless means “being of all generations, not aging or appearing to age.”
As a young woman, I admired women who went gray naturally. Exuding an aura of wisdom and youthful curiosity, they seemed to be shrouded in mystery, holding a secret behind the twinkle in their eyes. I wanted to know what allowed them to be so confident and free. Years later, as my gray began to appear, I lacked the courage to let it show. I was not ready to become the woman I was meant to be. I struggled. The ramifications seemed immense. I work in an image- and youth-oriented business. Ageism is rampant. Would I endanger my livelihood?
So, like millions of women, I colored my hair. Momentarily I felt better — and yet I felt like a spiritual charlatan for hiding my true self. The dread of exposure was always hanging over me. When I finally decided to let my gray shine, most of my friends were shocked. I responded: I am doing it so I can speak my truth.
The need to come to terms with aging was crucial for my journey of self-realization. Acceptance of who I am, naked, without adornments, was imperative. I needed to face myself without shame. It was not easy. At times catching a glimpse of my reflection, I was unrecognizable to myself. Who was that old woman? To want to look youthful is not the issue, masking it behind a facade of fear is. Acknowledging what prevents us from owning our years is essential to our spiritual growth.
To want to look youthful is not the issue, masking it behind a facade of fear is. Acknowledging what prevents us from owning our years is essential to our spiritual growth.
When I let go of the pressure to stay young, I was liberated. It was my ticket to freedom. The secret of those women I’d admired years ago was knowing that they did not need society’s permission to be. They followed the course of nature, flowing with the change of seasons, understanding the power of renewal, regrowth, and resilience. The energy they exuded crossed generations. There is nothing more attractive than someone living her truth. Nothing in nature stands still, so why should we? When we become ageless, the ability for others to define us ceases to exist. We can stand tall, wearing the scars and evidence of our years with pride.
When I embraced my age, a few things happened.
My vision improved. I now see qualities like kindness, gratitude, empathy, and compassion more than I see physical traits. I can see another’s journey without judgment and with tolerance and understanding.
My sense of hearing became heightened. I can hear words that are unspoken.
I became more flexible. Ancient trees that have lived hundreds or thousands of years have become my teachers. They may stand upright or twisted from their experiences, but they bend and sway with the winds, having learned to be rigid will only break their branches.
I became stronger. Sharp words no longer cut me, nor do daggers from angry eyes pierce me. I have not toughened, but rather I have become like flowing water.
I became softer. The softest of touch can affect the deepest healing.
I learned to banish negative thoughts. When ideas that enter my mind do not serve my higher good, I let them go.
I realized that I am whole and complete and perfect as I am.
To become who we are meant to be means to let go of who we once were. Done with grace and acceptance, becoming is effortless.
Charisse Glenn is a casting director, equestrian, and creator of The Let Go. She will turn 62 this year.