Aging gracefully?

I’m not sure just what that means. Does it mean letting it all hang out and not worrying at all about how or even if you’re aging? Does it mean fighting every wrinkle, every sag, every grey hair?

For me, the answer is somewhere in the middle, something about balance.

I’m not the woman I was 30 years ago or even 10 years ago. I’m better. Certainly I’m better emotionally and intellectually. I’ve learned a lot of lessons – the most important of which for me seems to have been to enjoy the moment. The trick for me, I suspect, is to keep on getting better physically as well.

I don’t want to run a marathon. I don’t want to go to the gym every day. I don’t want to bulk up. What I do want is to feel good in every way and I guess that’s going to mean walking an hour a day (which is easier than it sounds seeing as I live and work downtown which means I walk everywhere) and swimming for half or three-quarters of an hour two or three times a week and maybe even (when I get the time) taking a yoga class once or twice a week. I’m talking gentle exercise and mostly exercise that relaxes me as well as energizes me. I’m a big fan of the middle path.

I like the woman I am now. I’m not one of those people who remembers being young as the best time of her life. I enjoyed it, I did, and if you ask I’ll tell you about those parts that aren’t censored, but you could pay me a million dollars and I wouldn’t be a teenager again. Or even in my twenties. I like this Kate Austin.

I like the things she knows and the things she knows she doesn’t know. I like the fact that she’s way more willing than she used to be to admit that she doesn’t know everything – just almost everything. I like the way she can laugh about herself.

I like the way she’s willing to make a fool of herself and try something new. I like the way she’s open to new experiences and new people. I like the way she’ll talk to anyone. I like the work she’s doing and the books she’s writing. I like the amazing, astonishing, wonderful women and men she’s meeting. I like the way she appreciates what she has and who she knows. I like the way she – finally – understands that love and friendship and joy and laughter and tears don’t need to be hoarded but need to be shared. I like the way she knows that she’s got more than enough of all those things for everyone.

So I guess you could say that I am aging gracefully. And joyously. And I definitely can’t complain about that.

Kate

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13 responses to “Aging gracefully?

  1. Great thoughts, Kate. We have no control over aging, only over how we want to age. Acceptance, and not fighting it is one thing, and being comfortable in one’s own skin certainly helps.

    You couldn’t pay me to go back to the stupid days of my youth.

    eden

  2. Ahh Sweet Youth… it nearly killed me. and if I don’t stay on my toes and keep moving, Old Age will finish the job. The key is to think young but be smart. Know your limits but push them in all that you do.

    Don’t become “old” become “venerable”

    Wally ;)

    Good Post

    • Wally – it almost killed me, too, many times. But if it weren’t for those times, I wouldn’t be here. And I love that saying “think young but be smart” – the thing we mostly weren’t when we were young.

      Kate

  3. I like this Kate Austin, too.

    I suppose the first thing that helped me ease into what is probably the last third of my life—perhaps the last quarter—was understanding the flow. Everything changes. As much as I want to participate in KB’s Tough Mudder, I can’t work out the way I used to. But if I approach things differently, I can maintain a great deal of endurance and a great deal of health.

    The second thing, as you demonstrate in your post, is having learned to appreciate whom I have become. All the years and all the trouble—not to mention the joys and achievements—are turning me into a person I am proud of.

  4. Raymond, that’s absolutely true – I can’t do the things I could have done in my youth (and mostly didn’t), but I can find a way to do other things. And I am.

    And I think that pride or comfort or joy is what makes being this age worth it.

    Kate

  5. I love this Kate Austin, but wee Kate is sooo cute! You still have the cheeks. :)

    I think aging gracefully, for me, does mean embracing my current gifts, acknowledging my few true limitations, and staying open minded and young at heart. No getting “set in my ways” allowed. Not yet anyway!

    • People who haven’t seen me since I was a kid still recognize me – cheeks and eyes, they say. But yes, acknowledging the true limitations (for me that’s ensuring time for family and friends) and getting out there and doing things – many things – are crucial.

      Kate

  6. Becoming a “granni” has meant accepting that I have grown older, wiser and entered a new stage of my life. The fact that it comes with an adorable little girl named Sophia makes this new stage all worth it!

  7. Older, wiser and a whole lot more fun, Deb! And doing all kinds of new things.

    Kate

  8. Great post, Kate. I’ve found that, as I grow older, I like myself more and more. I can only hope that I age as joyously and as gracefully as you.

  9. Blessings on the ease you’ve found as you get older, Kate! Me too – so how come everyone (especially the media and perhaps because of them, most young people I meet) are – if not embararassed – vigorously trying to deny age? I recently joined a pilates class (speaking of gentle exercise) where I was the only one over 25, 100 pounds, and not blonde. When I joked out loud , “Do I have to be blonde to take this course?” there was a horrified silence. But then, the other great thing about getting older is that I no longer care what they think!

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