Aging, we cringe at the thought; shudder at the realization that it is happening, and purchase products wanting to believe what some actress or actor on a commercial said it ‘took years off their appearance’ (let’s all fess up… we’ve all fallen for it once or twice). At 20 we cannot even imagine what life will be like at 40 ‘That’s so old!’ The look of complete and utter shock on the face of any teenager when you tell them that you are 30 or 40 or 50 is absolutely frightening! And there are those little things that you’ve secretly dreaded about getting older, beyond the appearance things – like the moment you realize that you do that thing or say that thing that your mom does (you know that day is coming…). It is as if your mom’s history must repeat itself, and it does so through you.
Any rational human being knows that our age is really only a number that indicates how many years we have been on this earth – not our state of mind or state of being. As it turns out, age can be perceived in many ways – chronological age – how old you are according to the calendar, functional age – how you are able to function in your daily activities, biological age – the health of your body systems, relative age – your age in relation to others your own age, psychological age – your mental health, and social age – your age regarding your social activity level. Essentially, there are many areas of our health that determine our age – not just the calendar (thank god!).
My mom, on the cusp of 75, manages diabetes and cardiovascular disease daily. There have been days when she has had difficulty breathing and when she could hardly walk down the front walk of the house, she has had been in the hospital for cardiac issues more times that I can count. With all of that going on in her life, she somehow finds a way to teach a fitness class to a (very) senior group of women at the local nursing home, volunteer at the hospital gift store, and design flowers for a few weddings here and there (almost forgot, she also started selling Mary Kay two years ago). Heck she’s even been to Jamaica to work in an orphanage! As much as we give her heck for not slowing down, it all gives her a purpose and keeps her active – mentally young, and honestly, more active than many others her age. Are there days when she doesn’t feel so young? You bet. But she has this amazing perseverance, and today she is able to walk to her fitness class and her quality of life has improved – yay mom! She is getting younger and younger every day.
At 42, I am sticking with the concept that we are only as old as we feel. There are days when I feel like I am most definitely in my 40’s, but most days I am not sure what 40 is supposed to feel like! Personal health seems to be a running theme so far on this blog overall– and here again- when I take the time to take care of myself, eat well, sleep enough, and play a bit, I don’t feel so old. When I do not do these things? Oi, I become grumpy, creaky, cheeky, and t-i-r-e-d.
Here’s a little secret for those not quite into their 40’s yet…. There is this revolutionary transformation that occurs when you turn 40; you stop caring about what anyone else thinks about you and what you do. Liberation! If it feels right to keep colouring out your grey hair, do it. If it feels right to stay in your pyjamas all morning, do it. If it feels right to work part-time and go to school, do it. For me, gradually, so very gradually, as I let go of the need to be concerned with what I believed others thought, I have found clarity and see what is important to me. My passion has become more focused and my courage is heightened, maybe even bolstered!
So today, when I hear my mother’s voice [and creativity] coming from my mouth, I smile and am thankful for the gift of her perseverance [and creativity]. Then, I colour my hair and buy a new anti-aging moisturizer.
Have a good one, and thanks for taking the time!