Resa Alboher asks in Spirituality & Health Magazine, “Why resist aging when you can celebrate the triumph of still being here?” Afraid of aging, her life changed when she was faced with a diagnosis of a rare cancer. She began seeing herself grow old and looking forward to it.
Fortunately, I have never faced death from a disease, but I have questioned my mortality especially when I saw both my mother and her mother die in their early 60’s from cancer of the pancreas. It took me years to realized I did not have to die like them; that in fact, I could easily live years longer. And so I embraced my aging. Not comparing myself to their deaths placed me in the present where I belonged.
By embracing my age and how I looked, I was able to also embrace the wisdom that came with aging. I then began to celebrate my aging by sharing my experiences and writing about them. When we tell our stories, according to Dr. Lissa Rankin, in Psychology Today, “It transforms our lives.” She goes on to say, “There is strength in telling our stories.” Why? “Because telling your story—while being witnessed with loving attention by others who care—may be the most powerful medicine on earth.”
Today, I keep my dreams alive. Five years ago when I celebrated turning sixty I had a tiny fleur-de-lis tattoo inked just above me left ankle. A symbol of my love for the place I grew up, Louisiana, I shared that experience with my forty year-old son getting like me his first and last tattoo. I have much still to do in this life and I have no plans to just sit around and wait for opportunities. Instead, I make them happen.
I eat healthy, exercise generously if not regularly, volunteer in the community, take care of my grandchildren and serve as my oldest granddaughter’s Girl Scout leader. I stay balanced writing in my daily journals and meditations. I grow vegetables and herbs in my backyard and cook most of my meals from scratch. My goal is to not compromise what I’ve accomplished by having any regrets. Yes, there is always room for improvement, but I feel really good about having no regrets.
Finally, at sixty-five I’ve come to accept how I look now. I realize I will never look like I did ten, twenty or thirty years ago, however, I feel I look better. Every wrinkle, blue vein, age mark, and white hair on my head makes me who I am – unique and grateful for each day that I can grow older. My answer is clear; how about you?