I’m all dressed up, wearing no make-up…and for me, that’s ok. You see this is a day for which I am most grateful. My grandmother lived to be 93 years old. I was only 7 when she died. I was heartbroken, but one year earlier, I had lost my mother’s eldest sister to complications of diabetes and hypertension when she was just 58. Two years later, just as our family was still reeling from their monumental losses, I would lose my mother—a single parent—to stomach cancer. Suffice it say that I became intimately acquainted with death far earlier than I wanted or thought I would. So you can appreciate that the reasons for my gratitude today run far deeper than usual. For the first 40 years of my life I was plagued by thoughts of being visited by an early death before I was ready.
My mother was 53 when she made her exit. So 7 years ago, when I turned 53, then 54, my preoccupation with death subsided. I thought, well I’ve made it past my mother’s age at her time of death, so maybe I’m safe. I should tell you that my preoccupation with death was exacerbated by the fact that my mother learned that she had stomach cancer the same year she gave birth to me. That fact informed doctors to keep a close, watchful eye on my healthcare all of my life. No one could be sure that I had not been exposed to the cancerous cells that took over her body while I was still in-utero. I offer this short slice of my story as a way of sharing what I’ve learned through these and other experiences for well over more than a half century.
I am painfully aware that we live in a society wrought with age-ism and a constant yearning for perfection. And try as we might, we can never achieve (perfection) because perfection in itself is an overrated, unrealistic concept. In my 60 years, I’ve learned that to make progress, not perfection— is perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. To love yourself enough to thumb your nose at doubters and on-lookers and be comfortable in your own skin is really what’s hot.
In truth, we baby boomers, all 77 million of us, left to the whims of the advertising industry, Madison Avenue, and a millennial generation, would be cast aside to wither away and die, as if we had outlived our purpose. HA!
“There Is No Life Without Purpose”
There can be no life without purpose, meaning if you, anyone, or anything is here, alive—you have a purpose. It would be a shame to leave this earth and your life, without living out the full purpose of the life that God intended for each of us.
So age-ism, be damned! You can be sexy, smart, beautiful, loving, kind, and generous of heart, spirit, and of your time at ANY age. It’s not about what others see on the outside that makes us great or special. It’s what’s on the inside that counts…
I’ve come to understand that with this purposeful life we can get the best and the most from it if we:
1. Enjoy and marvel at the little things. They’re all around us and teach us life’s deepest meaning over all.
2. Love ourselves, and others as God loves each of us.
3. Never take “no” for an answer for the things that are deepest in our character and our calling and that we hold sacred.
4. Laugh often, because laughter truly is the best medicine. Food is a very close second.
5. Take care of our bodies, stretch our minds, and nurture our spirits. Without either we are unable to fulfill our purpose on earth.
6. Dare to Look into the eyes of others–all others–and see ourselves. It is the quickest and most effective path I’ve found to serving humanity. It liberates us to be truly accepting of what is, while appreciating what we are, and encourages our refusal to judge others—lest we “be judged by the same judgment”. When you can do this the heinous acts committed on humanity by humans become impossible.
7. Celebrate and support other women. We are really our sister’s keeper and we are literally responsible for giving birth to civilization itself. What we do to or for our sister, we do to and for ourselves. “If not for her, where would I be?”
8. Get off the shoulders of our ancestors who blazed the trails before us and fertilize new ground with our own contribution for the generations that follow.
9. Love our spouses and partners unconditionally, for in each other we are strength.
10. Give more that we expect to get. It is our rent for living.
It comes down to this:
Age really lives in your body, from the neck up. Age and aging is less about how you feel and more about how you think. You’re as old or young as your attitude dictates. You are the age of whatever your perspective is and your relationship to yourself and the world around you. Compare yourself only to yourself and live, really live, your life as you choose. Refuse to live a life projected onto you by someone else, no matter who that person is or how much you love them. Your love of self only fortifies your ability to love another. Dedicate your time to things that bring you joy over pain, growth over ignorance, and the rest? As my mama used to say “Charge it to the ground, let the rain settle it!”
I don’t know if “40 really is the new 30” or if 60 is anything but 60, but I know this— when Oprah asked Maya Angelou during a Super Soul Sunday interview “What is it like to be 80?” Maya responded, “Its good work if you can get it. You ought to try it if you can.”
I’m on the path to get there so far it has been one hell of a great ride!
Celebrate your age and beauty! Share your story and send me your feedback..
Share, Like and Invite other women to share their stories here and send pictures of yourselves in all your beautiful splendor 😀
I can’t wait to hear from you!
With Love and Happiness