Written By: Angelena Craig

As boomers we are growing older, not so far off from what was once called old age. We can dismiss these scary and unpleasant thoughts, perhaps until we notice one or more of the following…

* When we look in the mirror, we appear less attractive.
* We get our first pair of reading glasses.
* We have less energy than before.
* There are more aches and pains felt in our body.
* Our hair thins.We have a chronic medical condition.
* We forget things.

I recently led an adult education workshop called “How to Slow Down the Aging Process.” A group of six women, all in their 60’s, met once a week for four weeks. As we explored all the components associated with growing older, we considered just what it takes to remain young, while moving up in age.

We looked at the best ways to exercise safely including stretching, strengthening and aerobics. We spent a lot of time on the topic of stress and to do about since it is the biggest aging factor of all (and the number one killer).

We looked at the recommended foods to eat, the supplements to take and our own attitudes, the judgments each of us has made around getting older, and how we regard moving into the “elder” years, which are revered in most cultures, but, sadly, not in ours.

In one session we divided a large sheet of paper in half. On the left side, we listed all the losses we may experience growing older. The list of 18 items was momentarily daunting and we laughed over the idea of just throwing in the towel.

Quickly, we moved on to generate a list of all the possible gains, all the positive aspects of aging. We managed to find 23 wonderful parts of this aging business.

The first thing we identified is what everyone always notices: we care less about what others think of us. We went on to add that we have more self-awareness, and are generally more conscious of our words, thoughts and deeds. We tend to be more assertive, especially about asking for what we need. We take better care of ourselves. There is more time for us to be creative, more time to spend with friends and loved ones, and more time to travel.

In these later boomer years, our lives begin to be reviewed with a sense of history, so that we come to better terms with what is real and sustaining for us. We are more forgiving, empathetic and compassionate, even about ourselves. We are definitely wiser and reach for the deeper meanings of life. We take it easier, putting things more into perspective, and therefore, many of us tend to be calmer. Our spiritual life is more in our spotlight. We are less materialistic, and more interested in a soulful approach to life and in healing all our relationships. We have become more of who we truly are.

Now, when we look in the mirror or climb on the scale, we can think about our blessings. We can allow these positive aspects to motivate us to live a healthier life, addressing the three most important parts of staying young while growing older – to keep moving, nourish ourselves well, and recognize and then reduce our stress. It is a matter of commitment and taking responsibility for ourselves, knowing very well that if we don’t care of ourselves, who will?

You may respond to Angelena below or email her at acraig@boomer-living.com

Tags: aging process, attitudes, boomers

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