A few weeks ago I shared the picture above on Facebook.
It was sunny. Charming was happy. It was sunny. I was happy. It was sunny (did I mention that?).
I felt content. And, in a way I can’t capture in words, I felt like myself.
I’ve experienced this so rarely lately I shoved my iPhone at the Tornado and instructed her to snap a picture.
When two friends responded with the same sentiment (below) I went back and examined the image she’d captured.
And I agreed—kind of.
I’m not one to denigrate the compliment-giver and brush off niceties (you should see the bags under my eyes!), yet it immediately brought to mind some musings about aging.
I do think I look young in that photo and I do *know* it’s all a result of my happiness leaking out from within.
I’m brazenly confident enough to respond I look better than I did at eighteen because a quarter of a century later I’m *finally* comfortable in my own skin.
The thing is my healthy changes moment occurred early.
I was in my 20’s. It was a decade when 40 seemed old and the thought of ever turning 50 was as bizarre as imagining myself a mother.
As a result, in recent years I’ve experienced what I refer to as my aha! part deux.
I never regained the weight I shed, yet I’d sometimes spy photographs of my younger-self and feel a twinge of longing.
- No matter how I maintained my loss I didn’t look the same 2+ decades later.
- No matter how I maintained my loss parts of my body now sag, wrinkle and show signs of wear.
Being the misfit I am the thoughts registered—yet I didn’t obsess.
To the child’s emerging horror—I’m more Sally O’Malley than afraid to age.
My aha! was sparked, however, when I read people who are happy about their age lived longer than those ‘bothered’ by it.
Seven and a half years longer.
While I’d never used the word bothered with regards to aging—-I’d happily adopt the adjective happy if it snagged 7.5 more years.
I’d *happily* embrace each wrinkle and
piriformis pain sag if it ensured 7.5 years longer with family and friends.
I immediately formulated a 4-pronged approach to procure me those 2737.5 days:
1. No comparisons. I would not compare myself to others or to my younger self. I would strive to be the best Carla I could currently be. Period.
2. Choose optimism. To know me is to realize I’m already an optimist. Any latent negative tendencies were squelched by the study’s reminder we optimist-types live longer.
3. Live without regret. For me regret is about loss. It’s a form of grieving for what might have been. I choose to be content where I am and open new doors as I age.
4. Treat my body with love and respect. For me it’s gluten-free eating and consistent (moderate) exercise. For others it may look different. A gift of aging is we learn to honor what our body needs.
I mustache you a question:
(aging-happy is aging-silly)
- Regardless of chronological years–have you experienced an aha! moment about aging?
- Do you have a fifth prong you’d add to my aging-approach?