Category Archives: Growing Old is a Beautiful Thing

Dear Mom: Your Gifts Live Through Me

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With me always.  Happy Mother’s Day, with love. 

Mother, sing me a song
That will ease my pain,
Mend broken bones,
Bring wholeness again.
Catch my babies
When they are born,
Sing my death song,
Teach me how to mourn.

Show me the Medicine
Of the healing herbs,
The value of spirit,
The way I can serve.

Mother, heal my heart
So that I can see
The gifts of yours
That can live through me.

~Native American Healing Prayer, Anonymous

What gifts from your mother live through you?

Ageless Beauty: Old Is Brand New

AgingOrganic Video Essay:

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

I’ve pondered the beauty and grace of people growing old.  It occurs to me that in the process of aging, older people often begin to radiate in mystical and magical ways. The character, attitudes and charm of older generations illuminate an artistry that is as seductive as it is entrancing.  Simply stated, old people rock.

How would you describe these ageless beauties?  I see the intrigue and magnetism glowing from their faces and from their body language as well.

I begin to think of all the celebrated adjectives that come to mind when I look at people growing old:  radiant, spirited, sexy, confident, sassy, stylish, wise, electric, colorful, chic, vibrant, coordinated, feisty, bold, seasoned and oh so cool.  The list goes on.  No need to wax poetic.  Ageless beauty is a standalone marvel.

Bo Gilbert Vogue's First 100 Year-Old Model

Case in point.  Meet Bo Gilbert, 100 year-old model from Vogue’s May 2016 Centenary Edition.  Vogue wants to challenge ageism in the fashion industry and prove that, ‘the older generation can be fearlessly stylish.’  We couldn’t agree more.

Vogue selected Gilbert because of her grace, poise and flair for fashion.  “I just suit myself.  I certainly don’t dress up for boys.”  Gilbert wears heels and make-up everyday whether she’s going out or not.  When asked about her style, she said: ‘I do things that I think a lot of people wouldn’t do at my age. I always like to keep myself looking quite decent, even if I wasn’t going out. I try to keep the standards up’.  Bravo!

With so many people growing old, where has society gone astray? When did we start to believe that beauty and allure become elusive as people age?  What explains our cultural obsession with youthfulness? Why are we so enamored with weapons of anti-aging? How can we learn to embrace ourselves and the glory of old age? 

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

The Science of Love: Happily Ever After

92 Year Old Man Sings to Wife

Whatever your age, this is a moment to witness. A deeply poignant video of Laura, age 93, with her husband Howard, age 92.  Recorded at a hospice facility by their granddaughter, Erin Solari, as her grandpa sings the couple’s favorite love song to his wife of 73 years as she prepares to make peace with her last days.

(Posted with permission from Jukin Media)

This compelling encounter went viral  on September 20, 2015 and has logged nearly 8 million views. It is a profound and moving illustration of how enduring  love and happiness are directly connected to the quality and duration of our lives as we grow old.

It is easy to understand why love and its link to couples growing old has long been a popular subject of scientific research.  Numerous studies have published fascinating findings on the measurable and proven connections between aging and the science of love.

The Journal of Gerontology recently published three studies that explore the relationship between marital quality and health in midlife and old age.  One such study entitled, “Marital Quality and Health in Middle and Later Life: Dydadic Associations”, concluded that supportive marriage is a critical resource to couples which provides positive marital quality and protection against poor health, disability and functional limitations in later life.

The study also concludes that a happy and satisfied spouse actually improves the physical health of their partner.  These findings suggest that a spouse who feels loved and supported may enhance the other spouse’s sense of competence as a husband or wife and thus bolster their physical well-being.

Clearly there are mounds of overwhelming scientific evidence that indisputably recognize the complex and powerful connection between love, happiness and longevity.  That being said, one need look no further than these captivating moments between Laura and Howard for an indelible lesson on the science of love.

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it be rather a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Blog Postscript: 

Curious to know how the story of Laura and Howard unfolded, I returned to YouTube only to find the following update posted by Erin:

“After posting this video to Facebook, it began to go viral and all the outpouring of love lifted everyone’s spirits… including Grandma’s! They originally gave her just a week to live, but hospice eventually deemed her well enough to go back home to live out her remaining days. She is still considered “Terminal,” however, as of this posting my beautiful Grandma Laura Virginia is still with us resting peacefully at home. Our family along with the wonderful people from hospice are taking care of her and making sure she remains as pain-free and comfortable as possible while she prepares for her nearing departure. We all thank you so much for the love and kind words.”

Another triumph for the Science of Love.  Here’s to  happily ever after…

 

 

 

Six Fringe Benefits of Growing Old

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Look around, it’s easy to see that growing old is a privilege not a right. So why does our confused culture place such a premium on youthfulness while waging war on any sign of old age? Why does society promote the idea that aging is simply the beginning of the end?

Younger generations render twentieth century baby boomers as antiquated and obsolete.  As people grow old, we are easily characterized by deterioration and decline.  How easy we forget the enormous advantages that come with our golden years.

Growing old is a beautiful thing.

SIX FRINGE BENEFITS OF GROWING OLD

1. Vast Arsenal of Wisdom, Knowledge and Experiences. Have you every considered how different your younger self would have been if you knew back then what you know today? Consider the rich resource of intelligence and perspective we acquire over in our lifetimes. Our arsenal of wisdom, knowledge and experience is akin to having a comprehensive owner’s manual  to life, readily accessible to troubleshoot, course correct or soar to new heights.

2. Finely Tuned Sixth Sense. How many times have you received a call from someone you were thinking of just moments before? Have your dreams ever foretold what’s awaiting you on the road ahead? As our intuitive sixth sense matures, we develop a powerfully compelling ability to feel and know things before they occur. As we learn to listen and trust this mystical phenomena, we understand how our instinctive insight is a gift from nature that strengthens as we age.

3. Strong Sense of Purposefulness and Self-Confidence. It is very powerful to embody a strong sense of purposefulness and inner confidence that comes from growing older. After decades of living, older adults are acutely attuned to our strengths and limitations, likes and dislikes. As we age, we become much less influenced by the opinions of others. We know who we are, what we want and where we are going.

4. Ability to Balance Triumphs and Defeats.
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same.

This verse from “If” by Rudyard Kipling perfectly describes one of life’s most critical survival skills that strengthens with the wisdom and experience of growing older.  Over time life puts decades of our victories and setbacks into proper perspective.

5. Passion to Grow and Thrive.  The early decades of our lives are typically spent learning prescribed subjects and curriculum. In our advancing years, we choose precisely what we want to learn.  Developing new skills and capabilities provide older adults with immense satisfaction and intensify our desire for continued growth.

6. Reshaping and Redefining Love. As we age, our character and inner self increasingly radiate our long and winding journey.  Our spirituality often reaches new heights as we come to understand how all things are connect. In turn, our capacity to love and to be loved expands in ways we could never have imagined.

Perhaps the greatest fringe benefit of growing old is a stark realization that our time on earth is far too short and fleeting. May the wisdom of our golden years remind us to live each day to its fullest, as though it were our last.