Joyful aging can seem like an oxymoron if you’re struggling with the experience of aging. And hey, I get it—as the messages to continually look younger and stay young in order to be relevant take a toll on me too.
My body has certainly changed since having my four children. If you’re a Lindywell member, you may have heard me refer to what I call my “Twin Skin,” a part of my body that I lovingly embrace. Keeping my hormones balanced and finding time to take care of myself has become more difficult as my responsibilities continue to increase.
As I look ahead, envisioning the years to come, I want to continue embracing a joyful aging mentality and love each and every step of the way. At Lindywell, we see aging as a gift, which is why I solicited some advice from our team.
We’re lucky to have many incredible women who have embraced the experience of aging and were willing to share their tips and advice with us. Keep reading to hear what they had to say about joyful aging. You’ll pick up a few ideas and words of encouragement along the way, I know I did!
Look for the Opportunity
With each age, change, and shift, comes an opportunity. Kayleen W., Lindywell Member Resources Coordinator said what she loves most about aging is “the opportunity for growth and joy at every stage. While I do have some insecurities still (who doesn’t), as I’ve aged I’ve grown more grateful and less self-focused, therefore much less insecure, which is wonderful!”
This can be hard to see when you’re frustrated with changing hormones or struggling to manage unexpected physical or emotional changes. When you embrace the natural unfolding of age, this new perspective can help make the experience more enjoyable and interesting.
To stay in this mindset, Kayleen said her number one tip for joyful aging is: “Never stop growing, challenge yourself always! Learn new skills and subjects that interest you. Followed very closely by living a life of gratitude. Every passing day and year really is a gift.”
Feed Your Soul
As you get older, you may find you have more and more responsibilities and obligations, from taking care of children or aging parents to managing your career. Jen M., Lindywell Member Support Lead, reminds us to embrace joyful aging by not forgetting who you are and what you love:
“Stay active, keep moving. Feed your soul by taking time to do the things that make you happy. Don’t be afraid to try new things.” By doing this, Jen has found an unexpected sense of body love and appreciation, despite the challenges of letting go of societal expectations.
When I asked what her favorite part of aging is, she said: “Feeling so much better in my body than what I anticipated it would feel like in my 50s. I have come to feel proud of my wrinkles and that I’ve earned them all by a life lived being outdoors (my favorite way to spend time), being adventurous, and living a full life.”
Nourish and Nurture (And Love!) Your Body
Your mind and body may be different now than in your 20s, but that doesn’t mean it deserves any less love and attention. One way to embrace joyful aging is to give your body the love it needs.
This suggestion comes from Julia K., Lindywell Member Support Coordinator, who said her number one tip for joyful aging is: “Take care of your body by eating nourishing foods, getting in healthy movement, and feeding your skin with clean skin care products.”
The ability to learn what your body needs takes time, which is another beautiful aspect of aging if you choose to embrace it. As Emma T., Lindywell Executive Assistant said:
“The best part of aging is every year I become more familiar with my body, its unique needs, and how to take care of it. I think learning what foods, exercises, and practices feel good for you only comes with time. Getting to know yourself emotionally takes time too. I look forward to continuing to age as I continue to get to know myself and am more in tune with my best self!”
Surround Yourself With A Diverse Community
Staying curious is one way to embrace aging and the many changes you experience as you go through it. One of the best ways to do that is to surround yourself with a diverse group of people. This is the number one tip for aging joyfully from Donna Y., Lindywell Member Support Lead. She said:
“Surround yourself with diverse people, not just of different cultures but also of different ages, experiences, backgrounds, etc. We learn so much from each other, whether it is the wisdom of someone 20 years older or the technical know-how of someone 20 years younger. Continually being curious and wanting to learn keeps us young!”
While this can apply to staying curious about life, I also see this as a reminder to stay curious about what you’re moving through. Rather than getting stuck in the frustration of a shifting metabolism or changing life circumstances, we can always come back to curiosity.
For example, when I get frustrated that I don’t feel the way I used to, I recognize it as an opportunity to get curious. What could be going on in my body, or in my routine, that is causing these feelings? Could I need more rest? Should I reach out to my counselor? Am I eating foods that provide the nourishment I truly need? Do I need to change something about how I’m spending my time?
The curiosity allows me to stay present in my current experience and avoid complacency.
Shift Your Perspective From Curse to Gift
It can be hard to see the gifts in changes that you don’t necessarily want. A perspective shift, from curse vs. gift, however, is the number one tip for joyful aging from Kasey M., Lindywell’s Social Media Manager.
She said, “It is a gift to wake up each day and I’m grateful for each day I get to grow older. The experiences and moments I’ve witnessed in my lifetime [are what I’ve loved most about aging], the wisdom I’ve gained from these experiences, and the lessons I’ve learned.”
There’s so much to gain with each passing year. We can embrace the beauty of this every step of the way, especially when we’re frustrated or disappointed with the changes we’re experiencing.
You Can Embrace Joyful Aging
It can feel impossible to embrace joyful aging in a culture that doesn’t seem to honor the beauty and power of getting older. At Lindywell, we believe women can live a full life at any age. Does this mean we won’t experience challenges and changes? No. But it does mean that when we have a positive mindset around this truth and work with our bodies instead of against them, we open ourselves up to embrace and enjoy our whole lives, every season, every age. And that is the power of joyful aging.