The True Beauty of an Ageing Woman

I got an opportunity the other day to stop and deeply consider what the true beauty of an ageing woman is; and the opportunity came from a Facebook post. It was a photo of two seemingly very old women with their weather-beaten skin deeply etched with decades of lines and wrinkles, and with a distinct absence of teeth, but their faces were alive from their smiles and their laughter. The caption read something like: – “we were young and beautiful but now we are just beautiful”. Their joy-filled smiles certainly had me smiling as I looked carefully at what I was seeing and allowed these words to sink in.

In the past I may have looked at these women with critical eyes, asking where the beauty was, and I am sure others would have done the same. But this time all I could see was the absolute joy emanating from these glorious smiles, and I could feel a deep love of themselves and each other, such was the energy coming from them; their beauty was coming from the inside along with a tangible feeling of sisterhood.

So, I got to contemplate on what I had just been presented with, and some questions quickly arose – what is beauty for a woman and where does it come from, and who determines what beauty really is, especially for an older woman?

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Exercise and the Ageing Body

Before I go any further, I have to own that I am not an exercise expert in any shape or form and nor will I ever profess to be. I have been, however, an expert at avoiding exercise for much of my life; nothing to be proud of but I felt I need to be honest right from the beginning about my relationship with exercise. And it is now glaringly obvious this avoidance did not serve my body in any way. But what I have come to know over the last few years, without a shadow of doubt, is that exercise is absolutely essential for the ageing body; for a body of any age, in fact.

Many things change in our lives as we age, and looking around, I observe a tendency for many older people to slow down their participation in life, including their level of exercise, as their lives begin to slow down. I certainly have, as for the last 10 years I have allowed my overall fitness to slide and with it has come the struggle to do things I have always done, with ease. And I know for sure that sitting for many hours at the computer each day, has added to my ‘physical decline’. But does this have to be the way it is? Continue reading “Exercise and the Ageing Body”

Why do we fight the ageing process?

 

I was pondering the other day about the use of the word ‘fight’ in the English language, and how it has come to preface many things in our everyday life. There’s fight for equality, fighting illness and disease, fighting for our rights and much more; in fact, it felt very exhausting just writing about all this ‘fighting’. And of course, there’s all the talk about fighting the ageing process.

So, it brought this question to mind – ‘why do we feel we have to fight something that is a natural part of the cycle of our life, something that begins the moment we are born and ends with our last breath?’ Continue reading “Why do we fight the ageing process?”

You’re Never too Old to Change

A friend of mine celebrated her 88th birthday recently, and she has so much to celebrate, as nowadays this gorgeous woman does not let age define her. In the last 10 years Dorothy has made some huge changes in the way she lives and as a result she is now feeling more alive and more vital than she has ever done. She is redefining the truth about ageing, as she shows me, and everyone around her, that we are never too old to make a change, or as in Dorothy’s case, many changes, in our lives.

There have been many times during my life when I have heard older people say that it’s too late to change, that they’re too old to try anything new and, with what often seems to be a very defeatist attitude, simply give up even considering trying and so choosing to stay stuck in the same old worn out groove. And then there are those who don’t for a moment consider that there’s anything wrong with how they are living and continue to make the same choices and wonder why they have the same outcomes time after time. I used to be one of those. Continue reading “You’re Never too Old to Change”

Children’s Perspectives on Ageing

An unexpected, but rather funny comment from an 11-year-old boy recently got me to thinking about how children view the older members of the community and whether they actually think about growing old. I was spending time with a family while at work and during the course of a game the mother, in her late 30’s, said she had to rest as she was getting tired. Her son instantly replied – that’s because you’re old”! Well of course at age 68 I consider the 30’s to be anything but old, so I asked what did that make me. The reply came back very quickly – ‘a fossil”! Well I burst out laughing at his response as how could I be offended by his honesty?

Not long after I remembered that ‘fossil’ had been the nickname given to my father by the teenagers in the classes he taught in his early 70’s – the word retirement wasn’t in his vocabulary – and here I was four years away from that age, being called the same thing! And I’m not retiring either!

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Pondering on Ageing

Coming close to my 69th birthday I have been pondering on ageing and my relationship to it, and at times wondering how I actually made it to this age; where has the time gone?  In fact, sometimes I look at this number and cannot relate it to the person I am. But one thing is for sure, I am not going to allow myself to be defined by a number, which is actually 69 cycles around the sun and not the straight line we have been led to believe it is.

I can remember my mother saying to me many years ago, when she was in her 80’s, that inside she didn’t feel any different than she always had, but that so much had changed on the outside, and that I can now relate to; the wrinkles, the sags, the ‘age’ spots and so on. And of course, there is the slowing down of the physical body and the aches and pains that can come with this.

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My Inspiration

There have been many who have inspired me over the years, but I need to go way back in my life to the very first inspiration, and that is my father.

This lovely man was 45 when I was born. He always seemed so very old to me when I looked at him on the outside, but on looking within all I ever used to see was one very alive, and young man, who never stopped living life to the fullest, and who never had the word retirement in his vocabulary.

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