“I’m young at heart. I’m just old in my back and knees” was a recent Facebook post by my niece-in-law. I identify! After my father came to live with us, I recall multiple times his looking in the mirror in wonder, saying “I still feel the same inside but I hardly recognize the person in the mirror.”
Imagine my surprise when I googled Aging Gracefully and found a site by that name established by a woman who lives in my hometown! She posts many quotes about aging, about life. Two I especially liked:
“I have resolved to live, not just endure, every season of my life.”
“I want to be so distracted by loving life that I never realize I’m growing older.”
My mother-in-law, by that time in her eighties, used to say she taught “the old people’s” Sunday School class, implying they were the old people and she was not. In my forties at that time, I found her statement so amusing. Only now do I discover “old people” are Other People, certainly not me!
My husband said I should consider titling this “Aging Awkwardly.” (I almost re-titled it “Aging Gracefully (Or Not).” Truly, that is likely a better description for what really goes on. Aging can feel like dodging landmines and sometimes actually encountering them.
A dose of healthy denial can improve outlook in one’s later years, suggests Susan Whitbourne, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and past president of the American Psychological Association’s Division on Aging. “The people who do the best with aging aren’t thinking that much about getting older. They’re not really focusing on what’s not working anymore. If you sit around mulling over the meaning of existence and how time is running is running out, you’re building a scenario where you’re not going to age as successfully,” she said.
Author Louise Hay, who died at age 90 after surviving 40 years past a diagnosis of “incurable” cervical cancer, wrote: “Know that you are the perfect age. Each year is special and precious, for you shall only live it once. Be comfortable with growing older.” Seems right to me!
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter.
Hope’s Cafe Bonus: Overnight Quinoa Pudding, a “healthy aging recipe” as printed in Eating Well Magazine, September 2020. This recipe uses kefir instead of milk for a probiotic boost and maple syrup instead of refined sugar. Prep time is minimal—just leave the mixture in the refrigerator overnight to firm up: 1 c. cooked and cooled quinoa; 3/4 c. plain kefir; 1 T. chia seeds, plus more for serving; 2 t. pure maple syrup; 1/4 t. vanilla extract; dash of ground cinnamon; fresh berries for serving. Combine quinoa, kefir, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl or jar. Refrigerate overnight. To serve, top with berries and more chia, if desired.