I don’t know about you, but these days each time I look in the morning mirror, I am struck by the changing face that stares back.

Not with a critical eye, I don’t want to form that habit, but more with curiosity.
Lines, spots, drooping, sagging, disappearing lips and lids, and forget about my neck, it looks like it is starting to belong to another person.

I have found myself leaning in to these changes.

There has been a strange sense of freedom with them that I am finding hard to describe.

I do not fear the aging process. I just find myself wondering, when did it happen? I feel like I woke up one day and aging just appeared as an unintended consequence of time.

An unintended consequence of time.

Think about that. No matter how much we think we are in control with all the things we think we are doing to stay healthy, despite our best efforts, aging happens to every single person.
There is a lightness to this as I consider it. Everyone ages. If they don’t, well, we know the answer to the alternative.

What is it we can do to make the best of it, rather than fighting a losing battle? How do we shift our thinking and feel good in the process? How can we create a positive experience for the changes and share our wisdom with other women so we spend our time lifting each other over the inevitable.

Here are a few thoughts I have recently had about my own approach to aging.

As you go about your day, use simple tasks to trigger you to pay attention to pulling your shoulders back.
Do this right now. Take a breath in and draw your shoulders back.
Isn’t it amazing how much our shoulders have begun to hunch forward? My partner and I joked about our bodies heading towards the ground.
This one tip has been making a big difference in my daily attitude.

Here are the five places I do this regularly to develop the habit of paying attention.

  • Driving
  • When I am sitting on the toilet (Too much info? Hey, we’re all sisters here)
  • Doing dishes
  • Standing in line or at the counter for anything, especially groceries.
  • At my desk while I am working

Give it a try and while you are at it, take a nice deep breath too as you pull your shoulders back and just notice how good that feels. If it makes you feel better, it is a good thing.

TAKE THE STAIRS (If you can)
The conversations with pre-retirement and post menopausal women seem to be around one floor living. Plans for moving to new places that don’t require stairs. Stairs have become the evil symbol of potential falls and all things danger for the coming of age.

My mom did this. She built a brand new house that is all first floor. Most of her movement now is flat. Not a lot of curbs, easy access, certainly no stairs anywhere in her life. 

All of this preparation when she was healthy and could do stairs, has lead to her present situation of no longer being able to do them. What came first? I don’t know.

What I do know is that when she was here visiting recently, my stairs, typical of a historic home, were like Mt. Everest to someone with minimal mobility.

There is nothing she can do about it now, except be an example for me.

Keep the stairs as long as you can.

  • You don’t have to fly up and down them, that’s what the railing is for.
  • Slow and steady, hold the railing, this helps with balance,
  • Take the stairs as frequently as you can.

No matter how many fitness classes you are signed up for, there is nothing like a good set of stairs a few times a day.

The what ifs morph into new scarier thoughts.

  • What if I fall?
  • What if something happens to my partner?
  • What if I can’t afford to live in my house anymore?
  • Have I saved enough for retirement?
  • What if I get cancer again?
  • How will I care for my aging mother and stepfather?

It is amazing to me how many times a day, these thoughts intrude into my happy place.

Negative thoughts do not serve me. They make me feel low energy and I don’t want to feel that way.

What I have been working on is using them as a reminder to replace with a new phrase that makes me feel better.
My phrase is I choose happiness.

Your phrase can be whatever you want. I know when a negative thought pops into my unsuspecting head now, I just thank it for trying to protect me and quickly say the phrase, I choose happiness.

I feel better immediately. I don’t know why this works, but who cares why, as I age, my goal is to feel good as often as possible.
I choose happiness.

I hope this helps smooth your aging bumpy road. We’re all in this together. Let’s help each other along the path.

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