The trend of mermaid hair aside, maturing leads us to the idea that we are supposed to “grow old gracefully.” What does that mean exactly? Try to keep looking good “for your age?” Or does it encourage fading into the background of life with age? If you are aging (or hope to age someday) how about we give the concept a makeover and change our mindset as we do?
Here comes the moment of choice: We can lament what we have lost in our “youthful beauty,” something many women either misused or didn’t even notice or acknowledge when their in their youth, or, we can step into celebration mode and live the gift of time we have in this world to the fullest, in the truest beauty—the rich full beauty of the spirit you’ve spent decades developing and deepening.
Let’s get real. By the time a woman has reached her 50’s or older, we have all faced some kind of pain or loss that brought us to our knees (emotional or physical). No one gets a life that is pain free. So now what? What about living each day, not with fireworks, but with the shining, gentle spark that is you at your richest, fullest self?
How do you do this? First, it takes a decision. What brings you downright joy or deep peace? Don’t get romantic on me here, because there will always be boundaries to set, dishes to wash, and toilets to clean. Neither are we abandoning the service and gifts we give to the world. But if you haven’t taken the time to truly live in joy, the good news that you have a shot at it right now.
It’s not only for your own gratification. Consciously and purposefully living in joy is actually a profound level of service. We are—each one of us—the butterfly effect. When you create joy in your life, you bring the reality of joy and a world of possibility to those around you. What you bring to the table of life will influence others. Don’t underestimate the importance of the way you are in your corner of the world.
Here are some questions and ideas you can ask yourself as you embark each day on the journey of being joyful, of bringing celebration to the world:
- What is one thing I can do that would make me smile today? (Hint: could it be talking to someone, or doing the thing you’ve been putting off for so long?)
- What am I grateful for about this day that I’ve never expressed gratitude for? (Hint: could it be a blossoming flower you’ve never seen before, or the nice thing someone did for you or said to you, or the way you handled a specific situation?)
- Who can I bring a smile to today?
- What action of self-care can I do with a nurturing intention? How will I receive the self-love?
- Is there an act of service that would make another’s life a little smoother? (Hint: savor the honor of being in a position to help someone else.)
- Finish this sentence: The things I celebrate in my life are…
- (Please add your ideas to this list in the comments)
Aging with joy that comes from the deepest, truest place within may be one of the most precious legacies we can leave for the generations women who are to follow in our footsteps. This is a satisfying lifetime work that brings the deepest level of real pleasure. Just start. No one is perfect. No one is “on” all the time, and that’s one of the beauties of living in gratitude and joy. It is gentle. We all have reasons and seasons to grieve, but don’t let that be an excuse to ignore the possibility and magnitude of joy. Perhaps the most direct route to joy is gratitude. It’s a gift you give yourself and a gift you give to the world. Step into your truest powers of gratitude and joy, and then live the song you are that ignites and shines into this world. Even when no one else is watching, even when no one else knows about it, you can make the choice to age gratefully and shine.