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How to Accept Aging Gracefully?

“Growing old is a gift; aging is a son of a bitch” ~Anonymous

A few years ago, I heard a woman say this. It most certainly made sense to me as, unfortunately, my grandmother (Nana) and mom did not make it to old age; in fact, they both died before they were sixty-one years old.

Today, I am grateful to be alive and to be able to experience all stages of life, including the good, the bad, and the gray (hair or loss of it)). I came to believe that aging is a natural process that happens to all of us. Still, I would appreciate a little slower pace, but there’s not much I can do about it. So, how do I accept it? I like to think of it as more time I’ll get to learn and grow – never stop learning, growing and trying to remain as curious as a child yet be responsible. Its a balancing act.

Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way on ways to age gracefully:

  1. Live for today; stay in the moment
  2. Forgive yourself and others
  3. Find humor and laugh at yourself
  4. Stay curious
  5. Be flexible in body, mind, and spirit
  6. Meditate
  7. Be grateful
  8. Take the medication your doctor has been urging you to do (ex., I finally conceded and am now taking gabapentin daily for nerve pain. Guess what? It’s working!)
  9. Take your time in the kitchen, and start cooking for pleasure instead of something to get done off your to-do list
  10. Walk daily, at least a little bit

Walking is a way to breathe in fresh air and get our hearts beating healthily. Unfortunately, right now, with my knee issues, I cannot go for walks. I grew up in a neighborhood with a sizeable Asian community, people from India, Korea, the Philippines, and China.

I always found my Indian neighbors so interesting as each night, just before dusk, families upon families would be walking around our neighborhood. According to Hindustan Times, “The practice is known as Shatapavali or 100 steps, an age-old Indian custom which encourages one to take a stroll post meal for enjoying a range of benefits be it weight loss, preventing blood sugar spikes, managing hypertension or preventing acidity and bloating,”.

Coping with the aging process

Coping with the aging process is an understatement! It certainly takes me a little longer to get moving in the morning because I need to stretch my tired muscles and get my old bones to stop creaking! A promising sign I’m settling down because if I can get to bed by eleven, it’s a wonderful evening.

At this point in the game, gray hairs are growing in places I do not even see anymore. However, if I fight it, my days are more challenging to deal with. I either struggle and be miserable or surrender to win and accept it as part of my life’s journey. Here are some more tips on how to cope with aging:

Laugh at Yourself

Life’s too short to take everything seriously, embrace your age— the good, the bad, and yes, even the ugly. A good laugh at your own expense can lighten up any day.

Stay Positive

A positive outlook can work wonders as you navigate the aging process. Getting older doesn’t signify the end; there are still countless experiences to enjoy and moments to look forward to.

Get Active

Exercise is vital to maintaining your health. Whether it’s a brisk walk, yoga, or strength training, staying active boosts your strength, flexibility, balance, and overall well-being.

Eat Healthy

Nourishing your body with healthy foods helps you maintain a healthy weight, keep your energy up, and improve your overall health. Eating well benefits not only your body but also your mind.

Stay Social

Connections matter. Keeping in touch with friends and loved ones helps you feel young at heart and full of life. Don’t let age stop you from enjoying the company of those who matter to you.

Do What You Love

Make time for activities that bring you joy. Whether it’s a hobby, a new class, a walk in the park, or simply reading a good book, doing what you love every day fosters happiness and fulfillment.

Be Accepting

Aging is a natural part of life, and there’s no merit in fighting it. Instead, focus on making the most of the moments ahead, cherishing the time you have.

Remember, do not compare yourself to others because someone else may look younger or be in better shape, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing well for your age. Everyone ages differently, so focus on being the best YOU that you can be. And consider the flip side of that, too – just because someone is older than you doesn’t mean they are necessarily wiser or more experienced.

It’s inevitable that as we age, our bodies change. Ok, so maybe I may not be able to move as easily or as quickly as I used to. My skin may not be as elastic, and my hair has officially gone grey.

Let us not forget how those of us who played hard when we were kids and in our twenties. Into my fifties, I have two worn-out shoulders, sciatica pain, and two bad knees; I have finally given up thinking that I can ever return to high-impact sports again. Yoga it is (after I nurse these injuries first, of course).

What if it’s not you aging, but your parents are showing signs of aging and need help?

What are some things you can do to make the aging process easier for your parents?

You can do many things to help your parents as they age. Some things to do might be:

  1. Talk to them about their wishes for their future.
  2. Make sure they have a valid will and advance directives in place.
  3. Help them plan for retirement.
  4. Stay involved in their lives as much as possible.
  5. Be respectful and understanding of their situation.
  6. Reach out to home care services for help.

Do not try to do it all yourself. Instead, utilize the services that will help make the transition easier for you and your parents.

Accepting how life works is the first step in overcoming the harsh reality of parents’ aging. We can be good caregivers, accept how the life cycles work in nature, be vocal about our love, know when it’s important to vent and when it is not, and most importantly, get to know them better.

How to accept aging gracefully?

In conclusion, aging gracefully involves embracing the natural process with a positive outlook, acceptance, and active engagement in a healthy lifestyle. By staying curious, flexible, and socially connected, as well as prioritizing activities that bring joy, individuals can navigate aging with dignity and fulfillment.

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