Goddesses Never Age

This is the title of Dr. Christiane Northrup's latest book. And the theme is a good one: you are only as old as you act.

My mother sets a good example of aging well. She will be 86 this year, but she doesn't let that fact slow her down. She still plays tennis with a group of women almost half her age. When her Westie died last year, she went straight to a rescue and adopted another dog in need. She has made plans to travel to England to visit her family this year. Although she has been single since my father died at the age of 39, she has always managed to do the things she loves, including many years of ballroom dance lessons and competitions. She has never been afraid of moving to a new country, a new state, a new church, a new job, or a new attitude.

Dr. Northrup suggests you forget about your calendar age altogether. Because there are many ways to stay young throughout your life.

1) Laugh. A lot. A sense of humor will carry you through some of the most difficult times of your life. And it will make the happy times even giddier. Without laughter, you are sure to age more quickly. And sadly.

2) Find pleasure. When Dr. Northrup tell us this, she is talking about sex, yes, but not only sex. Of course sex is one type of physical pleasure that can help us stay young. And she highly recommends that we continue to explore sexual pleasure and passion for our entire lives. But beyond the sexual, there are many types of physical, mental, and spiritual pleasure we can pursue. Sitting in front of a roaring fire. Petting your dog or cat or rabbit or ferret. Letting someone braid your hair. Taking a scented bubble bath. Reading a fascinating story or a beautiful poem. Walking in the woods. Listening to inspiring music. Dancing like no one is watching. The list goes on and on.

3) Surround yourself with positive people. If you've spent much time with seniors, you've probably met the ones who only discuss their diseases and their medications. This becomes their reality. If your friends and family bring you down, it's time to find a new crowd. Seek out people who laugh at your jokes, who are always up for an adventure, who make you forget your age. At our local community center, a large group of older men play basketball every Friday morning in the gym. They're yelling and running and sweating and enjoying the heck out of it! Apparently no one told them they're too old to play.

4) Try something new. For Valentines Day, I asked my husband to buy me a recorder and a book of music. I've started practicing every day. I thought the recorder might be easy enough for me, but it has already become somewhat challenging! But this is good. No matter how old you are, you can still learn new tricks. Think back to all the things that interested you as a child. Or a young adult. There is still plenty of time to develop your skills. I recently read about a yoga teacher who is over 100 years old. She began taking ballroom dance classes at 87. Now she's been dancing for over ten years and still loves it.

5) Look to the future instead of the past. As we grow older, reminiscing can become a habit. The past might look rosy and perfect while the future can appear scary or just unknown. But people who age well are always looking forward to what the future holds. They imagine the best is yet to come. And there is no reason to think otherwise!

6) Quit complaining. You always have a choice. You can put your attention on all the things that are going wrong or you can focus on all the good in your life. This is true no matter your age. Happiness is a choice. Remember the gifts and blessings in your life. Remember to be grateful.

I hope you're enjoying a happy Valentine's weekend. Stay warm in front of your cozy fireplace!