While my mother imparted many valuable lessons throughout her lifetime, embracing the aging process was not one of them. I must admit she was not the ideal role model on this subject. Now, at 71 years of age, I find myself navigating this uncharted territory with friends, peers, and family. Like everything else in life, aging is a journey and a learning process. If we approach it without an open and positive mindset, we risk missing out on much of the beauty and joy that this important phase of life has to offer.
I hold no resentment towards my mother for her perspective on aging or her lack of truthfulness about it. Many women of her generation refrained from discussing such matters openly. When she did broach the subject of growing older, it was often in a fatalistic manner, resigning to the inevitability of aging with a sense of helplessness.“Oh, there’s nothing I can do about it, this is just the way things are.”
For those of us who did not receive guidance on embracing aging from our mothers, I’ve compiled six important aspects of getting older that my mother never discussed with me.
- Movement and Exercise: She never told me that maintaining strength and flexibility through a stretching or exercise routine is even more important as we age. My mother was not one for exercise. In fact, the only time I saw her exercise was once when she rode a bike with a cigarette precariously perched in her mouth.
- Incontinence: She did not tell me that women often lose bladder control and that it is a normal part of aging. Maybe that wasn’t the case for her, but I am sure it was for many of her friends. I’ve peed my pants more times in maturity, than when I was a toddler. But, there are so many solutions that can help women with this issue. I did not know that.
- Sex and Intimacy: I never discussed sex with my mother or issues of intimacy. I didn’t know that as we age, intercourse may become difficult or even painful, but it doesn’t have to be, especially with today’s medical advancements. Yep, even my girlfriends don’t like to discuss this one. But it is so important to keep this dialogue open so we can learn from one another.
- Planning for Death: I never discussed estate planning with my mother. She did share that information with my two older sisters, but that wisdom was never imparted to me. Many siblings stopped speaking during the resolution of their parent’s estate, which was the case in my family as well. Who knew how hard it would be to be an executor?
- Mature Skin: My mother had beautiful skin, but I never really saw her taking care of it. She shared makeup tips with me, but never a skincare routine. Later in life, I learned that mature skin needs special skin care products and a consistent skincare routine. I am not sure she ever had a facial.
- Life Purpose: As long as I can remember my mother said she was too old to start anything new. The end of her life lacked purpose and was spent at home with her husband, with the television blasting news all day. She obviously couldn’t share what she didn’t know. In contrast, my father learned to play an instrument, became a gifted sculptor, and took walks every day until he died at age 93. I looked to him as the perfect model for jubilant and creative aging. In fact, the word for retirement in Spanish is Jubilación. Finding a new life purpose will keep us young and happy.
According to the 2020 Census, the demographic of individuals aged 65 and above in the United States experienced a growth rate nearly five times higher than the overall population from 1920 to 2020.
Now, more than ever, it’s time to rethink how we age differently than the way our mothers taught us. We can be role models for our daughters and granddaughters by embracing aging with joy and purpose. Let’s continue to have an open dialogue about the challenges, and the opportunities that come with aging.
To further this conversation, I’m excited to invite you to an upcoming Women’s Summit on Embracing Aging with Joy and Purpose. This summit, held on Zoom on November 4, 2023, from 9 AM to 1:00 PM PDT, will address these topics and more, providing a platform for learning and growth. I’ve assembled an engaging panel of experts who will be available to answer your questions on many of the subjects I write about.
Let’s come together, learn from each other, and embrace this beautiful journey of aging with a new understanding and attitude.
The cost for the entire summit is $99 and goes up to $149 on October 18th. The first 30 attendees to sign up, will be entered in a drawing to win several exciting prizes, including a private session with one of our experts and a 90-minute life or spiritual coaching session with me.
Please help me get the word out by sharing this with all the women you know.
Sign up here https://AgingJoyfully.eventbrite.com or scan the code in the flier below.
Life, Relationship, and Spiritual Coach