Friday, November 21, 2014

Grateful for Aging

An aging flower still has beauty. Photo by Theen Moy.
When I decided to study gerontology five years ago, my intent was to combat aging as a formidable foe.  After 20-30 hours a week focused on the topic of aging, I'm often grateful to be getting older.

This post is part of a Midlife Boulevard blog hop. The thumbnails below will disappear after a while, so I'm saving a handful for future reference. Enjoy! 


This Thanksgiving season gives me occasion to explain what I mean.  Let me list the blessings of aging:


I am grateful for four decades plus of experience, which have brought me expertise in a couple of vocations as well as insight from observing myself and many around me.

I am grateful for making the age-related switch from stockpiling information to synthesizing and analyzing that information judiciously based on experience.

I am still grateful that I am still learning more things! I just have more pointed reasons for "uploading content" to my brain.

I am grateful for arthritis that reminds me that I am still alive and that I can still move enough to address the arthritis and enough to improve other body systems: cardiovascular, digestive, neurological.

I am grateful for a torn piriformis muscle in my right groin because it encourages me to have greater body awareness. I was never very athletic until midlife, and having to manage my limitations actually helped me to exceed them in some ways.

I am thankful that a slowing metabolism has encouraged  me to lift weights and join a gym.

Even though my figure is much changed from my twenties, I feel more positive about my body because I am spending more time on fitness, trying new activities, and making new friends at the gym.

I am grateful for hypoglycemia because it encouraged me to learn more about healthy eating.

I am grateful that aging skin and hair invite me to focus more on character than appearance.

I am grateful that the aging bodies of people around me encourages me to broaden my definition of physical attraction.

I am grateful for the losses accrued more rapidly as we age because they invite transcendence and spiritual growth.

I am grateful that I have more friends of diverse age now than any other time in my life: toddlers, teens, young adults, midlife adults, and late life adults.  They all offer me insight about our shared experience as members of the human race.

I am grateful for mortality because it forces me to set priorities and embrace the people, projects and things that are most valuable to me.

All my best to you during this Thanksgiving season.  I am also thankful for social media that allows me to connect with people all over the English-speaking world so that we can talk about how to meet the challenges of aging so that we can experience the joys.

Related:

My Oft-requested Cranberry Salsa Recipe
Aging: Fight, Resign or Embrace

This post is part of a Midlife Boulevard blog hop. Please look at some of the posts linked below.



18 comments:

  1. Hi Karen! What a great list to be grateful for because a lot of people might not see the blessing in these--but as you say, when you are surrounded with others older than yourself AND seen what so many of us go through, you realize that every single day is a gift and that there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. ~Kathy

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    1. Always! I am happier when I remember to look for the positive. Thanks for your comment.

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  2. A very interesting list. I love how you think.

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    1. Thanks for coming over to my blog again. You are very kind to visit and comment.

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  3. Thanks for the reminder to embrace the aging process. Today instead of grumbling I will try to feel grateful that my achy, breaky body still works!

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  4. I'm with you on this.Aging is a privilege denied to many. We're lucky!

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  5. Karen you certainly are a Glass Half Full kinda gal. To be grateful for arthritis -- most impressive.

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    1. I try to reconceptualize pain to be something else as a way of coping without liver-damaging pain meds. So I tell myself that pain in my hips and knees are like personal trainers goading me to get to the gym to walk or practice yoga. And pain is a signal that I am still alive. I also have a high threshold for pain anyway (I delivered my babies without meds, and I once sliced off a bit of my thumb while cutting carrots and didn't even think about taking anything for the pain until 12 hours later when trying to sleep was hampered by the throbbing.) And I even with pain I can still move, and many others have serious limits to their mobility. All my best to you with whatever you have to manage. Hugs!

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    2. And your upbeat response just proves my point. You have a terrific attitude.

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  6. This is wonderful, Karen. Positivity at its best. THIS is how I feel: "I am still grateful that I am still learning more things! I just have more pointed reasons for "uploading content" to my brain." Yes, yes, yes.

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  7. I love, love, love your approach and so glad to see you not only embracing life but finding reasons for others to do the same AND encouraging us all to do so!!! Rocking it as usual Karen!

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  8. I love this whole list. It always amazes me when people complain about aging. since there's only one alternative, and I don't think it's one they would choose.

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  9. I love your list too! You have a beautiful positive attitude!

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  10. Every time I get upset over silly things, I always think how bad-off other people are that can't even afford to buy food or pay rent, and have huge problems. That usually works and I stop my whining and complaining about nonsense. Great post....nice reminder to be grateful for everything...even the aches and pains of daily life!

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  11. Yes there are many perks to aging well and becoming wise. I love the experience and graceful, calming parts of it. I love it, well everything except for that pesky slowing metabolism!

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  12. Great post! I love your positive view! It's a perfect reminder to embrace life and it's challenges.

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