Monday, March 18, 2013

Aging with Grace

Gracie wisdom = bolded quotes

"I am just grateful to be here!"

I have a mentor for longevity in my life.  Her name is Gracie. Without revealing how old she actually is, lets just say she continues to thrive well past the age of retirement.  Gracie exercises regularly, works part time at a job she loves (with me!) and travels whenever she can.  Recent trips have included Africa, Australia, and Sweden.  I have the privilege to pilgrimage with her every summer to Santa Fe, New Mexico where we take in continuing education and beautiful art and opera together.  It gives me a close-up opportunity to see Gracie in action.  She perpetually inspires me.

"Once you get to a certain age it is all about maintenance."

The Gracies of the world make sure to include some form of physical exercise, brain challenge, and social connection into their daily lives. It is no great shock that psychologists have found that a positive belief system about aging has a strong influence on your quality of life as you age.

Recent shifts in longevity research are encouraging.  It appears that brain cell development continues to occur throughout our life.  In other words, we can continue to learn new tricks! Taking time to master changing technology, for example, is good for us.  I was intimidated about blogging until I met an 80 something-year-old writer at a conference who told me that was silly.  She not only maintained a blog, she was on Facebook, and Twitter!  I decided to get over myself, and I am glad I did.

"Pedicures are not about vanity- have you ever seen an old person's feet?"

This revelation actually got my husband to try his first pedicure.  Healthy aging necessitates self care from the inside out.  Attending to the little things in life keep them little. Gracie is a long time cancer survivor because of early detection.We need to make sure to get the screenings necessary to keep ourselves ahead of illness.

Do not procrastinate: Recommended screenings for women.

Also-take care of your feet.  They will take you places.

"Allow more time to do anything."

It is not that aging prevents us from doing things, it just may take us longer to do it.  A fixed belief that we have control over our physical and cognitive health is associated with decreased anxiety and depression in aging.  Anxiety and depression are notorious for isolating us from pleasurable activities.  Many older adults get frustrated and give up things that used to bring them joy rather than adjusting their expectations.

Gardening for eight hours might take too much of a toll on an older body, but the same activity spread out in smaller segments across the week is an adaptation that will still bring fulfillment. 

"Its never too late to find love."

Do you remember Thumper in Bambi? Last year in Santa Fe Gracie was twitterpated.  She could not stop talking about this man who called her "fetching" and asked her out in the grocery store. Both of them were looking for ingredients for dinner that night,  neither of them were looking for love. This is a new chapter in their personal stories about life after loss, both had long term marriage before their spouses died.

According to David Myers (Pursuit of Happiness, 1993), "those who enjoy close relationships eat better, exercise more and smoke and drink less. Perhaps, a supportive network helps us evaluate and overcome stressful events."

Will the new love in her life help Gracie's longevity? I am not sure, but she certainly is having some great fun with this unexpected surprise!

Please leave a comment:
Who is your "Gracie "and what wisdom has she shared with you?


  1. Love this! I am lucky to have many "Gracies" in my life, but one of them definitely would be my ex-stepmother Rosemary, who has been a dear friend for so many years now. She is always striving to learn and do new things. In fact, now that her son is married, she is determined to move to a new town and start a whole new life. I find that so exciting! Can't wait to visit her. :)

    1. You are very lucky to have many "Gracies"! If I remember correctly you have even traveled to far away places with Rosemary. Glad you liked the post- thanks for sharing wisdom :)

  2. When I go for my personal maintenance appointments, I think of a gift my friend cross-stitched for a special birthday years ago. The wall plaque says,"After 40,it's patch,patch,patch." I smile whenever I see it on my office wall. Many cars today can easily pass the 100,000 miles test. I'd like to think with attention to our own health, many of us could achieve the human equivalent in added years, not miles.

  3. Although I suspect I'm pretty near Gracie's age, I also have a Gracie in my life. I don't know exactly how old my friend Rose is--she won't tell and I don't ask--but the fact she has a fifty-something son gives me a pretty good idea. She is amazing. SHE talked ME into joining a pilates class and I struggle to keep up with her. She also gives me a good run for my money on the tennis court, and she is my go-to fashion advisor, as she keeps up with all the latest styles.
    I laughed when I saw Gracie's comment about maintenance. Not long ago I announced to some friends that my beauty routine had downgraded to upkeep.
    Very enjoyable and inspiring post, Lisa!

  4. My mother, 87 as of last week, is Grace-like. A few years back, when complimented about how good she looked just days after open-heart surgery, she responded: "Of course I look good - I got up, got dressed, combed my hair and put make-up on." And that's how she rolls. As a retired nurse - one who spent years in geriatrics and hospice - she maintains that having a positive attitude is a decision we make and that decision dictates the quality of our lives.Love that woman!