I wasn’t originally going to write about today’s topic of gifted elders. I’m not a gifted elder, I didn’t want to write about my parents, and I didn’t think I had anything to contribute to the topic. But a long conversation with several women whose opinions I deeply respect convinced me otherwise. And so here I am today, writing about gifted elders, and my hopes and plans for making it to that stage of life myself.
I’m just shy of 44 years old, and if I’m lucky I have another 40 years ahead of me. Again, if I’m lucky. There are a great number of lifestyle changes that I need to make for me to actually make it into my 80’s, and frankly I’m not feeling many of them.
I started thinking about the kind of gifted woman I wanted to be as I ease into my later years. Wise old crone came to mind. Full of things like wisdom, and peace with oneself, and the ability to give back to the world. So I decided to put together a list of things I would like to have in my life and things I would need to do to become that wise old crone, that gifted elder.
This is my list.
Exercise. Not for a bikini body (that ship sailed so long ago it rusted and sank), but for improved health. Mental, emotional, physical health.
Learn something new every day. Try something new every day. My dad has modeled that his entire life.
Everything in moderation, including moderation. You will pry my wine from my cold, dead hands.
Laugh every day. If you’re not laughing, you’re dying inside. Dude, find the humor, you’ll thank me later.
Develop something resembling a life balance, whatever works for you for self-care.
Have friends who are different from you; this can include age, generation, backgrounds, culture, and general life outlook.
Find and develop ways to give back, whether it’s in a community, an organization, or something that just touches other people.
Determine when it’s really important to give a fuck, and when it’s really not, and be sure you follow that religiously. Respect peoples’ feelings, not necessarily their opinions. Very freeing, that.
Practice active gratitude. Several years in I’m still posting my Best Things About Today. Some days I’m really digging deep to find something positive, and last year I took several months off because I just.couldn’t.do.it. But I returned and it’s one of the
Surround yourself with people and things that you love, that bring you peace and joy. Then center yourself there and live outwards.
Protect yourself from overload. And if that means that you have to cancel the cable subscription, or turn off the radio, or set boundaries around certain people, or basically become a bit of a hermit, you gotta do it. Your life is far too valuable to be sucked up into the craziness and chaos of the world. If you’re depleted you can’t give back.
So how am I doing on my list to age into that wise old woman? In some areas I’m doing really well, and in others I just really really suck. That’s pretty par for the course with anything in my life, because you know, I’m human. Of course I’m going to improve things like exercise, eating better, reducing stress in my life, and improving life balance and self-care. I’m not perfect, of course not, but if I want to make it to wise old crone status, I’m sure as hell going to have to improve some things in my life or I’m just not going to have the physical ability to be there. I want to be a woman who can lift heavy equipment if necessary, chase my grandchildren, who can do what is needed and necessary when it is needed and necessary. And the only way I can do that is by getting the practice in now. Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes better. And that’s all I can hope to do, get better at the skills that I will need to age well.
That’s all I really want.
Today’s post is part of August’s Hoagie’s Gifted Education blog hop, on the topic of gifted elders. There are other writers posting on this topic who are far more eloquent than I, and I highly encourage you to go read their thoughts on the topic.