In your early life, you are nurtured and protected. You don’t have a worry in the world. Eating, sleeping, playing, growing, and attention-seeking are your main preoccupations.
In your teens, you are in discovery mode, learning about the world and about yourself; you are more inward-looking and insecure; no one seems to understand you.
In your 20s, you feel invincible, you are roaring and raring to go; the world cannot go fast enough; you cannot get old quick enough and speed is of the essence.
In your 30s, reason and reality start to set; you ‘settle down’, start to raise a family and settle in your career.
In your 40s you are at the top of your game – you are trail-blazing; you have all of the answers (although no none is listening); it’s a fight, flight and a great journey.
In your 50s, you still feel ‘young’ and optimistic; there is still some light to be seen through your rose-coloured glasses; you can still change the world.
In your 60s, you finally ‘get it’, that you are mortal, and that life comes to an end. Or it just starts again?
Through all of these ‘growing-up’ and ‘discovery’ stages, the key is to age gracefully.
Here are some tips and tricks to help us to age gracefully. Focus on the spelling of the word GRACEFULLY, so you may always remember them:
G – GIVE
We have spent most of your lives getting, receiving and taking – getting love and nurturing from friends, family and loved ones; constantly taking in food, air and oxygen every minute, every day and every year of our lives; receiving recognition, praise, gifts and more. But it is even more important to give – give life, give of yourself. For it is in GIVING, that we truly receive.
R – READ
Read broadly. Read widely. Read outside of your subject area or discipline. By reading, you’ll never stop learning; you will always stay fresh, interesting, exciting, educated, inquisitive, entertaining. After all, who wants to ‘hang out’ with a boring, uninteresting person?
A – ATTITUDE
Attitude is everything. You cannot choose your circumstances, but you can choose your responses to them. You can CHOOSE to be a happy. You can even choose to be young. You can choose to be a fun-loving and exciting person. Or, you can choose to be old. Yes, ageing and agelessness are choices that we make. It is said that age is a number; but age is also an attitude. Cultivate the right attitude and you will age gracefully.
C – CARE
Caring is an important attribute of agelessness. Care about yourself and your family. But also care about those in need of food, clothing, shelter, love and care. Care about your environment. Care about what goes into your body. Care beyond boundaries. Care about the problems in the world. Engage with the issues and help to find solutions. Offer your services. Volunteer.
E – EXERCISE
Move! Yes, Move. Movement is key. As you age, the adage ‘use it or lose it’, is very real. Move all parts of you – exercise your body, your mind and your soul. Exercise daily and exercise consciously. Exercise alone, together or in a group. Just do it! Also, EAT healthy.
F – FORGIVE
We need to forgive our own trespasses. And we need to forgive those who trespass against us. The baggage that we carry around throughout our lives – the hate, the resentment, the ill will, the regrets, the loathing, the envy – weighs us down tremendously. Forgive those who have done us harm and those who continue to do us harm. This is one of the most effective ways of lightening your load/worries/anguish/pain. Try forgiveness, you may just like it.
U – UPLIFT
Uplift, Elevate and Leve yourself and others. Happiness breeds kindness. Be happy, be confident and be kind to yourself. Recognise and elevate others’ talents, beauty, accomplishments and achievements. Recognise your own good fortunes (to be alive, born in the Caribbean, have parents, have limbs, educated, talented). Be confident. Be a force for Unity. Uplift yourself and others with you.
L – LOVE
Love. Love. Love. Love unconditionally. As a human being, you need to embody love; your presence should speak love; you need to be, and to give the love, that you so crave; give and receive love with grace and with dignity.
L – LIVE
Live life to the fullest. Today. Now. Live in the moment. Live the moment. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow may never come!
Y – YOU
Focus on YOU. Love YOU; take care of YOU. Yes, be selfish. Because it is in loving you, and looking after you, that you will be able and capable to love and to care for others.
Do these GRACEFULLY so that when you encounter others: they will see love, beauty, fun, excitement, passion, empathy and love. Age will just not matter. It will just be a number.
What are your own suggestions for ageing gracefully? We would love to hear them. Engage with us.
Dr. Auliana Poon
Dr. Auliana Poon is the founder and Managing Director of Leve Global and Exceptional Caribbean.
Auliana loves the Caribbean and believes in its people. Her personal mission is to change the world; to transform our societies. And this is precisely why she has spearheaded Exceptional Caribbean – a continuing mission to elevate tourism, trade and lives.