Here I go again, having another birthday (didn’t I just have one a few months ago?)! My mother always said when I was a kid in the 80’s : ‘Time flies Odette, before you know it your kids are grown up and you are old!’
When my Mom was 57, she was OLD!
Now that I am 57, I am not nearly as old as she was at that age 😉
Turning 40 was a bit of a negative mental spiral – the thought process that I was no longer ‘young’ began. (I have had a warped sense of ageing – I had a crazy fear of dying caused from an illness when I was 13 years old – read that story HERE)
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The term “ageism” refers to two concepts: a socially constructed way of thinking about older persons based on negative attitudes and stereotypes about ageing and a tendency to structure society based on an assumption that everyone is young, thereby failing to respond appropriately to the real needs of older persons.
I got sucked into that mentality and it wreaked havoc on my belief system about myself.
A few years ago I participated in a Peyote ceremony (which is a sacred indigenous cactus plant found in Mexico and the ceremony was performed by the elders of the indigenous tribe) and the message for me was this;
“You are wise. You are not old. You are an Elder. Go spread your wisdom with the world.”
I can totally jam to that term ‘Wise Elder’.
So here are some Life Hacks I learned over the years and it ain’t all pretty. But that is how most lessons are learned – the hard way.
I grew up in a society that praised you for how you look, not who you are.
Hardest lesson for me this past decade was seeing my appearance change.
Conditioned by society’s pressure that all women need to be adorned with a youthful glow-forever? Most likely.
So when my skin started to change, my body shape altered, I got scared. Is this really happening to me?
During an EFT session with Coach Corby a few months ago, what was causing me such distress about ageing, is that I have body dysmorphia.
I grew up in the era of Twiggy and Kate Moss and although I was athletic and thin, I never felt like I was strong or thin enough – the list goes on and on. I always felt mediocre. I am sure some of you might resonate. (read it all HERE).
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Throw ageing into the mix and I had a blockbuster, internal shit show going on in my head.
I could feel the slow decline past the age of 45 into saggy butt syndrome and arm swing, and the only solution I could think of was to work out 8x more than what I needed to as a 30-something, and eat salad for the rest of my days. I hate vegetables.
Clearly not the ideal solution.
However, the solution was quite the opposite – continue to take care of myself, but differently.
I changed exercise routines that suited me (and that didn’t hurt), and be more gentle, loving and kind to the scared parts of me that only felt value in how I looked.
Societal pressures got the better of me until I turned 56 ½ years old.
My perspective shifted.
I did the one thing that I never thought I could do – the one thing that I fought tooth and nail every time I passed a mirror, put on a bathing suit, needed to take a selfie or get naked – alone or otherwise.
I ACCEPTED that I was getting older. I accepted myself as I am.
To be transparent – it started off as resignation that this ‘thing’ was happening whether I wanted it to or not! You gotta start somewhere!
- I turned my sadness and fear into gratitude – I GET to turn 57 (having a few friends not make it).
- I shifted my ‘no pain, no gain’ grit into grace.
- I turned my ‘I’m not good enough’ into ‘I like who I am becoming’.
- I stopped caring what others thought of me and started caring what I thought of me.
- I stopped obsessing, punishing and criticizing my less than perfect body parts and started falling in love with all of my body parts, not just the ‘good’ ones.
How do I know I am making headway with this new found acceptance of self?
I started doing IG videos with no makeup and shitty lighting!
All kidding aside (however very much true!), we hear so much about self love when what is a few steps before that (and most don’t get there) is…
So if you learn any life hack in this blog post, make it this.
- You can not change what you do not accept.
- You can not like or love what you do not accept.
- You can not have internal peace and joy if you do not accept yourself just as you are.
Signed, Your loving Wise Elder ❤️