Aging gracefully. Some say it is as simple as the wrinkles you get around your eyes from smiling so much. Others say it is from knowing who you are more intimately as you grow older. I personally think the philosophy of aging with grace is different from person to person.

Aging Gracefully | Forty-Something Elsie Green 

| image courtesy of We Are Dore |

I have had the privilege of aging along side my wonderful group of girlfriends for decades, and see how differently each year affects us all for so many different reasons. Being a woman in your 40’s can mean you are raising children who are starting to become more independent, or that you have very young children who are still quite literally on your hip. It can mean you are starting to care for your own parents who are not as able to care for themselves. It can mean that you no longer have your parents to lean on. It can mean you are at the height of your career, or it can be the beginning of your second act. It is a time of flux. 

One thing it can certainly mean to be a forty-something woman, though: hormonal changes. And here I am. My body, mind and soul all changing with a vengeance. I am in that career second act phase, and my body is also working through the hormonal second act. In a word? Fun.

I see how each woman I know reacts differently at this junction, and it brings to mind a quote my mother oft recited: to each their own. Amen to that! Zero judgment to the crowd who gets a lip filler, a breast lift, a tummy tuck or a little botox here and there. I certainly am not letting my grays have their moment in the sun. Big shout out to my hair colorist.

 But my true method for aging gracefully is coming from within. Allowing myself to not feel guilty for asking for alone time. For also missing a few family moments here and there so that I can laugh until I cry with my girlfriends. For leaning into therapy. For exercising in the great outdoors. For eating a plant heavy diet. For snuggling and solving the words problems with my husband and children. Spending time with animals. Smiling.

And retinol. 

 I jokingly told Laurie Furber that I was going to title this blog post Aging Gracefully in your 40’s | The Plight of the Peri-Menopausal Woman. That rings true in so many ways. It could also be titled An Ode to the Joy of Aging. It really is such a joy to be able to grow older. And to have access to so many amazing sunscreens and retinols and serums and topical vitamin C. We have gua sha tools and dry body brushes and teeth whiteners to keep us looking young while we age. No amount of shape-shifting will keep us from actually aging, but so many practices can keep it graceful.

 I want to throw out all of the insecurities I have about myself and celebrate me for the aging beautiful mess that I am. I want to edit what I give my energy to. Embrace my full self along the way. Let my joy meet my grief in the middle and allow them to dance. That is where the magic is.

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