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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

a damn good perspective on aging

 

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I was listening to Jane Fonda’s views on aging and I had the most unexpected reaction.

I actually thought, “Wow, why didn’t I think of that?”

She was discussing the two metaphors for aging that she’s written about in her new book, Prime Time.  In it she draws on research, personal stories and her own life lessons to present a powerful case for living the best years of our lives after midlife.

And she challenged the typical metaphor that most of us use to describe the aging process.

She calls it the Arch. It goes like this.

We’re born, we’re fantastically young, we ride the age wave up-up-up until we peak.  And then it’s basically downhill from there. Until we die of course.  But that’s way after we peak so we’ve got lots of esoteric sinking to do before that happens.

That’s the Arch, a fairly glum, overly simplistic way to view our lives.

 

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But according to Jane, there’s a far more accurate way to describe our journey through life by using the metaphor of a staircase.

Yes, it’s true our physical bodies are declining but in all the ways that matter ---our hearts, our soul, our wisdom, our spirits--we are continuing to ascend, to grow and to expand ourselves.

It is through this process of growing older that we have a chance to become the person we were meant to be.

…to move closer toward wholeness and peace.

 

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I like to think of it this way:

Everything you’ve experienced in your life so far has prepared you for what’s next.

 

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Now it’s up to you to ask yourself the important questions that matter today; the ones that will keep you ascending upwards toward your potential.

 

“Am I growing as a person?

“What do I still dream of becoming?”

And what’s stopping me?” 

 

Whether you’re in your thirties or your sixties as you read this post

I think our perspective on growing older is the big game changer.

 

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To hear Jane in her own words click here:

 

Any thoughts?

xo

Leslie

 

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15 comments:

Karen said...

Leslie,
I truly love Jane's perspective. As I've aged I've found that there are some people that can make you feel marginalized, but it's up to us to be confident and comfortable in our own skins. There's so much benefit to knowing some stuff about life at this age! Thanks for always helping us see the brighter side to life's issues.
xo,
Karen

michele said...

i agree fully about the wholeness thing. God has been speaking to me for some time about wholeness. i wrote a poem about it in hawaii back in jan that i'll share someday. and i love thomas merton's ideas about 'hidden wholeness' and brene brown's 'wholeheartedness.' for me, as i get older i need to actually re-learn things that came naturallly to me in childhood. it's not so much becoming someone different and new as shedding baggage to reveal the beloved child of God i have always been. thanks for encouraging this line of thought, leslie!

Calypso In The Country said...

It's so inspiring to think this way. So true that we are changing all the time and building on what we have learned through life. Having said that...I had my first official hot flash last night...I guess we will have those reminders that we are aging - lol!
Shelley

Sarah said...

Leslie, I'm learning with each new year that life gets better and better. Yes, the body isn't as spry as it once was, but the joy in my life continues to grow. My husband and I will soon celebrate 40 years together. I recently put together a photo book of us through the years that I'll give him for our anniversary. Wow, was it ever fun to look over the years of life together and dream about spending more years with with man I love.
I have to totally agree with Jane on this.

Art and Sand said...

I have often thought that youth is wasted on the young. My middle school students were so intent in their desire to look and act older. They were in such a hurry to be older that they didn't enjoy the simple joys of being a child.

I actually love who and what I am now. Of course, I wish my hand didn't hurt like the dickens most days and that I didn't have such wrinkles - they really showed up in the photographs of Josh's wedding!

I am content to slowly ride my bicycle, leisurely pedal my kayak, stroll along the beach and sit if I feel like it. I think my favorite benefit of aging the the leisure to do it all or do absolutely nothing. And all at my own pace.

Heather Lindstrom said...

I love this perspective on the cycle of life, Leslie. I'm now curious about Jane Fonda's new book. I definitely agree that in so many ways we are still ascending, rather than declining, in our lives. That's one reason I'm truly enjoying my 50's. I feel inspired and enthusiastic to continue challenging myself-learning and growing. There is so much wisdom that comes from living life. Great post! I loved seeing all your fresh navy and white in the previous post-so pretty!
Have a wonderful weekend!
xx

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This post sure spoke to me, Leslie! I must admit, I often looked at life as a hill on which my life would peak and then decline. How much better to look at life as a constant preparation for the next step up to wholeness. This is a profound mind shift for me, and I thank you for sharing it!
I love Jane Fonda's show on Netflix...Frankie and Grace...so funny, yet deep, too.

sharon smith said...

The older I get, I actually feel better! Mentally, emotionally, and physically. Happier to be alive now more than ever. Confidence is at an all time high, and failure may happen, but it doesn't matter. Doing matters. Doing whatever it is that inspires you.
Sharon

Veronica Roth said...

Well then, one either has a positive attitude or one doesn't. :D And, you can have that positive or not attitude at any age. Nice job.

Marsha Splenderosa said...

I think Jane Fonda is brilliant. Brilliant, beautiful & relavent. Remaining relavent is so important, as we age we think often of becoming boring, not interesting, our time has past, etc. She has proven this wrong and along with that she has become even more beautiful.

Cindy Hattersley said...

Love that metapho, and I love her. She acknowledges she has made mistakes and celebrates her age. Great post Leslie! I am in a thought provoking mide as I recovered from a hip replacement and am now caring for my very ill mother..life does get interesting with age...

Blondie's Journal said...

This is a very uplifting post, Leslie, and I totally agree with what many women are saying along with Jane Fonda. But I have my opinions as always. We speak of and debate facial/body serums and lotions and potions...we talk diets and Botox and surgery. We keep our bodies fit with exercise and diet. Or don't.

On the somewhat sullen side, I read a book (and I know this comes as a downer). It was called How We Die. I no longer have the book but it truly hit me in the gut that no matter what we do, our inner organs age and give out slowly and we truly do die of 'old age'. And this is the physiological part of that 'descending of the mountain' whether we like it or not.

That said---hell---do what you want to do...stay healthy, look fantastic but most of all-LIVE!

Jane x

Catherine Robinson said...

I like the way she thinks, Leslie...I love hearing positive thoughts and new perspectives from older women it's inspiring!
I think it's about being happy with 'where and who we are now' and if we're not to 'take a look in the mirror and change it' with age we see things with a little more clarity it's up to us to learn, be aware and learn the grace of self acceptance...the only trouble is life goes by so quickly doesn't it? Thank you for your wisdom xx

Lori said...

I love Master Class and I did see her episode. Funny ~ today one of the "youngsters" at work had a wise little message on FB ~ I chimed in with you must also be happy with yourself before you can ever be happy with someone else. Never leave your happiness in someone else's hands xo

karen@somewhatquirky said...

Yes. A staircase. Perfect. Every time you write about aging or refer to another post about aging, I think I am going to gather all my thoughts and write some incredibly insightful comment that proves how remarkably wise I am. But the topic is so big and broad and I can't seem to get my mind to settle in the issue for long enough to compile my thoughts. Guess I can' be that wise (yet) can I????

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