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Ep. 98 How To Age Gracefully

by Claudine Sweeney
October 13th 2021

Spoiler alert. You're getting older. Not something we always like to talk about and we even joke about. But aging is one of those natural processes that we humans try to deny. We cover up with make... More

This is episode 98 How to age gracefully. You're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise up and Shine podcast. Hello, welcome back listeners. Today, I have a couple questions for you. Do you feel younger than your age? Do you look forward to the next week? Do you have a sense of purpose? If so you may have already done something to add years to your life and stay younger and avoid the risk of degenerative disease. That was a mouthful, but that's the truth that add years to your life. Yes. So today we're talking about aging gracefully.

So Ashley, you're almost two decades younger than me. I don't know how often you think about this. Is this something that you think much about? Yeah, you know I do, it started a few years ago when I was taking a trauma class and one thing I learned is about emotional trauma, right? Even our thoughts and how it really affects our bodies physically. And I remember there was this little pyramid of a diagram that we were shown about trauma and a Ndele trauma and emotion and what it does to our bodies and it can actually shorten our lifespan by 20 years up to 20 years. And so that was really eye opening for me. So then now also I am 39 I'm approaching 40. I'm actually looking forward to it. There you go. And um, but I've been thinking a lot about it. I've been thinking about aging and how, how am I, how do I want to age? That's really what I've been asking myself, What do I want my forties to look like, right, who do I want to be? So, I've been looking a lot more and asking myself these questions.

So it's definitely been on my mind. I know I thought, am I having a midlife crisis? I don't even know what that looks like. I know it's the stereotype, right? The men by the sports cars, I actually really want a sports car. That's funny. That's funny. Well, I am 56, so I've got a few years on you. So definitely I am getting into touch with my limitations. So I was one of those women that I could do anything. Like my husband, I built our house like physically, we did a lot of the construction ourselves. Yes. And I could do it and move things and we moved a lot and we would do all the moving and now I'm getting in touch with my physical limitations, which is interesting. Like it's like, wow, I really can't do what I used to do and I'm okay with it. I'm okay with it. But we're also talking about aging gracefully. Like so many women fighting and I think our culture teaches us to resist it. You know, I mean it's a certain way, right? It's a billion dollar industry on skin care, Hair care, anti aging, yes care all of it regimes.

And so for me, my question I asked myself is as a christian women, where does that fall in place for me? Right? Like there's a part of me that said I would never have any kind of plastic surgery because I have two daughters and I wouldn't want them to get the message that I am not happy with what God made. So now I still can say to this day, I have not had any surgery but I am getting a little bit more open to it. I was like wow, does an eyelid lift really count as cosmetic surgery? I thought that I haven't done anything about it, but I have thought about and I thought about it and this isn't about whether that's right or wrong. We're not here to discuss that. But mentally emotionally, how can we age gracefully? Because it really starts. It's in the brain right? And our thoughts will create our emotions and our actions so we want to make sure that we address this with our brains and with our minds and our thoughts, you know, as we dive into this. I want to share something funny in a conversation I had with someone who's older and I asked, you know how they feel.

I said, we're going to talk about this topic about aging gracefully And it was so funny because she said, You know, you feel 30 and you look into the mirror and see your mom. Yes. Oh, so true. Yeah. I still see my mom now too. It's so funny you say that because a week ago I saw some pictures. I'm like, man, I'm starting to look like my mom, which my mom was a beautiful woman. So, so I'm grateful for that. But it's so true. I still feel like I'm 35 and I got really acquainted or I don't know what the word is, but I got in full touch with the fact that I'm not 35 with my recent master closet renovation and he worked on that for almost a week and my body hurting and it just happened. Yes. And constructing towers and drawers. I was tired just by hearing the stories. I know what 20 years ago we could do these kind of things and it was no big deal. And I was like, you hire the young people. Yeah. Well I did get my senses and did hire someone for four hours to finish the assembly because I was too tired.

But anyway, so aging gracefully. So one definition of aging is the accumulation of damage to ourselves, a process which starts as young as the age of 24 who would have thought 24 like my Children. I don't even have any Children as young as 24. So I guess all my Children are aging, Which is interesting because my 28 year old daughter usually don't get real specific about my Children here. But going to this one, she has on a prescriptive skincare regime At 28, which I thought was interesting. Like I'm not even opinion. She doesn't need it. Oh no, she doesn't need it. But she said it's preventative mom. We start now. And I thought, well that's interesting. And she didn't even know we were talking about this topic and I just thought it was interesting. Like at 28 I wasn't even thinking about my skin care. I thought it would always look great with the collagen in our skin. I don't know. She's some retinol project. I have heard retinol. Yeah, I got original serum that was a little pricey, not super super pricey, but from the store and I have yet to notice any of my dark spots.

You know, sun spots fading. Yeah, they're Still there. Her skin was glowing. But she is 28 like preventative isn't that block to isn't some blocks preventative on which I was not good. You know, neither was I growing up on the coast, we wanted to tan. So who's going to put some block on and some people would put baby. That was me baby oil. I'm like, oh my goodness, the damage I've done slathered and accept it. But the one thing I did do it 15, I must have read an article and glamorous something and it said, you should never go out in the sun without your sunglasses. So for 40 plus years I've been wearing my sunglasses in the sun and I do believe that helps because I don't ever squint. I'm not in the outdoors squinting. So I do believe that it's funny. You know, my beliefs that I made up, I did not hear this anywhere. I just totally came up with it. People who wear hats are nerds, oh, they look kind of geeky. I'm not going to wear a hat. So I did not wear a hat and I'm wearing hats now I'm going to tell you, but luckily they make cute ones.

So it was not true guys, if anybody out there listens and whereas I had, it's not true. It was just in my own head. I don't like how it looks. Yeah, I didn't like how I, I still don't wear hats unless I'm in Mexico, but then they fly off my head. But I think part of it is, you know, considering aging gracefully is adapting to change. It's okay to change Certain things that are going to be for our, the betterment of our health, right? Yeah. But it can be hard to do. So true, that is part of aging gracefully is accepting change, right? There's so many changes and when we resist we create that inner turmoil. And one thing I noticed too was that uh in our church, you know, I've noticed that the women that are older, I've noticed this the last few decades I noticed that they looked really young, younger in comparison to the women that were unchurched, which I thought was really strange. But now that you and I are coaches and we've done all this research and studying, I really get how much our minds, our thoughts and our emotions have to do with it.

And you and I demonstrated our workshop that emotions, if we have negative emotions, it affects our body one way and positive emotions are different. And so I have a strong belief that letting go of bitterness and resentment forgiveness, all those things help us look younger. I really believe that I don't know if there's been any research done to prove this, but I've just seen it and I see women that are joyful and grateful and hopeful and they age differently that and probably no smoking and no excessive drinking. I'm sure those help too. But living the good life. But I really do believe those emotional, those heavy negative quote unquote emotions age us. That's my belief. Well, that's actually what I found in my research on this topic is it does the emotions can, you know, it's stress, right? I mean, carrying negative emotions, you know, like bitterness, resentment, especially for years and years, those undead out emotions are in ourselves.

You know, they affect ourselves and so, and it can increase risk for different diseases, cancers. It puts us at higher risk in general in our health. And so it's really important. That's why we talk about this. But that's part of why we went into coaching because there was such a wealth of information and very few people had it and we thought, gosh, we have transformed our lives with coaching. And so we want to do what we can to spread the word to others and to walk with other women to help them reach this point. Right? And two. And like you said, it is, there's so much mind work, it involves with aging gracefully. And when you brought up this topic actually, I was like, well, it makes sense. You are the older one, right? And I thought, how can I relate to this? But it's very true. Like you said, it starts so young when I start degenerating. But the good news is that things can be reversible too. Especially with our emotions. Our mindsets, the beliefs we hold that do not serve us, They can change and we can change them and we can change for the better and really be crucial to our health.

Physical health. When I learned that my emotions when my thoughts, my emotions really have such a strong hold on my physical health. I was just blown away because I never learned that, right? And so I'm like, I'm going to do whatever I can because I want to live a long healthy life, right? And I've always thought, I don't want to be this 80, 90 year old woman and bedridden or can't move or grumpy because I did actually, that was one of my young immature believes that I thought when women get old, they're just set in their ways and mean and grumpy. I don't want to be that kind of person. But I thought that's just what happens when you get old. And it doesn't have to be that way, right? Aging gracefully is all about adjusting to the changes, accepting the natural process of life, right? And living your best life despite it, despite how you look, you know, and be happy and confident and enjoy the life that you have. Yeah, that's absolutely and I wish I had learned all these things in my 30's.

But I didn't, you know? And so that's why ways. Yeah. Well, we were just talking about it. We're doing it. But the information you have now, I didn't have 20 years ago, but I did have biblical principles. I understood not to have resentment and bitterness and to work out my relationships, you know? So I think in that unknowingly I was already doing the very practical, that help and obviously the physical things of not smoking and not drinking excessively um eating well, yeah, yes, yes, all those things are obvious, definitely, nutrition huge. I mean I think about 15 years ago my husband, I started eating more organic and lot more veggies. I definitely tend, I was a big card person. Pretzels bread, I love bread, I can eat bread all day long, so I don't keep it in the house because I will eat it all day long, but I don't feel my best and I don't look my best when I feed my body that so those are some of the practical, but really for us as coaches is really helping people even figure out what their purpose is if they don't know because that's a huge part reducing our risk for disease and for aging gracefully.

And the other part that that goes with is there's some research done that part of aging gracefully involves achieving the ego integrity stage sounds so fancy, but it really means do we understand the purpose and meaning of our lives and if we do then we can deal with challenges more effectively and can adapt to change more easily. But a lot of women don't know, especially those I'm in in the empty nester stage, so many women, their Children were their purpose and now they're grown up and they're out of the house and now what that's a big now, what this is where marriages can start to crumble, this is where we start having thoughts of like, well what's my life about now, I got out of, you know, my whole life for for me personally, for like 25 years was Children cooking, cleaning sports, you know the day and day out responsibilities of raising Children and so when that's gone, that's a big hole and if we don't have a significant purpose or meaning to our life it can spell disaster.

Yeah, I know that makes sense. I mean I've thought about that as well because I've shared openly here that my marriage has had a lot of challenges. We've had good times, but we've also had a lot of challenges, especially once we had kids that was really to balance marriage and kids and I've explained it to someone before, what's it like having kids? Well when you're at your most stressed and then try to work together with the other person who was also at their more stress then that's that's tricky. Yeah, that's how I would explain it. But to balance things and also that's why I and my coaching practice, I focus on self care and wellness for the mom, right? Because I have been there, I felt overwhelmed, I felt burned out. I felt, I saw myself going down that road as you described when the kids are out of the house now, what's going to happen the whole being is the kids, it's the kids, my husband, I barely would find time together and the kids whenever we try to and we planned, okay we're going to spend time like watch a movie tonight for whatever reason, that was the night the kids decide they can't go to sleep.

So then we were spending an extra hour doing bedtime and then we're tired and we're frustrated because now we didn't get to spend our time together and then we just kind of stopped trying. I was like, well I guess we have to wait until the kids are older, right? And then they're more independent and and so we kind of waited for circumstances to change. Well then now maybe we'll have a better run at our marriage now we'll actually get to go on a date. That was one of the things that we let go. But we do that as women. Especially when we have families. We we kind of let our marriages unintentionally get neglected and our relationships, our friendships as well. It tends to be about the household and the kids right? And taking care and that it can be very overwhelming. It can be overwhelming. And then when it's over all of a sudden there's a big gaping hole and that could be a real problem emotionally mentally for women and it's going to be really hard to age gracefully when you're resisting this new chapter.

Like for me, I think I was really ready. I was like, yeah, it's time I we had our first daughter 21. Yeah, we're like fly fly, little birdies fly. And then for me it was a few years later that I was like, oh my goodness, I don't have what I had and I really started missing it. But luckily I had been taught early on in my 20's that my my priorities were my relationship with God first, my relationship with my husband's second and then my Children. So they were never my number one. So that helped a ton and I understood my purpose as a christian. So I had women in my life that coached me that mentored me into keeping that that perspective and keeping that focus that really helped me. The other thing that's really helpful is I never depended on my youth. My youth was not my value. Like my beauty was not my value. It's not something people were stopping me down the streets and going, oh you're so beautiful. So that's the blessing of not being a supermodel.

Apparently, you know, that's not our yes inside and out. Yes, I know, but you know what I'm saying? Like I see so many women that have their looks, that's their identity. Yeah, that's what I'm trying to communicate. That was never my identity, right, correct. And so my youth, I'm not super attached to it emotionally. That makes sense. Like I also know I'm going somewhere better. I don't want to go any time soon. I have grandchildren, I want to be here and I want to see great grandchildren. We were just celebrating my mother in law's 80th and she had Let's see how many, she has 12 great grandchildren, she's 80 and she has 14 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. We provided two of those are family but and it was so neat to see you know just All the wonder of that. But you don't get that at 40, you know you don't get all those levels of family and there's a lot of beauty and wisdom for aging, there's a lot of good that comes from it.

So don't resist it. I mean the world our culture wants to teach us that women are only really valued if they're young and their bodies are really youthful but that's not true. Have you ever now at this stage in your life looked back or watched movies or tv shows from like 2030 years ago even like you know my kids and I are watching um Andy Griffith Yeah and we're like wow the women that they cast back in the day, not like the model as they are now in the shows, it's like now a lot of them need to be Yeah and even some of the women, you know I was watching an episode with the kids yesterday where barney was having all these women flood to Andy's house you know so he can potentially see a future wife and I was like wow they're all just kind of average looking, you know and that's not a negative thing or anything, but refreshing because I thought, wow, they're not all like drop dead gorgeous and that's the way that's real life, right?

But it builds this persona that we need to look a certain way. We need to have less wrinkles, less gray hair. Yeah. And again, we're not saying these things are bad necessarily, but it's just how you feel inside about yourself, you know, do I feel better if I look this way? I mean what I'll share, I know I feel better when I just put a little makeup on in the morning, you know, and not wear my yoga pants and sweatshirts every day and if I actually kind of put on something semi nice to wear, right, I'm home, so I'm not dressing up family, but but at least I feel, you know, I feel more prepared for the day and that's why I do it not because it's well, you know, I look better and that's where my value is. If I can look a little nicer and it's not that it's just, I feel awake and I feel more prepared for the day and more confident and so that's why I do it right? Yeah, yeah. And I agree. And it goes along with that for aging gracefully. I mean, I think it's important to go for walks. I mean we try to walk a lot because walking is good for you. You know, same thing.

I do cover my grace because I only have a little bit of them. So it's that awkward stage. You know, when you start going gray, it's, it's awkward. I guess. Apparently you have to wait till you're like 60% grade to go all gray. So I'm still coloring but I still feel like I'm 35. So you know, I don't want 20 gray hairs getting in the way of that. I told my husband, I said when I start getting gray hairs, I'm going to dye my hair because he's always, I like your natural color. We'll get it pretty close. You know what's funny? I have one gray hair that keeps growing out and I decided this time to leave it. Like you believe it, I'm going to embrace it. You can do that with one, do that with one. There they are and I have some friends that are great and they're absolutely beautiful. But it has to be like all grown out or at least a nice balance of the salt and pepper. But Anyway, there's so much more than that to aging. But they do believe like not resisting and just accepting it and you're so right about the television shows and nowadays all you see is all these models and actresses that are in their 50s and 60s and Bikinis, right?

That's the big thing now they're posting all their bikini shots, which I have to say is inspirational. I don't know how real life it is, but it gives me hope. I'm like, you know, if I go to the gym, which by the way we did talk about last week and I did drive by the gym, we did, it was close, I could not go inside, but we drove it. And the other thing is we did purchase an exercise cycle which is now set two days ago, which is now sitting on my standing, whatever it is doing on my side of the bed in our bedroom. So I have made great steps since we talked last week. I wanted to make sure because you said you were going to ask me, but exercise is important but more for our physical health, but mentally just accepting it, not resisting it is huge and making sure that we have a purpose that we have meaning in our life outside of our appearance outside of our daily routine as mothers, because once they're out of the house, once they're in college are married on their own, that relationship changes.

I'm still really close to all my kids, but I'm not in their day to day life cooking and cleaning for them, which Amen is a great thing. I know, I know like I know our daughter is staying with us for a few weeks and she made dinner last night was wonderful, She's a great cook. So anyway, well, and also just to close this out into wrap us up today really Claudine and I as coaches, we do focus a lot on the mental and emotional aspects of aging. And so remember just forgiveness is huge forgiveness, gratitude. Close relationships as well, which we're going to talk about in a in the next episode. But one of the facts that I've learned is even with loneliness, loneliness can add to other can increase dementia and depression. Um and it also there's a fact about and I got this even on Web MD, that seniors to experience loneliness have a harder time doing daily tasks like bathing and going up the stairs and so even something as far as relationships, you know, having a social life and still getting out there and spending time with people.

And then also one of my favorites that I've always implemented in my life is laughing, laughing more smiling, having more fun and planning. It takes intention to be able to um add some of these things to your life, right? I mean, decided to let some things go. We tend to hold onto grudges and that's very common, but maybe it's time to let it go. Yeah. And especially when it comes to aging, it does have a factor. It plays a factor. Yeah. And before we sign off, I just want to leave us with this. I love this scripture and second Corinthians for and it's the passion version that says, even though our outer person gradually wears out, our inner being is renewed every single day and when I keep my focus on that, when those are the thoughts that I keep the emotions, I start feeling a really good and positive and then I'm able to go and behave accordingly. I act positive, I act motivated. So um again aging gracefully and one more quote from frank Lloyd wright, the longer I live the more beautiful life becomes and I got to tell you that's the truth.

But if any of you need to make life more beautiful and need help in your mindset, please visit us at Mind over chaos dot com or Claudine Sweeney dot com until next time. Yeah. Thanks. Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rise up and Shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button so you never miss an episode and while you're at it share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Clotting Sweeney dot com and Ashley at Mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life. Yeah, yeah, yeah

Ep. 98 How To Age Gracefully
Ep. 98 How To Age Gracefully
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