Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Gracefully Aging, Day 1: Modeling Joy

With my mom a few years ago...she was in her late 70s when this was taken

It begins with a few fine lines around your eyes that you never noticed before.  Then, you may notice that your eye shadow doesn't go on as smoothly when you're applying it.  Then you realize that the skin on your throat isn't as firm as it used to be.

You're getting older.  It's inevitable, and it happens to everyone.  But what are you going to do about it?  Especially when you're talking about how you look on the outside?

You have two choices.  You can give up and give in...realize that you're not young anymore, so why should you try to look good?  Bring on the polyester and toss the make-up in the trash.

Or, you can decide that you're going to be the best "woman of a certain age" (as the French so beautifully put it) that it is within your power to be.

I decided on the second option, and I firmly believe it's mostly because of my mother.

My mother, my beauty icon

My mom died suddenly last November.  She was 80 when she died, and she looked at least 10 years younger.

One simply didn't think of my mother as an old lady.  She wore a full face of make-up everyday.  Her clothes were classic and lovely, youthful without being trendy.  No polyester pants or appliqued sweatshirts for her, and she didn't go out without re-applying her lipstick.

There were some reasons she looked young, I'm sure.  Genetics and the fact that she never drank alcohol or smoked cigarettes had something to do with it.  Clean living.  She did eat mostly healthy foods, and exercised until she wasn't physically able to do much.

But it was more than that.  It was the kind of beauty that radiated from within.  She practiced joy in her daily life.

Modeling Joy

After she died, I found a devotional she had presented to a ladies' group.  (She was a pastor's wife for most of her life, and continued to be an inspiration to the women in her church long after my dad passed away.)

The subject of the devotional was joy.  She listed 10 ways to model joy and contentment:

  1. Express joy through your words
  2. Express joy with your voice
  3. Sing often
  4. Smile more often
  5. Have fun
  6. Live out a joyful faith
  7. Share your joys with others
  8. Nurture a spirit of giving
  9. Focus on the blessings
  10. Express joy and contentment any way you can

As I read that list, I realized my mom practiced all those things every day! She was, and always will be, my ultimate role model in gracefully aging.

I'm participating in "31 Days: A Writing Challenge,"  in which I 'll be blogging on the subject of Gracefully Aging every day during the month of October.  Click the button below for more information and links to each post as they become available!


Cheryl said...

Your mom was gorgeous, inside and out. What a sweet post.

Anonymous said...

I love this! What a beautiful reminder. I recently realized that I think I look better when I'm smiling, so I've been trying to smile more often. The funny thing is that doing this actually makes me feel more joyful and happy. So win-win!

Pattie said...

You and your mother - both beauties. I am trying to figure out aging gracefully. Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Pattie the book girl

PS: You blogged about this book and I am also a contributor to it! :)

Susie - Walking Butterfly said...

Hi Cindy, I just found you on the 31 Day thingy. I am 59 and am excited about reading your blog this month! Susie

Anonymous said...

What a lovely lady, inside and out.

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