Mom’s Graceful Aging

Evelyn (a.k.a Ev) did not consider herself a senior citizen until the very last year of her life! — read on 👉🏻

NO MORE saying we’re old! That’s right! Replace ‘I’m getting old’ with ‘I’m gracefully aging.’ Sounds much better to me and helps with adjusting to the aging process.

Adjustment, in my case, is partly credited to my mother, Evelyn. Evelyn (a.k.a Ev) did not consider herself a senior citizen until the very last year of her life! On rare occasions when she hesitantly made this reference of herself, the uncertainty of its validity lingered in the air. In January of 2019, one month away from her 98th birthday, sadly, she passed away.

A year earlier, she had allowed me to interview her, and document some essential details of her long life. She claimed tap water, walking, and working were three core contributors to longevity.

She kept a youthful mindset and wisely kept age irrelevant to daily life. Tap water vs. bottled water is another subject matter. What I did learn from my mother is to stay as healthy as possible, boldly face aches and pains, honor self-improvement, and contently welcome the aging process.

My 60’s decade, however, arrived foolishly un-welcomed for me. Haha! Fortunately, I had an eye-opener after I turned 61, the same year my mother passed. I asked myself, ‘Why feel old? Should I stop using the word old? Or at least use it less?’

It took me several months after Ev’s passing to acquire the mindset of being okay with who we are, rather than the age we are. I realized my mother had convinced herself that some people didn’t have her ageless spirit. Despite a partial loss in one ear and total hearing loss in the other ear in her mid-nineties, Ev was a fashionable, sharp character with a voice tone consistent right to the end. By a voice tone, I refer to her style, her demeanor. Feisty, funny, fashionable Ev!

I concluded, at that point, a focus on enjoyment brought new adventures in life. Hidden passions ignite the discovery of opportunities, for instance, learning a new craft or get involved in a cause we’re passionate to change. Work on the ‘bucket’ list and re-name it the ‘living’ list.

Recently, I’ve also decided it certainly cannot hurt to search for fresh new face cream and tackle the appearance of pesky wrinkles, which continue to surprise me each time I make their discovery. Ultimately I’ve learned, while I still look for the right cream, that I feel as alive and happy at age 60 as when I was 18. And if lucky enough to live a long life as my mother did, that alone is a reason to celebrate.

In my youth, I was not too worried about the future — a young, skinny teen with dreams of accomplishing so much. Many became a reality such as marriage, children, a home, and some were lost, hoping for recovery. In my early 60’s, I’m financially getting by, which is not quite a role model for financial stability, but I’m happy!

I’m working on retrieving that enlightened youthful spirit of when I felt the world was at my fingertips. It comes down to living in the moment and viewing aging as a gift. What started in those early carefree years now gets revisited. Despite financial, family, or personal difficulties, live the best as possible, and embrace the gift of age. I do ask myself, however, in my case, would more money, botox, and some luck boost that youth I’m working on retrieving?

My sister, Jan (who I lost in 2011, when I was 54, and she was only 56), often said something like, ‘I know they say money isn’t everything…’, and she continued after a short pause, ‘but it’s something; it helps a little, doesn’t it?’ Yes, Jan, I then said, and I say now, years after her passing — it sure can help. Yup, Jan, simple words, very well said.

Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

Money is helpful. I could live better with more of it, but I do remind myself my mother budgeted on a small fixed income. Ev consistently bargain shopped and prioritized her spending. Mixed emotions here between Jan’s observation and Ev’s thriftiness, I am grateful for the example my mother set. But I’m also thankful for my sister’s comforting words, which today still at times soothe my thoughts of financial worries. Speaking of anxiety, my mother did have a downfall of worrying. I’ve carried over some of that trait as well, but remind myself a positive attitude is beneficial. I’ll live life to it’s fullest, just as Ev did, and I’ll also keep worries to a minimum.

For my mother, not referring to herself as a senior citizen may have been what sustained that consistent ageless nature throughout her lifetime. A simple choice of words, a kind heart, a happy mindset, could be the key to an abundant life. So here it goes, I’ll grab my youthful spirit, hope for the best, and, if lucky, receive the gift of longevity. Time for me to open the door to those lost dreams from my teens, perhaps discover new ideas, and live like Ev, with an ageless spirit. Aging is the new old!

I’ll open the gate to lost dreams from my teens, or perhaps a surprise awaits me with brand new ideas! Though neither is the same as having my mother and my sister back, I believe they keep a watch on me from above. And with a vision of Jan somehow being a part of this journey, I think I’ll see the arrival of a little extra luck with my finances, and hope that I age as graceful as Ev did. ❤️



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Anna Riley

Anna Riley

* Proud Mom of two daughters * Grandmother to an adorable toddler girl * Ageless spirit * Still learning in my sixtes * Eco-friendly *