Some of us just seem to age better than others.
Why is it that some of us with the passing of time just get, well, old, while others manage to keep a youthfulness that belies their chronological age?
I’m not talking about how many lines begin to trace the face, no, it’s the demeanour, the posture, the way they think and a sense of serenity.
They seem to be at peace within themselves, their life and with time. Sure they’ve aged and yet, they truly have retained a youthful zest for life. They just seem to be an older version of who they were 30, 40 or 50 years ago.
Once again the same old question. Is it in their genes? Are these the people who just seem to be blessed with a family lineage of youthfulness. Perhaps. Or is it more than that? Is it a state of mind?
It’s a powerful gift.
Is it a steadfast resilience no matter what struggles life confronts them with?
It’s hard to bring up the subject of remaining positive without sounding like a self help guru but, it has to be said, those with resilience and the ability to bounce back despite life’s challenges, optimism in the face of disaster and positivity for the future no matter the disappointment of the past, could all contribute to how well they age. Retaining their youthfulness and enjoying life well into their senior years.
It’s not something you will ever find in a jar of cream.
In a youth obsessed culture it could be said, remaining positive and happy regardless of how we look is almost impossible. The temptation to change the way we look is ever present, to reinvent ourselves with a little help from a cosmetic surgeon always an option, but as it is with anti ageing skin care, so too any other anti ageing remedy we try. None of it will ever surpass the fountain of youth that comes from a healthy inner world. The way we think and feel and the value we place upon ourselves.
Finding inspiration through the lives of others.
This week I was inspired by Ali Macgraw, who turned 75 last April. Ali is one of those people who holds the secret to youth and beauty and at 75 doesn’t just look amazing, is amazing. She is youthful, serene and has a grace about her that leaps out at you.
An interview with Oprah on her TV Show Super Soul Sunday on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) ignited this admiration I now have for this woman.
You may remember Ali Macgraw, from the hugely popular tear jerker of a film Love Story. You know, love means never having to say you’re sorry… well of course we all know that’s the stuff of romantic nonsense, but still, the movie was a huge hit in the 70’s and catapulted Ali from the cover of fashion magazines like Vogue and Bazaar to the heady lights and fame of Hollywood.
Married three times and most notably to the film producer come mogul, Robert Evans which, although appeared to be a happy marriage ended after a love affair began between Ali and Steve McQueen, who then went on to become here third husband.
During this time Ali gave up her film career for the sake of this marriage, which is an idea I find quite foreign, but as Ali admits herself, it takes a long time to find the courage to put your needs and your life ahead of another. Once the marriage ended Ali was left with an addiction to alcohol and a film career in tatters, but with courage and determination Ali turned her life around and has gone on to live a life, largely out of the spot light for most of the last 20 years but perhaps a more successful one.
Half a lifetime later.
For some, it can take years to begin to live an authentic life, as Ali admits in her interview with Oprah. And yet, despite this admission and her personal struggles, there is no doubt, Ali has found a joyfulness through sobriety, the practice of yoga and mindfulness, which I am sure has led to her resilience, serenity and unquestionably a youthful attitude towards her life.
Ali is quite the inspiration and I am quite sure, how we manage stress, how we view our past and how we see our future all contribute to how we are going to age.
Caring for our appearance or the external version of ourselves is important, it is a reflection of our inner world. But, as Oprah so beautifully puts it towards the end of the interview.
The external cannot be allowed to have so much power over you, because the external things always fade away..
It is true our appearance or the external version of ourselves does not last. Fear of no longer being valued is a powerful motivator for seeking out ways to hold back time in the hope we will remain relevant in the world we inhabit, but it is the internal world where much of our efforts should be spent.
I have met so many women wanting to push back time as a way to remain valued as individuals through the way they look. There is nothing wrong with this, looking great feels great! But if it is without perspective it can never bring true acceptance or happiness. We all deserve to feel valued for the things we offer the world and never more so than as we age. We all have so much to give and like Ali, finding a way to value herself offers the rest of us a great deal indeed.
In asking the question; is ageing inevitable or is it a state of mind? I hope it provokes much thought as I believe it comes with a very fulfilling answer. You cannot control time, you will age, but how YOU choose to age is completely within your control. Now that’s a powerful thing to ponder and work towards don’t you think?
Perhaps this is a story that feels a long way off for you as it does for everyone depending on where we are in our life. But, I will say this, the sooner we are able to begin the work needed to fully value ourselves from the inside the better our lives become.
Now it’s your turn to share. How do you feel about ageing? Does it grip you with fear or are you well on your way to cultivating a healthy inner life? I’d love to know your thoughts..
To view the click here 2010 interview with Oprah or click on the link of Ali on the right hand side of this page or here for the 2014 interview.
See you next time.