There is an expression that invites us to ‘be in’ grace as we age. When we hear this we are usually too young to think of ourselves as ever aging but it sounds good, we repeat it and we forget it until we wake up one day and wonder what will life be like when we reach that threshold.
Spending the weekend in New York City with my aging parents brought this exploration to mind. They are both in their early eighties. Mom has the energy of a fifty year old while dad does not. I watched the two of them as they navigated their place in the very hectic environment of the city and through multiple NYU graduation engagements. My mothers loving support and my fathers somewhat defiant struggles brought my own process of aging into mind.
What does it mean to age gracefully, and can you do this and still go down fighting and is fighting even necessary? To understand this concept let’s explore the word grace. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary the word grace means; “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their generation or sanctification”. It also means ease and suppleness of movement or bearing. So what does aging gracefully mean and how do we do this in our own lives?
By definition it requires the support of a higher power, a divinity bigger than us. Perhaps it is the ability to accept that higher powers plan in action. Perhaps it is a virtue from that power to be kind and patient with others and ourselves. The word Grace in its divine essence really does suggest softness, an allowing, and a letting go.
Part of our aging process is also found in our genetic package. Our genetics are a blueprint that laid a foundation for our physical abilities and outcomes but it is our lifestyle that truly determines our fullest genetic expression.
This leads us to the second part of our definition. Ease and suppleness of movement, usually this definition is reserved for a physical activity perhaps by an athlete or a dancer. However the ease and suppleness of movement is so important as we age. I say again and again that this body, your body, is the vehicle through which you will experience your unique and individual life. The grace of this vehicle’s movement will be largely determined by the choices you make. Making body/health-enhancing choices will allow you to achieve the highest genetic potential that your specific blue print can provide.
As we age, our bodies are still doing amazing things on the cellular level everyday. There is still a new you created every eleven months, so let’s make sure the new you is as healthy as the old you. Your chronological age is not as powerful as your biological or cellular age and this is the age we can control.
By avoiding the obvious health destroying habits we can begin supporting that divine energy that made us, sustains us and keeps us striving for health everyday of our lives. Start with the following:
- Eat 3-5 small meals per day of real food, avoid, preferably eliminate, processed carbohydrates.
- Stop excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption and all consumption of soda, especially diet soda.
- Drink 2/3rds of your body weight in ounces of water (.66 X body weight = ounces for you)
- Have your spine aligned and your muscles balanced to remove any inappropriate weight bearing which creates wear and tear on your joints. This also removes interference to your nervous system, which is vital for normalizing tissue and organ function.
- EXERCISE: move, move, move, at least 3 times per week. Five is better and make certain that you walk. Stride out, swing your hips, put a spring in your step, and BREATHE!
- Learn to relax. Give yourself 15 minutes of quiet time every morning. Feel your breath as it flows in and out of your nostrils, release your diaphragm on every exhale and feel into the gratitude of life. Gratitude for each new breath, gratitude for each plate of food, gratitude for each loving friend, gratitude for each wonder-filled day.
Following these simple steps can ensure that however many days you are destined to play on this beautiful planet, you will be achieving your fullest genetic expression in the healthiest body possible for you!
Be your best, do your best and LIVE!
God Bless & Go Well,
Dr. Kathleen Hartford