Practicing The Art Of Aging Gracefully

Is it my imagination or are the years getting shorter?

I used to be OK about letting go of the old year and welcoming in the new.

But now? I feel like holding on for dear life and yelling, “Slow down!”

Thing is, though, I don’t really want to stop aging. It’s just … I used to think I had all the time in the world. Now I look ahead and realize I can no longer take anything – not one minute or one day – for granted.

It always happens when the new year rolls around. I wax reflective, probably because my birthday happens to be on the first and that in itself is a little weird.

Some people hate their birthday and try to make it go away. They half believe that if they ignore it, they’ll somehow halt the aging process. And a lot of folks take steps to freeze or try to reverse all physical manifestations of aging, as well.

It’s OK. I’m all for anything that makes you feel better about yourself. I’m not opposed to looking younger. And I certainly can’t criticize anyone’s attempts at staying fit and attractive for as long as they live.

I want all of that, too.

But my goal isn’t to stop the aging process. I want to age well.

Yes. I do think it’s possible to grow old with grace. I believe beauty doesn’t go away unless we let go of whatever it is inside that makes us beautiful. I’ve known people who actually grow more appealing with age.

One of the most beautiful women I know is former neighbor Adele Mitchell. We met Adele and her gruff, kind, wonderful husband John when my husband and I moved into our very first house shortly after getting married.

John has since passed away. And Adele? Well, for all the years that I’ve known her, she has never been anything but positive, strong and loving. She has a bunch of sons who all live on the Mainland, but they adore her and visit as often as they can. And no wonder. She’s remarkable.

I received her Christmas letter the other day. You’d think a person in her late 80s would spend a lot of time complaining about various ailments and aches and pains.

That’s not Adele’s style. She had one scant paragraph related to health, and then she was off that subject and on to better things: two pages filled with news of family visits, wonderful projects, descriptions of her new digs at Pohai Nani, and effusive praise of the staff and her friends.

Her secret to a happy and healthy life is simple: Keep busy.

“I’m involved with several committees,” she says, “sing in the choir and attend all social activities. I try to keep my hands at sewing and crocheting plus emails and reading. I serve as secretary for two of the groups so my typing skills are kept up. The meals are good and plentiful, the friendships and community are beneficial and I, certainly, do not have any complaints.”

Adele isn’t model-slim or wrinkle-free. Her hair is white. She’s always looked younger than her years, though, because her zest for life gives her a glow.

And she is beautiful. Not beautiful “for her age.” Just beautiful.

As we enter 2014, my wish for everyone I know is to be … well, like Adele. Be as healthy as you can be. Nourish your spirit. Surround yourself with friendship and love. Keep busy. Stay in touch. Choose to be happy.

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou, everyone!
Twitter: @JadeMoon1