It’s time again for another Tuesday installment in the guest post series, “Listen, Learn and Listen Some More.” I’m so excited for you to know my new friend, Stephanie Graney, who challenges each one of us to listen to our bodies as we get older. And I’m telling you, her wit-filled wisdom is GOLD. Proceeds from today’s article will go toward Bravemaker.
Listening to our bodies is seriously hard, especially as we grow older.
We can tell ourselves we are only as young as we feel, but aging eventually hits us in the bladder, or we are reminded by the light creaks in our joints in the mornings, or by the overhead lighting at the department store highlighting the wrinkles on our necks (while we are shopping in the juniors section). Growing older isn’t always easy, but I believe there is a way to do it with a lot of listening, a little grace, and maybe a glass of sparkling wine now and again.
If we still believe in our hearts that we are 23, then our egos may be a bit bruised when we attempt a cartwheel on the golf course and stop in fear of breaking a wrist. Our older mind is probably right though, maybe we shouldn’t attempt gymnastics today, particularly if we haven’t stretched in like twenty years.
But listening isn’t always easy. We don’t want to do it. We want to believe we can still do a cartwheel. But we have to listen don’t we? To flourish in this part of our lives, listening is the key to acceptance, and not breaking a bone. Besides, without listening we prove that we have learned nothing, and the good earth knows we have learned some things along the way (at least I hope we have).
For me, growing older means changes in my gut, not being able to do every dance from the 90’s, and increasing the font on my iPhone from time to time. Am I fighting it? Sometimes. Am I also listening? Most of the time. Am I a work in progress like the rest of you? Absolutely.
When my body says “don’t eat that” or “don’t even think about taking that kickboxing class when your knee is swollen”, I listen, well, I listen at least 80% of the time. And I make a conscious decision. I decide to eat something that is going to nourish my body better, and I take a walk instead of hitting the gym hard. And I’m kind to myself.
My twenty-three year old self would probably eat that hot dog from the liquor store and cartwheel down a hill. Actually I know she would, and she did, and she was fine. But she also went out dancing five nights a week and had the strength of a race horse. She also wasn’t super kind to herself all the time either, and that’s a part of getting older that is wonderful. Kindness becomes a real thing of beauty as we age.
Getting older also allows us to be stronger and more self aware. I know aging has given me the knowledge and power to say “no, that’s not good for me”and the realization that I deserve better. With age, I’ve become a much better listener to what my body and mind are telling me. I’ve built even more confidence in my current abilities and I recognize my strengths, and celebrate the strength and ability in those around me.
I’m not going to lie and say I wouldn’t trade places with the younger version of myself, at least every once in a while. But we can’t go backwards, moving forward is our only option, and that means leaning in and listening to our older selves, right now, where we are today. And making wiser choices, hopefully, at least some of the time.
And as long as I’m blessed to be standing on this great earth, with my larger font, my wrinkles and my glass of champagne, I’m going to keep trying to learn and grow and age with some grace. I’m going to walk into aging with a positive attitude and some lighter free weights. And maybe I’ll take up yoga, or maybe, just maybe, I’ll take another kickboxing class after the swelling goes down.
Stephanie “Becky” Graney is a California native and lives with her daughters and husband in beautiful SoCal. She loves cooking, watching football, champagne, working out, dancing, acting, entertaining friends and spending quality time with her family. Her writing is authentic and real, with a dash of humor and sarcasm.