Flashback: 10 signs of aging gracefully

Flashback: 10 signs of aging gracefully

Dear readers: This piece on the secret to aging gracefully originally appeared on Grandma’s Briefs on March 24, 2013. Six years later, the signs still resonate with me. I hope they do with you, too. Thank you for reading my rerun.

When it comes to aging gracefully, forget the face creams, hair colors and exercises — the physical manifestations others see as we rack up the years. Instead, I prefer to focus on a different kind of trait that others see, one I think trumps the physical when considering how gracefully others are aging and how gracefully I'm aging myself.

That trait? It's attitude. For, as age is just…

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Disrupt aging: Today's grandmas smash the stereotype... even when embracing it

Disrupt aging: Today's grandmas smash the stereotype... even when embracing it

Disclosure: This post made possible with support from AARP's Disrupt Aging. All opinions are my own.

When I first started my blog in 2009, one of the "editorial guidelines" I set for myself was that I would not post photos of myself on my website. At that time I had been a grandma for a little over a year, and in those twelve-plus months, when I shared my grandma status with strangers—retail clerks, random folks encountered while out and about, friends-in-the-making, and so forth—I was more often than not met with the comment, "You don't look like a grandma."

As a goal for my blog was to establish myself as a go-to guide for all things related to the grandmother lifestyle, I determined that—based on such comments—posting pictures of myself might…

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Saturday movie review: Still Dreaming

Saturday movie review: Still Dreaming

As our parents age and we consider how we can best assist and accommodate them in their later years, we baby boomers become more and more familiar with assisted living centers, nursing homes, and similar facilities Mom and/or Dad might at some point consider home. Many of our parents already reside in such spots, others of us may be in the researching-for-someday phase of the sandwich situation.

As is the case with most things, negative stories and worrisome aspects of assisted living centers and nursing homes get the most headlines, cause the most headaches. Yet there are indeed many positive—and true—tales to tell of facilities doing fun, fabulous, innovative, and invigorating things for the elderly folks they care for and, in many cases, consider family.

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Grandma salutes Shinedown

shinedown in Colorado Springs

One of my earliest articles published — in a newspaper, not on a blog — was in the early '90s and was titled Mosh-pit Mom. My husband and I used to go to a lot of concerts back then, most of them the rockin' kind with moshpits on the floor, all of them during the years I was a mom with three fairly young daughters.

It's been a few decades since I've had to protect myself from flailing feet on a concert floor, quite a few years since I've marveled at the moxie of the moshers from afar. Due to lack of funds as well as lack of touring bands we were willing to shell out our pennies to see, my husband and I have...

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Saturday movie review: Youth

The movie YOUTH has a lot going for it. Beautiful imagery. Dreamlike cinematography. A soul-stirring score with ethereal notes floating throughout. A superior cast: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Paul Dano, Rachel Weisz, Jane Fonda. Poignant scenes featuring that cast, all marked by longing, melancholy, loneliness, folks young and old searching for wisdom, connection, contentment.

YOUTH movie

What YOUTH doesn't have, though, is a satisfying story. I watched and waited, often...

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Saturday movie review: I'll See You In My Dreams

I'll just come right out and say it up front: This is a lovely film! You should see it!

 i'll see you in my dreams

I'LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS has a lovely cast. Of older people! There's Blythe Danner, Sam Elliott, Rhea Perlman, June Squibb, Mary Kay Place. All older, all lovely, all a joy to watch in this film. There's a younger guy and gal, too: Martin Starr, whom I...

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Fearless at 50: AARP spotlights feisty female skateboarders over fifty

skateboard moms

The older I get, the more I consciously strive to engage in experiences that scare me a bit. Just this past weekend, in fact, I climbed to the very top of five lighthouses in Michigan in the face of fears my MS would keep me from going all the way to the light—and back down again—without fumbling, stumbling and falling flat on my face or fanny.

Also over the weekend, I took an aerial flight in an itsy...

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Saturday movie review: While We're Young

If you're one of those people who, regardless of your age or stage of life, still feel like you're not quite one of the grown ups, that you're a youngster pretending to do and be what folks your age should be doing, then WHILE WE'RE YOUNG will resonate. I assure you I am one of those people, and I assure you the recent dramedy from writer/director Noah Baumbach hit home—and the heart—on multiple levels.

While We're Young comedy

Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts, both teetering on joining the 50+ club in real life play 40-something Josh and Cornelia, a...

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Saturday movie review: Cyber-Seniors

I do most of my connecting with my grandsons and their mama (my daughter) in various long-distance manners, most of which are online or via FaceTime. So I fully understand the value of being online and the importance of helping seniors get online.

Which is why I believe the documentary CYBER-SENIORS should be viewed by anyone who has an elderly parent or other loved one who could connect with friends and family online but has been hesitant to learn how to do it.

Today, though, I'm actually with my grandsons and their mama—visiting them in the desert rather than seeing pictures online or chit-chatting over FaceTime—so this movie review must be quick...so I can get on with the visiting. Here goes:

Cyber-Seniors documentary

Bare bones, bottom line: CYBER-SENIORS is super! And the poignant...

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Saturday movie review: 'Still Mine'

James Cromwell — whom I've loved ever since "Babe" — may not be the first to come to mind when considering male romantic leads. He sure does a fine job playing such, though, in the touching drama STILL MINE, which also stars Geneviève Bujold as his long-wed love.

Still Mine

Cromwell and Bujold — both Oscar nominees — star as Craig and Irene Morrison. They've been...

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On age, wisdom, rocking and rolling

Today I'm one year older. I'm also wiser and more sure than ever that I definitely don't wanna die before I get old.

In fact, I hope I get to be as old as these folks — or at least as old as they were when they recorded this video in 2007:


My real hope, though, is that I not only get to be as old as The Zimmers, but that I rock and roll just as heavily and heartily as them when I get to be that age, too.

That's my plan, and I'm sticking to it.

Cheers to age, to wisdom, and to rocking and rolling!

Today's fill-in-the-blank:

The best thing about getting older is _______________.

To my 20-year-old self

I'm fortunate to be part of a Facebook group of midlife women bloggers, called GenFab (Generation Fabulous). This week we have our first blog hop, posting on "What would you tell your 20-year-old self?" Here is my response, followed by links to the moving posts from my GenFab friends.

Dear 20-year-old Lisa,

You became a mom when still just a child yourself. As you suspect, the age at which you have your three precious daughters (yep, that babe in your belly right now is a girl, too) will affect everything you do and are throughout your life.

That can be a good thing, though—if you allow it.

In hopes you will indeed allow it, I have some advice for you. Despite you being stubborn in ways many have yet to realize, I do hope you'll take my advice to heart, act on it.

My advice is this:

Stop being so scared. You're scared about what's to come, what people think of you, what your girls—hell, what you—will grow up to do and be. You're scared of the other, older moms who seem to know and have and be so much more than you. You're scared of not knowing enough, not having enough, not being enough.

Well knock it off! There's no reason to be scared. Well, there is reason sometimes. But there will soon be an advertising tagline that says, Feel the fear and do it anyway. Do exactly that—always, in all ways.

Question authority. That principal who tells you it's okay to send your barely five-year-old daughter to kindergarten? Question that. That doctor who tells you tubes in a child's ears are a thing of the past? Question that. That same doctor, who tells you your daughter has an infection when it turns out to be a <cuss> hernia? Question that. When you're assured a negative amortization loan is okay, question it. And when an editor rejects your work, question that—then send it to other editors and never. ever. give. up.

Don't take the job. A few years from now, you'll be offered a job by someone you consider worldly and wise. Don't take it. The damage to your self-esteem, marriage and more because of "friends" you make there is so not worth it. Trust me. Yes, your household desperately needs the money, but Just say NO! (another slogan that will soon be a pop culture hit).

Brace yourself. I know you, I know you'll ignore the advice above. So brace yourself. The stress caused by the consequences of that bad choice will wreak havoc on your health in ways that will affect you each and every day for the rest of your life. Seriously. But know this: It's not as bad as doctors first tell you. You will walk again. You will see again. In fact, your neurologist will one day tell you you're a miracle. Trust that doctor. And trust that you will be okay.

Brace yourself, part two. Those little girls you hold in your arms today and the tiny one in your womb? Well, they're going to hate you. They will love you at first, of course. But when they're teens, they will hate you. Or at least think they hate you and make you think they really do. Because you'll be a mean mom and won't allow them to do much of what their friends do. Yet you won't be able to stop the typical teen stuff your girls manage to do anyway. And your disapproval, restrictions, and determination that they respect themselves and their parents—and that they just plain stay alive through the trauma-filled teen years!—will have them screaming, crying, resisting, and swearing they hate you because you are such a mean mom.

Be mean anyway. Regardless of their freakouts and your heartbreak and self doubt, be mean. It's what those girls—what many children—need. One day they will thank you, I swear. In fact, one night 28 years from now, that tiny bundle in your belly, the baby whom you've not yet met, will send you a text (something you'll learn to do decades from now) that says this:

Your baby girl's text—along with similar gratitude from her older sisters, once grown—confirm being mean was one of the most right things you'll do.

Have no doubt, the years ahead will definitely suck at times. But those sucky times will make you stronger, smarter, bring into breathtaking focus the brilliance of the many non-sucky times. Ultimately, you, your marriage (which does last, by the way, despite the challenges, stats, and naysayers), your babies, your eventual grandbabies, your life will turn out far better than you ever imagined.

Even if you don't listen to my advice.

Which I know you won't. Because you've always been far more stubborn than most people realize.

I love you anyway.

~ Your far older and a wee bit wiser self

Today's question:

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Please enjoy the heartfelt posts from my GenFab friends. Warning: Tissue alert for most!