“Growing Older is Inevitable, Aging is Optional.”  -Dr. Christiane Northrop

Dr. Northrop makes a fine distinction between growing older (unavoidable chronological age advancement) and aging (decline and degeneration). If growing older is inevitable, then why not make it a ride to remember, leaving aging in the rear view?

According to Dr. Northrop, we can make a huge difference in how we grow old.The new study of Epigenetics includes research on youthful centenarians, statistics on how movement is life-prolonging and sitting is death (“how you move through time determines if you will decline”), along with the stunning results of “what you think about your aging is more influential than your heredity or environment.” The old argument that genes trump all has been shut down by our mental prowess!

I’d like to submit that an awareness of all we have gained throughout our life is powerful growing older medicine. Knowing our value can fuel our confidence, competence and increase our sense of emotional and psychological well being.

Your growing older resume needs to include intrinsic benefits, as well as all the measurable contributions you’ve made in your life. I left home at 18 feeling equipped to handle college and life ahead. Some wins, some misses. I realize now, those experiences are memories, forever etched in my playbook of life. So many of those experiences have morphed into gifts. The times that stand out are the misses and presumably the blooming of those gifts. Like suffering the consequences of a poor decision when the Universe smacked me down (humility), something I thought I couldn’t live without said no (more humility); the coveted job going to a more deserving soul (yes, humility — seeing a pattern here?) And many, many more. Humility has shown me discernment and patience. As I grew older, I understood these experiences were transforming into gifts to be opened as I became aware of them.

Compassion. I thought having an abundance of self-doubt and lack of intimacy in my childhood was a sentence I could never overcome, but it led me to the gift of compassion.

Perspective. When a close friend’s son recently behaved poorly, and my friend was devastated, it was perspective talking when I suggested he see how well his son was doing in other areas and his behavior might simply account for his own insecurities and fear, nothing personal.

Vulnerability. Being a “seasoned” woman, I’ve had time to fight my fears which gave vulnerability space within.  I feel more confident in allowing myself to be seen, transparent, and with no need to defend myself or my beliefs.

Being Alive is the ultimate gift that I embrace daily.

What gifts have you gained throughout your life?

How do they support or sustain you growing older?

I invite you to peruse the list below. Which gifts can you claim?

What were your life experiences that earned your gifts?

And, will you grow older or will you decline as your chronological age advances?  The choice is yours.

Beyond 50 Benefits

  1. Wisdom
  2. Perspective
  3. Experience
  4. Expanded Vision
  5. Compassion
  6. Spiritual Awareness
  7. Confidence
  8. Assurance
  9. Ability to Navigate Life’s Journeys/Challenges/Sorrows
  10. Inspire others with your story
  11. Life long friends
  12. Insight on managing your life
  13. Insight on managing your resources (money, time, energy)
  14. Emotional maturity
  15. Psychological development
  16. Curiosity – where is my life going?
  17. Impact on others
  18. Acceptance
  19. Happiness
  20. Know yourself at a deeper level
  21. Relationship to Self more Defined
  22. Relationship to Others more valued
  23. Relationship to the World more highlighted
  24. Contribution(s) to the community/world more emphasized
  25. Institutional Knowledge (professional)

I’d love to hear your stories and experiences. Let me know, would you?  Please share your comments below. We are also discussing this topic, and many others facing Greying Goddesses, on our Facebook page. You are welcome to join the conversation!

To mindful aging,


“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”  -Betty Fridan

Denise’s next series, The Art of Mindful Aging will be taking place for 5 Consecutive Sundays from 1:00PM-3:00PM starting February 10. Sign up here: