The truth is, we can never avoid ageing. For as long as we are living, we are ageing. I’ve always believed that if we want to age well, we need to live well. So why is ageing an afterthought when we reach a certain age? It is not just an experience that is reserved for the 65 and older cohort. There is no switch that automatically comes on the moment we reach that age. It’s an experience we confront the moment we are born. And from that moment, most of us have the ability to control how we will age.
How will we plan to live our lives as we age? How will we prepare ourselves for a good older age? I was reminded of this very idea when I stumbled upon this lovely collective activity outside the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia.
This piece was given to the gallery by a wonderful organization in Australia called Feros Care, an organization that celebrates ageing. Outisde this art gallery, the public was invited to spread their own ideas of what they thought it meant to age well. At first glance, I was instantly enamoured with inspiration and awe. More than anything, it was refreshing to see such a positive outlook on something perceived so negatively. I was inspired to read other responses and I felt a strong gravitational pull to participate in this activity. I learned so much from people I’ve never met before and I wanted to give back that very same sentiment. So here is what I wrote: “I will let my hair grey and my laugh lines show.”
I am proud of my never been dyed hair. I see my laugh lines as my badge of honour for my years of good humour and smiles. But there is so much more than that. I could have written so much much more. And I wanted to. I was lucky to have a small space to give my input. I was glad to see that the space was populated with words of positivity and hope. It told me that other people see the value in an activity such as this one. Above all, it showed me that people agree with the reality that ageing needs to be embraced, not prevented. It’s a part of us all.
I wanted to share my experience not only to share my feelings of inspiration but also to open the floor to you. I am inviting you to participate in this activity without having to go all the way to Brisbane. I want to keep learning different perspectives and I want people to learn a variety of perspectives from each other. So I ask you, no matter what age you are right now, what will you do as you age? Write in the comments below and feel free to share any thoughts you have on the ideas I discussed. And if you happen to be in Brisbane, I’d love to see photos of what’s written on that board now!