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Are You Aging Authentically?

Are You Aging Authentically?

By Susan Williams

I have a confession to make. I am an occasional binge television watcher.

My habit first began when I watched the series Breaking Bad. As each of the episodes came to an end, I always wondered what happened next and found the option of “watch next episode” was just too hard to pass up. Since then, I have progressed to Game of Thrones and most recently I overdosed on Grace and Frankie.

If you haven’t had the chance to watch Grace and Frankie, it’s a comedy series about two unlikely women who are brought together later in life in a quite unusual situation. Grace and Frankie’s husbands had been having an affair with each other for years and then one day announced to their wives that they wanted divorces so they could marry each other.

As I watched the show, I couldn’t help but laugh. Grace and Frankie often found themselves in some challenging but quite entertaining situations. As they dealt with their suddenly altered lifestyle it was interesting to watch them rebuild their lives and experience new challenges and opportunities together.

Now you may be wondering what the heck does any of this have to do with authentic aging.

Well, there was one scene in particular that really stood out for me in this series. It was when Grace (played by Jane Fonda) removes all her makeup in front of her new (and younger) boyfriend so he could really see her for what she was.

As I watched this clip, I couldn’t help but admire the authenticity in aging this particular scene shared. Grace was willing to bare it all – to show her true self rather than continue to try and upkeep an image that she thought he wanted her to be.

Here’s the clip;

This situation made me wonder – am I aging authentically?

The dictionary defines authentic as;

  • not false or copied; genuine; real
  • representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identified

As I looked further into the idea of authentic aging, I discovered the following video clip of two artists who are embracing and celebrating aging through their work.

In the clip, the couple shares their philosophy on authentic aging and how they have chosen to accept and embrace the aging process. They view the physical process of aging as being part of the overall human experience. They share how they focus on the beauty that aging provides and how the act of aging actually highlights the preciousness of life.

Here’s the clip:

So I think being authentic – whether it’s about aging or anything else in our lives for that matter – starts from a point of really understanding who we are and feeling comfortable with this. It’s living our lives not worrying about what someone else thinks of us or the things we do. It’s living a life of integrity that is true to our own values and beliefs.

Where this can get tricky, especially when it comes to aging, is we are continually bombarded with images and perspectives of people who are “aging well“. Often judged and critiqued through some preconceived lens and stereotypes of what older people are supposed to be like.

I think as authentic agers, we need to ignore these preconceived ideas and create our own reality of what being older means to us. We then need to then live true to this – and not pretend to be something we think others believe we should be.

That’s why I was so impressed when Grace took off all her makeup and was authentic with her aging reality (along with the added bonus of getting a great response).

Because if we can’t be authentic at this time in our lives – when will we ever be?

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.