My first blog post was also titled, “Forgiving Myself for Aging,” and published in March 2013. Now it feels perfect to once again address this huge issue of acceptance and embracing my Third Act with a different set of eyes. My first post was dedicated entirely to resolving my denial/bargaining/anger/depression and finally acceptance that I was going to get a hip replacement. In retrospect, I see how important it was for me to take the long 3-year journey from my initial denial to my final acceptance before I could move forward to a new hip and pain free living.
My experience with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ 5-stages of grief for the dying began when I was 29 and enrolled at the University of Hawaii. For being such a young person, I had an intense desire to explore death and dying, taking numerous classes on the subject, joining discussion groups and meeting Elisabeth in person.
Little did I understand that I would be going through the 5 step process with something as obvious as a worn down hip. As I look back, I know that I stepped through every stage in no particular order of grief and loss in regards to losing my belief that I could fix anything, coming to terms with a less than perfect young body, accepting that my body would not heal itself this time and grieving the loss of my femur, ball and socket.
Now in the beginning of my Third Act Journey of Life, I am pondering my acceptance of actually having less time to live than I have lived. The loss of youth with the shame of aging affects me as well. What to do with skin that sags, arms that are less tight and toned (no matter what I do)? How do I embrace and own my age of 66, while releasing the self-talk that tells me I am 35?
My process has been slowly uncovered through writing as I discover “what’s next!” and doing my best to avoid talking about “what now?” Surrounding myself with women who are living age as potential, happier than ever before and growing like wildfire. As I coach myself through this last and final stage, I will rely on women around me that inspire me to go, and go now, and don’t wait.
Forgiving myself for aging is not a destination, in fact, it is a process that I am accepting as I take each step towards setting myself free from the loss so I can be my best and Live Like I Can!