Positive aging can bolster your retirement. It includes cultivating your mindset, your engagement, creativity, and gratitude. Author Stephanie Raffelock shares her insights on positive aging and explains how you can reclaim what you love.
Stephanie joins us from Austin, Texas.
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“There are these wonderful arcs in our life. We don’t get a chance to reflect upon them when we’re in the midst of them. When you’re in your thirties and you find a way to make a mortgage and marriage and kids work, we don’t really reflect on what that is. But I think when you get to be 70 years old, you can sit back and go, Wow, I did good. We both tried our best when I say we both. I’m thinking of my husband. So I think that’s one of the gifts of growing older. I think another gift of growing older is that we don’t have to be the center of attention anymore, not the way that we did in more youthful days. We can kind of sit back a little bit and become the observer and become the appreciator. …That’s part of the gift of aging that you can actually sit still long enough to ponder these things.”
“I also think that there’s a period or an opportunity for reclamation. And what I mean by that is as we were growing up and becoming mature adults, there were things that we put aside because they just didn’t fit into the responsibilities and obligations that we needed to run our lives. For example, my husband was a musician and a bass player and loved the bass. And yet during most of our marriage, he didn’t touch the bass, but then we hit retirement years and suddenly he started playing the bass. Again, he reclaimed that for himself and the music keeps him mentally young and because of the magic of the internet he can play with any bands now online, he can go online and take online courses in the bass. And so there’s this great period of reclamation to you. We can reclaim those things. I think too that creativity is something that we can embrace in older years. We can give ourselves to the creative endeavor without having to worry about the accolades of fame and fortune around our art, our master gardening, our expert cooking, our writing. We can just do those things for the sake of creating and for the sake of art. And that definitely keeps us feeling, I think, vibrant and younger and gives us a sense of purposefulness in our life.”
“I think it’s a matter of surrendering what is it that you love to do that makes things, That can be master gardening, that can be music. It can be art, it can be any of those things. And I don’t think we’re as judgmental of ourselves at this phase of life as we were in our youth. So it doesn’t really matter what the picture looks like. You’re not trying to get into the Met. It’s just a matter of giving yourself to the process. It’s the process of creativity that I think speaks to our brain and our heart.”
“I think the big thing that we learned from women is that the word power means something different to women. And I think that as a culture, men and women have to redefine power for meaning more than it currently does. Power has been traditionally a male word. Men have power over something. It’s a warrior kind of word. Power means I can do what I want. I can take this from you. Power is for winners, that kind of power. When women talk about power, it’s more the sense of knowing themselves, standing in the knowledge of self, and approaching the world from a place that is more heart-oriented. Now, I don’t believe that men have to become like women or that women have to become like men. But what I see in the word power is that we have to find a greater balance with that word, that that word doesn’t necessarily have to mean I have power over you. That word can mean the power of self-confidence, the power of being kind, the power of giving ourselves, and giving of ourselves in the world. So I think that’s what men can learn from women at this particular time. And you will notice that women politicians use their power differently than men do.”
Stephanie Raffelock is a graduate of Naropa University’s program in writing and poetics. She has penned articles for numerous publications, including The Aspen Times, Quilters Magazine, Care2.com, Nexus Magazine, Omaha Lifestyles, and The Rogue Valley Messenger. Currently, she writes a monthly column for SixtyandMe.com. A recent transplant to Austin, Texas, she enjoys life with her husband, Dean, and their Labrador retriever, Jeter (yes, named after the great Yankee shortstop). Raffelock lives an active life that she fills with hiking, Pilates, and swimming in an attempt to offset the amount of time that she spends in her head thinking up stories and essays.
For More on Stephanie Raffelock
Creatrix Rising: Unlocking the Power of Midlife Women (New 8/24/2021)
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