One of the best things we can do is learn from those who've walked the path before us.
Throughout my life, I’ve had the unique opportunity to spend a lot of time with older women. They range from age 40 to the early 60s, have been through life’s ups and downs, and freely share their experiences and hard truths wrapped in love.
I’ve learned a lot about careers, my relationship with God, and the nuances of life such as guys and dating. I’ve also learned something much more valuable: These women don’t allow their age to hinder them from continuously enjoying life. They live, and they live fully.
Here are 5 ways these ladies have taught me to live my life to the fullest, regardless of what age I am …
Understand you have a purpose regardless of your age
The older women in my life enjoy getting older. Yes, they may complain about their “personal summers” or that their knees don’t work the same, but they have contentment that keeps them going. They light up a room, they serve, and they share their lives with others.
They understand that their lives have purpose regardless of how old they are. They understand that young women like me need their experiences, their wisdom, and their motherly love to get through life’s seasons. As we age, we should all desire a long, fruitful life of purpose.
Hang out with a younger woman
This one is pretty obvious since I’m the young one writing this article, but we all stay young when we are around people who make us feel young. I’ve been blessed to have older men and women in my life who are in their 70s, but act like they’re 19. Not in immature way, but in a “young at heart” way. My dad can attest to this statement. No matter how old the calendar year says we are doesn’t mean we have to act or live that way.
We all benefit from one another and the more we can intertwine our lives together, the better we can navigate it. There’s nothing like someone who’s been through your season of life, coming alongside you, and telling you that you can get through this and willing to help you along the way.
Learn and try new things
The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” was wrong way before it was written. I’ve watched 64-year-olds learn how to knit, women diagnosed with autoimmune diseases run 5Ks, and 73-year-olds learn to use today’s social platforms. The best way to live a full life is to keep learning. The world is constantly changing and whether you’re 21 or 81 there’s always something we can learn.
Take a cooking class, learn photography, or invite someone over to give you a lesson in a topic you’ve always wanted to learn more about. Feed your brain as much as you feed your body because youthfulness is not just about one’s physical health but about mental health as well.
Use your trials for someone else’s life
Life is hard and we will endure suffering. When I was younger, my high school criminal justice teacher told my class, “If you haven’t been through anything yet, just keep living.” He was completely right. Trials can build us or break us — and we decide that outcome. However, trials can also serve as wonderful testimonies to someone going through their own hardships.
When I lost my mom last year, an older woman from my church drove me to my hometown, helped me prepare my mom’s funeral arrangements, and regularly helps me learn to live without my mom. She was able to do this because when she was 19 her mom also died unexpectedly. Instead of letting life get her down, she used what was an unbearable time in her life to pour into my equally unbearable time.
We can share the weight we carry and also help carry someone else’s weight. It’s always easier to feel younger when we know someone is willing to go through life with us.
I wanted to save the best for last because this is the most important point. Keep it honest. Say the hard stuff that so many of us don’t want to say. Life is not all daisies and roses. Some things we don’t have figured out, and guess what? We’re not expected to. I love and welcome people who keep me in check because I’m not perfect and I don’t want the world to think for a minute that I am. These women do that for me. They give me the hard advice not because their aim is not for me to be more like them, but to be more like Christ. And because of that, they put the mirror in front of me and bring the truth. The best people we can have in our lives are people unapologetically willing to tell us the truth, because in that truth we are free — and we all feel younger when we’re free.
This advice is truly for anyone at any age. I learned it from women much older and much wiser than me and I’m glad they serve as a reminder that aging is inevitable, but I get to decide the attitude I’m going to do it with.