Growing Older with Grace

Jennifer Dennard  @JennDennard
October 31, 2017  | Last Updated: October 31, 2017

My favorite season is here. Fall has arrived and with it, a hint of cooler temps and fabulous foliage. Now that the weather has started to change, I can finally indulge in the seasonal traditions of integrating my knee high-boots back into my wardrobe, and unpacking and displaying my autumnally appropriate household décor – a ritual my daughters love to take part in. Plus, the change of seasons wouldn’t be complete without lighting a few scented candles around the house. (I can’t quite bring myself to go so far as pumpkin spice just yet. Yankee Candle’s “Harvest” scent is a nice way to transition.)


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This particular fall also ushers in my 39th year. As 40 approaches, I’ve started to reflect on the ways in which I’m not so much my younger self. The fine lines of laughter and wisdom have definitely started to appear, as have streaks of silver that show up if my hair is parted just so. Gravity began to have its way with me several years ago, and so I’ve begun to eschew denim’s buttons and zippers for more giving fabrics that accommodate the cartwheels and handstands I’ll occasionally attempt alongside my gymnastics-loving youngest.

I have started paying more attention to the beauty products I use, leaning more towards anti-aging and firming creams and potions; and everything must have an SPF of at least 15. Minerals and supplements have also started to hold more allure. A daily vitamin and fiber supplement are musts, and I’ve been thinking about adding in a supplement for stronger hair and nails – both of which seem to be a bit more brittle than they were five years ago.

Growing older gracefully – at least when it comes to physical appearance – won’t be too tough for me. I hope to one day have a full head of beautiful silver hair just like my mom. (I still remember the first of many times a gentleman would approach her while we were out shopping with a compliment about her tresses.) I can already tell that I’ll fully live up to the stereotype of senior citizens who’ve lost whatever conversational filter they might have once possessed. My level of patience for people who don’t have a lick of sense drops with each passing year. Conversely, my penchant for telling those people exactly how much sense they lack is slowly escalating. Hopefully, the wisdom one accrues with age will also extend to knowing when to bite my tongue and give God’s good grace!

All in all, approaching 40 is much like any other year. (In fact, I’ve already decided to use the big 4-0 as an excuse to go on that girls’ tennis weekend I’ve always dreamed about.) It’s given me a greater appreciation for the way in which my mother and aunts have aged – gracefully but taking no guff! – and made me realize that my daughters will remember my mid-life years when they begin to go through their own.

I’ve decided to keep these tips in mind (read the full list of 60 here) as I make the transition from young mom/wife/professional to more seasoned mom/wife/professional:

  • Never stop learning and enhancing yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually.
  • Be grateful for every day, even bad days — there’s always a lesson to learn.
  • Learn to forgive (and don’t be afraid to do it).
  • Live simple, but save hard. Exercise, educate, read, and travel.
  • Focus on positive aging instead of anti-aging.
  • Love all the stages of your life and fear none, because they are all magical.

I’ve had the good fortune over my 39 years to have access to women older and wiser than me. Whether in my family, at church, or on my tennis teams, these ladies have been shining examples of what it means to embrace life at every age and stage. I only hope that I can be such an example 20 years from now. But first, bring on 40!


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