“How can I age more gracefully?” This is a thought many women, and likely some men, have pondered more than once as they creep toward middle or late-middle age.
So, 60 is the new 40, right? Take a look at Kathie Lee Gifford and you'll believe it. Gifford turned 60 on Friday. Yep, 60. She looks amazing and seems to feel great, or maybe that's the booze working in her favor. (On the fourth hour of “Today,” hosts Kathie Lee & Hoda drink wine and cocktails most every morning.)
The problem is, she took her 60th birthday a little rough.
Last week, during the lead-up to her birthday, Gifford forbade Hoda Kotb to say the word “sixty,” making her take a shot every time she said it. Some of the shots were water; some were vodka.
Viewers on the show were encouraged to share their ways of saying they're turning 60 in less bothersome terms: turning “sexty,” “four decades short of a century” (and from appearing on Willard Scott's list), “three score,” a “sexagenarian,” and “five years away from mandatory Medicare.”
First, let's get real. Gifford is a gorgeous senior, and most of us can't expect to afford to age as well as she can. But, we can make aging less uncomfortable and make stating our age something to be proud of. And we can throw a huge party, like the one “Today” threw for Gifford, to celebrate every birthday.
Here are tips from some local experts for defying your number and aging fantastically.
Accept the rule of life that you can't be a kid forever.
Charlotte Lankard, licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Oklahoma City, who also writes a weekly column for The Oklahoman:
“Getting older is simply different (than being younger), and my own life is fuller, richer and more honest. I no longer waste time pretending and performing.
“An important part of the aging process lies in getting accustomed to being older. Our job is to stay as well as we can, to remain active, to do things that interest us and make life richer for those around us. We have spent our lives ‘doing,' and the challenge is now “What am I when I am not what I used to do?” It is a time of coming home to one's self. And it's a time of ‘being'; not being someone different, but more of who we are — being honest, caring, curious and available, involved, and coming to each day with intention.”
Contact Lankard by email at email@example.com, online at http://charlottelankard.com or by phone at 286-0077.
Maintain and even improve your health.
Danny Cahill, winner of Season 8 of “The Biggest Loser,” of Broken Arrow:
“Health isn't just a luxury, it's a way of life. When I was 460 pounds, I would have given anything to be healthy; well, almost anything. Seems I wouldn't even give myself the time of day! I'd use excuse after excuse as for why I couldn't get healthy — when it would just take some good decisions and 45 minutes a day! I just sat there on my excuses and wouldn't even get out of my chair — because it hurt. Turns out that giving myself the care was exactly what I needed! About 70 percent of the exercise I used to lose 239 pounds was walking. And all walking took was time and persistence.
“Since winning ‘The Biggest Loser,' I not only get out of my chair, but I've run two marathons — including the Boston Marathon — and I feel better than I did when I was 20 years old. For the record, I just turned 44 — a young age to many, but had I stayed 460 pounds I might be dead. Living a healthy lifestyle has changed my life in more ways than I can count. I am off all medications, I no longer have sleep apnea, and I enjoy life so much more because I am able to give more to my family.
“Exercise and eating a healthy diet are the top two ways to age gracefully. As for me, I plan to be as healthy as I am today when I turn 70! I know the cost of being overweight and unhealthy.”
Contact Cahill at www.LoseYourQuit.com or www.TheDannyCahill.com.
Laugh for the health of it.
Ellen Mercer, certified Laughter Yoga teacher and leader in Oklahoma City:
“One of the things that our founder always teaches in our trainings is that seniors are the population that most needs Laughter Yoga. As we age, we tend to become less active, shallow breathers and have losses to deal with as well as new aches and pains. This exercise protocol is perfect and very inexpensive and adaptable for this senior segment.
“Laughter Yoga is a concept for using laughter as an exercise in a session where humor is not the laughter stimulant. We just laugh for the health of it, with deep yogic breathing and childlike playfulness encouraging lots of eye contact and enthusiasm. We know from worldwide studies using laughter yoga exercise that it really is an effective, cost-efficient and easy solution for improving stress levels and wellness.”
Mercer offers weekly free laughter sessions to provide the opportunity for folks to at least try out this unique program and invites any senior groups to contact her for experiential laughter sessions or seminars on the benefits of bringing more laughter into their lives.
“I have been sharing these unconditional belly laugh sessions since 2007 with various ages, but especially attracting those over 50. ... and (I) always get positive feedback like ‘I feel so much lighter, joyful or have less pain,' or ‘I have not laughed this much since I was a young child.' ”
Contact Mercer at www.EllenMercer.com or 947-2653.
Love yourself, no matter what.
Micaela Bubola Passeri, fashion designer and founder of Love You Revolution of Los Angeles:
“It goes back to accepting yourself, just as you are. It doesn't matter how many wrinkles you have. It's what's inside, it's who you are, what you stand for, your values, your actions, the words that you speak, how kind you are. If you've got wrinkles, or your skin is sagging, that's piddle compared to the amount of gifts that you can offer.
“If you find yourself feeling badly about yourself or letting that critical inner voice speak too loudly, say affirmations, such as ‘I am a beautiful, capable woman (or man!).' Give yourself the same compassion you would offer your best friend.”
Passeri offers experiential workshops and mentorship to help those on their soulful journey of self-discovery and self-love. This week, she gave a special workshop at Earlywine YMCA in Oklahoma City.
Contact Passeri at www.loveyourevolution.com.