Ageing Well, Living Well Over 50s Lifestyle

Ageing Well living an authentic life

March 29, 2020
Ageing Well living an authentic lifestyle

What does living an authentic life mean to you? My next guest in the Ageing Well, Living Well series, the lovely Jan Wild from Retiring, Not Shy!, explains what living an authentic life means to her and why it is a vital ingredient to our long term happiness and well being. I’ve know Jan for a few years now and admire her passion for providing positive ways and resources to embrace all aspects of Retirement. She also has a passion for fashion and I look forward to her fashion of the day posts on Instagram. You can connect with Jan through the links at the end of her article.

Ageing Well living an authentic life

What does it mean to age well and to live well in our later years (however we define ‘later years’)?

I suspect that in many ways the answer is as individual as we each are, but there are definitely some markers for ageing well

Perhaps I should start with what it isn’t; it isn’t a one size fits all. We see media images of ageing well (and of ageing badly) and it is easy to be conned into thinking that we need to match some or all of those positive images. The images are often somewhat extreme – women dressed a la Iris Apfel, men running marathons, you know the ones I mean. But the truth is for most of us living well and ageing well is much more mainstream. Don’t get me wrong, if your definition of ageing well fits those iconic models then go for it, you already know your answer and you probably don’t really need to be reading this post.

For me ageing well is about being authentic, because

only when we are authentic are we truly happy, and our middle years and beyond offer us the opportunity to really find ourselves and our unique voices.

How do we find our authentic selves?

We can only be truly authentic when we take into account and nurture all aspects of our selves; those being our physical, our mental, our emotional and our spiritual selves.

Stop right there, where did your thoughts go when you read those four aspects?

Did you immediately think oh yes, I need to work on my physical fitness, or I should meditate more often, I should read better literature, I need to work on my relationships? 

Any or all of those may be the case but I want you to consider whether you are looking at those selves from the point of view of your uniqueness or rather in comparison to others? If the latter, then you are not honouring your authentic self but rather you are seeking to attain some idealised model of ageing well, or worse perhaps, you have decided that it’s all over and you might as well give up.

Let me give you an example from my own life. I have spent a lot of time over the past two years working on improving my health and fitness. It would be easy for me to look at Sue for example who is a runner, or others who are lifting heavy weights. But neither of those are authentic goals for me: I am not and have never been a runner and I have no desire to be a body builder. But what I can do is create authentic goals for myself and I know they are authentic when my other selves feel comfortable with them.

If I look at my goal to exercise 5 times a week it ticks all my boxes. My physical body is comfortable with my plan because it has a mix of Pilates, walking and light weights and it makes me work but within reasonable limits. My mental body is comfortable because it can see how that mix can easily fit into my schedule and budget. My emotional body is comfortable because it can see that my goals are achievable and my spiritual body is comfortable because it can sense the balance this offers me and that it meets the needs of my true self; it fits clearly with my vision of a good life. My goal meets the needs of my authentic self. It allows me to age well by being the best I can be, the best I can be not what someone else can be. And that makes me happy.

Yes, but how do I create goals that meet the needs of my authentic self

Ageing Well living an authentic life

There are several tools and techniques I have successfully used to find and get to know my authentic self, they are as follows:

  • Spend time alone – it is so important in this world of 24/7 connection that we disconnect. Whether it is sitting quietly at home, walking alone in nature, perhaps swimming laps, it is critical that we remain connected to our inner self. We need to hear our own unique voice, that of our wise self, our inner child etc. Only solitude gives them a chance to be heard.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others – be clear on your goals and what makes you happy and disregard the rest. Know what you need rather than feeling jealous that your next door neighbour has a new car. Would that truly make you happy, and if so for how long?
  • Exercise gratitude – note what truly makes you grateful (not what you think should feel grateful for). Just as I put out my light at night, I like to note 5 things I am grateful for that day. They don’t have to be big things, but they will come from your authentic self.
  • Be aware of toxic relationships and remove yourself from them – and that includes family members where appropriate. It is a myth that all families are happy and nurturing, if that is the case for you then that is truly wonderful, but for many of us we may outgrow parts of our family and we need to acknowledge and honour that.
  • Self-nurture – whatever that means for you. It might be a quiet cup of tea or it might mean a trip to the beauty therapist. Make time to care for yourself

If you get to know and begin to truly honour your authentic self, I guarantee you will age well and live well – whatever that means for you. It might not happen overnight but it will happen, and the journey towards wholeness will be a true miracle.

Meet Jan

Ageing Well living an authentic life

Jan Wild blogs on retirement lifestyles at Retiring not Shy! Jan feels very strongly that our mid years and beyond can and should be the best times of our lives. Jan is a strong advocate for disrupting ageism and calls it out whenever she sees it, Jan and her partner Rowan live on the beautiful Sunshine Coast.

Connect with Jan

Follow Jan on her blog https://retiringnotshy.com.au

on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/retiring_not_shy/

on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/retiringnotshy 

on Pinterest   https://www.pinterest.com.au/Retiringnotshy/ 

and occasionally on Twitter   https://twitter.com/RetiringNotShy  

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27 Comments

  • Reply Toni Pike March 29, 2020 at 07:15

    Hi Jan, What a fabulous post. I’ve been trying to live a more authentic life in recent months, and I was delighted to read your thoughts on fitness and self-nurturing. Stay safe. Toni x

    • Reply Jan Wild March 30, 2020 at 13:27

      Thanks Toni, living authentically is definitely a journey not a destination. I am glad you found my thoughts on fitness and self-nurturing helpful, it is so easy to get caught up in others’ ideals. Take care and stay well.

  • Reply Jo March 29, 2020 at 09:44

    Thanks Jan, for a fabulous post. You know that I find you an inspiration (well, if you didn’t know it, you know it now) so I’m glad you’ve contributed to this series of Sue’s.

    • Reply Jan Wild March 30, 2020 at 13:28

      Ah Jo, I may have blushed! Thank you what a lovely compliment. I am so pleased you found the post useful. Warmest, Jan

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au March 29, 2020 at 13:19

    Hi Jan – great post! I’m such a fan of being our unique and authentic selves. When you choose to step away from all the IG and SM pressure, life just opens up. I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about allowing others to inspire us without feeling we need to imitate them, and I think your post touches on that too.

    • Reply Jan Wild March 30, 2020 at 13:34

      Hi Leanne, what a great way to put it; to be inspired without feeling the need to imitate. It is so true, I follow many women on Instagram who are far more glamorous than me but I take my own interpretation of style and my authenticity with me as I do. I have been recognised by brands for that very authenticity.

  • Reply Christine March 29, 2020 at 14:23

    Hi Jan and Sue, thank you for this great post! I certainly agree with finding our authentic self and how to go about doing that. I love all your points. I think that as we grow older we become more confident and comfortable in our own skin. I used to continually compare myself to others and sometimes still do. I understand so much better how self nurturing is so important. We deserve to honour ourselves in this way and not feel that we are being selfish and self indulgent. Nurture is one of my words for this year, and it seems very prophetic given our current circumstances! X

    • Reply Jan Wild March 30, 2020 at 13:37

      Hi Christine, yes I agree that many of us get more confident as we get older, I certainly have. Having said that there are loads of women who feel they have suddenly become invisible, and I write about that on the blog. Oh and yes self nurturing is so important, making oneself a priority is not always easy but I am a firm believer in putting my own oxygen mask on first – do I always do it, no, but I at least know when I fail to do so.

  • Reply Debbie Harris March 29, 2020 at 16:11

    Fabulous to read your words here Jan and I am all for living an authentic life. Your suggestions on how to go about this and your views are well thought out and very sensible. We all need to stop the comparisons with others and look at what truly makes us unique and happy. Thanks for a lovely thought provoking read today! Thanks Sue for another great guest 🙂

    • Reply Jan Wild March 30, 2020 at 13:39

      Thanks Debbie, it was great to have the opportunity to share my thoughts here. Not comparing ourselves can be a hard one to nail, in my experience it needs constant vigilance, but it’s definitely worth it.

  • Reply Penny March 30, 2020 at 03:20

    Nice article Jan. I must agree with your points although, luckily, I feel that as you age those ideas about not bothered how you look, avoiding bores, having some peace and quiet, alone with a glass of red and humility come more naturally. I have paraphrase for comedic effect. Or maybe that’s just me 🙂

    • Reply Jan Wild March 30, 2020 at 13:41

      Hi Penny, I definitely agree with making time for oneself but I am a firm believer in ‘getting up and getting dressed’ as part of my mental health. Not for comparison sakes mind you but as part of my self care.

  • Reply suzanne March 30, 2020 at 04:22

    Hi Jan, indeed, one size does not fit all and having a flexible and highly individual blueprint that incorporates ones core values is essential to personal growth and acceptance. I am not in the camp of those that think authenticity comes with age. Acceptance maybe, but not authenticity. That comes with intentional, gut wrenching, purposeful work. What you have offered today is spot on and very worthwhile guidance. Acknowledging the cornerstones of the Self followed by setting realistic goals and avoiding comparisons is a great place to begin. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.

    • Reply Jan Wild March 30, 2020 at 16:12

      Suzanne, thank you for your invaluable insights. I agree authenticity, wisdom and a host of other attributes are not build into the ageing process, although we may have more time to hone them. I have been out at the supermarket today and as I witnessed last week at our markets, it is middle aged and older people (mostly women) who have been totally unaware of others and very self centered. Is that authentic? I hope not! For me it is an example of people who are totally out of their bodies and whilst I acknowledge that stress can do that to us I hate to think what the rest of their lives might be like. As you say age in itself does not bring gifts unless we seek them out,open them and
      use them

  • Reply Donna Connolly March 30, 2020 at 06:20

    Hi, Jan – It’s wonderful seeing you here. So many of your examples resonated with me. (e.g. Unless there’s a fire, you’ll never catch me running)! Allowing ourselves to be authentic and genuine sounds so much easier than it is. As doing so can also leave us exposed, raw and vulnerable. Your strategies and suggestions are great to put in place and to pursue. Like with most things, practice makes perfect. Hope to see you on the Sizzling Toward Sixty Zoom call shortly!

    • Reply Jan Wild March 30, 2020 at 16:15

      Hi there Donna. Yes it can definitely leave us exposed and vulnerable, particularly in close relationships. One definitely has to take the risk that some people won’t like our authentic selves – I learn that lesson almost daily on social media where pussy footing seems to be the order of the day. Of course there is no room for rudeness but there is also no room for BS (pardon my language).

  • Reply Natalie March 30, 2020 at 08:47

    Thank you, Jan, for sharing your thoughts on Ageing well and living an authentic life. Your suggestions are spot on. Some people are not comfortable with being alone and miss the opportunity to let their own voice be heard. Thank you, Sue, for this great series. #lifethisweek

  • Reply Jan Wild March 30, 2020 at 16:17

    Hi Natalie, you are right that some of us don’t like being alone and that is usually because we are frightened of what we might hear if we listen to our inner guidance, I find that incredibly sad. How awful to think about living a life where you never get to be yourself

  • Reply Jennifer Jones March 30, 2020 at 16:55

    Hi Jan I agree with all you say about living a unique and authentic life. I found it to be a much more peaceful and simple life.

    • Reply Jan Wild April 3, 2020 at 13:39

      Thanks Jennifer, that’s great to hear and I agree it is the best way to live, whatever that means for the individual (which is of course the very point)

  • Reply Deborah March 31, 2020 at 01:48

    All great points Jan and I completely understand where you’re coming from in talking about needing to adopt habits that feel authentic to you. I’m yet to work out what mine are… but hope I can sooner rather than later!

    • Reply Jan Wild April 3, 2020 at 13:39

      Hi Deb, I hope the tools in the post help you figure that out. It’s definitely worth the effort.

  • Reply Christie Hawkes April 1, 2020 at 22:31

    Thank you, Sue, for this series; and thank you Jan for the solid advice. I especially appreciate the five tools. One of my daily affirmations is “I am honest. I am real.” This enforces in me the need to be authentic…with my inner self and in the face I present to others. I hope you are have a lovely week. Stay safe!

    • Reply Jan Wild April 3, 2020 at 13:41

      Hi Christie, thank you. It’s always good to have a tool refresh I find. I love your affirmation, totally authentic in intent. Yes, you enjoy your weekend and stay well.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 14:48

      Thank you Christie, I’ve enjoyed the series and although it will be ending soon I will bring it back later in the year. x

  • Reply Denyse Whelan April 2, 2020 at 13:28

    What a lovely read this was Jan and Sue. Thank you so much for sharing this genuine and authentic woman’s words. Loved the takeaways too.

    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week, the optional prompt is 14/51 Self-Care Stories #2. 6.4.2020 and I hope to see you link up then too. Denyse.

    • Reply Jan Wild April 3, 2020 at 13:45

      Thanks so much Denyse, I am glad you enjoyed the posts and the ideas for finding greater authenticity. Stay well!

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