Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

How Bette Davis, Eleanor Roosevelt and Valerie Harper Are Examples Of Aging Gracefully

Body, Mind, Spirit

“Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them.  The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.” ~Voltaire

Shh.  Listen.  Do you hear that?

The gentle whispers of brave souls who have gone before us.  They are part of the fabric of who we are today.  Courageous women, quietly sharing their parables filled with wisdom.  They discuss the enormity of the adversities they faced.  They tell tales of meeting their challenges with bravery, honesty and humility.

I picture them sitting in a room with large, fluffy pillows scattered about, like Oprah might have for a gal pal sleepover.  On one pillow sits Bette Davis (her pillow is embroidered with her “Old Age Is Not For Sissies” quote), holding court and discussing the challenges of breast cancer with Joan of Arc, who tries to explain the ridiculous sentencing by the English after labeling her a heretic. Eleanor Roosevelt easily chats with Rose Kennedy about staying married to an unfaithful husband.  Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Althea Gibson swap stories about their gift of athleticism occurring when the wide world of sports was strictly a men’s only club.

Their whispers envelop us, subliminally reminding us that these brave women paved our road, demonstrating how we can travel alongside adversity by aging gracefully with bravery, honesty and humility.

The Open Road

We all heard the recent shocking news about veteran actress Valerie Harper receiving a diagnosis of incurable brain cancer.  Like all of her fans, I was devastated.  Yet in the face of her adversity, Harper maintained her usual effervescent style by choosing to live every moment to the fullest.  As she said in a recent Today Show interview, “It could be a week, it could be three months, and it could be several years.  I’m not dying until I do.”

“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Aging gracefully is not only about finding the perfect wrinkle cream, the best way to lose belly fat or buying the perfect outfit for a dinner party.  Aging gracefully is more about learning from the teachers of our past, and from those who live among us.  Their attitudes, their steadfastness in the face of tremendous obstacles have proven how we, too, can face the inevitability of getting older with determination and grit.

In her book “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom”, Dr. Christiane Northrup discusses our ageist culture and how it convinces women that menopause signals the end of vitality and attractiveness.  She suggests, “What we can do is consider ourselves pioneers on a new frontier, one at which menopause and aging will be redefined.  This is clearly possible…I see this happening everywhere I go as women around the world decide to age with power, strength, and beauty.”

“The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.  It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.” ~ Audrey Hepburn

My recipe for aging gracefully is a simple one:

  1. Look in the mirror and see the beauty within you.
  2. Reflect on the blessings surrounding you each day.
  3. Begin a gratitude journal and list three positive things you learned that day.
  4. List three things you like about yourself.
  5. Read biographies about people you admire.
  6. Make time to take walks, and notice the beauty in nature.
  7. Tell the people you love how you feel about them (including your pets.)
  8. Each day is a gift, each hour an opportunity to enjoy life.
  9. Follow your passions.
  10. Take time to laugh, sing, dance and be silly.

What’s your recipe for aging gracefully?

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DISCLAIMER:  Comments from An Empowered Spirit are brought to your attention on topics that could benefit you and should be discussed with your doctor or other medical professional. I am not medically trained and my posts are of a journalistic nature and not in lieu of medical advice. An Empowered Spirit and its author will not be held liable for any damages incurred from the use of this blog or any data or links provided.

 

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57 thoughts on “How Bette Davis, Eleanor Roosevelt and Valerie Harper Are Examples Of Aging Gracefully

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Thanks, Nora! I appreciate your lovely comments.

      This “hop” is part of a group I was invited into – Generation Fabulous. Your blog looks so lovely!

      Have a wonderful day~
      Cathy

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Thanks for your enthusiasm, Mary Anne! I appreciate your lovely comments.

      Have a wonderful day~
      Cathy

  1. Pingback: Aging Gracefully or Why I Won’t Be Learning to Tap Dance | Ambling & Rambling

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Really, Deb? I can’t believe Agent 99 is 80. I remember meeting her at an autograph show with Jordan a few years back and she still looked sexy and fabulous.

      Thanks for leaving your comments.
      Cathy

  2. Pingback: What is this “aging gracefully” of which you speak? | After the kids leave

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Thanks, Amanda. I run around in circles anyway, but can you imagine how dizzying we would be without those great ladies that came before us?

      Thanks for leaving your lovely comments,
      Cathy

  3. Pingback: Kicking Old Age’s Butt, Figuratively Speaking Of Course Because Old Age Doesn’t Have A Butt | TheFurFiles

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  5. Pat

    Lovely post, Cathy. I am “filled with the gentle whispers of the brave souls who have gone before” me including my grandmothers.

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Yes, Pat. You get it exactly. Our grandmothers, aunts, friends, etc. They all are with us, in spirit. I prefer to imagine them sharing a comfy couch chatting in comfort, as they all richly deserve.

      Best~
      Cathy

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      D.A – hey!

      I love that you wrote you “love this post big time…” Makes me feel like dancing…!

      Aging is all about attitude, and you certainly have the best attitude, my friend.

      Best to you~
      Cathy

  6. Beverly Diehl

    I love the concept of those fabulous women sitting around having a convo about these things! Would love to be a fly on the wall with Bette Davis and Eleanor Roosevelt. With Dorothy Parker perhaps dropping in an acidic word or two.
    Beverly Diehl recently posted…If I May, If I MightMy Profile

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Don’t you love that thought, Beverly? I’d watch out for Bette, though. She can throw barbs with the best of them.

      Thanks for reading my post and leaving your comments. I’m so glad you enjoyed my post!

      Best~
      Cathy

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      My goodness, Connie. Thank you for your kind words. You make me feel lighter!

      Best always~
      Cathy

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Thank you, Walker. I really do picture those women dancing on clouds together, telling their tales and singing their songs. We have so much to learn from their examples.

      As we move forward we will make our own mark in our own way. I hope I do my dance as gracefully as possible.

      Thanks for reading my post and leaving your thoughtful comments.

      Cheers~
      Cathy

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Thanks, Cynthia. Do you happen to know when that episode will air? I heard it’s in April. I do NOT want to miss it.

      Thanks for your lovely comments. It’s always a joy to hear from you.

      Best~
      Cathy

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Sharon,

      You really got me on that comment. Kleenex time, please! Thank you so very much for your extraordinary comment. I sincerely appreciate it.

      I am pleased to have you read my post, and I look forward to more “chats” with you!

      Best always~
      Cathy

  7. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    A powerful post! I love this: “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.” ~Henry David Thoreau. You are so very right about following the lead of those who’ve gone before us. And I love your idea of a gratitude journal. I recently starting putting “good news” into a Mason jar, to be read on New Year’s Eve to remember all the good that came throughout the year that I likely will have forgotten about by then.
    Lisa @ Grandma’s Briefs recently posted…Picture this: Mates for lifeMy Profile

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      What a great idea to put entries into a canister. I can’t remember what I did yesterday! Oh, yeah, I tried to read everyone’s posts while doing work. Well, most days I can’t remember. I think I’m going to copy your idea. It’s a marvelous one.

      Thanks so much for reading my post and leaving your thoughtful comments. Always a joy to hear what you have to say!

      Best~
      Cathy

  8. Lois Alter Mark

    I love everything about this piece — the amazing women you honor here, the quotes and especially your recipe. That’s a list that should be hanging on every woman’s mirror. I’m going to find a good biography of one of these heroines — nothing is more inspiring than women who are aging gracefully in their own unique way. Like the GenFab women. Like you. xo
    Lois Alter Mark recently posted…Forget Aging Gracefully. I’m Planning to Age Gratefully.My Profile

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      OK, Lois. Had to grab the Kleenex for your comments. Sniff, sniff.

      Thank you so much for leaving your lovely comments! I am thrilled you liked my post. Truly.

      I love biographies and love how they inspire me to be a better person. Even if someone does something a little less “nice” we can learn from that, too. Perhaps we’ll find some at the Book Expo?????!!!

      Thank you, sister. For your comments, for your friendship, and for being the true person you are. It’s a joy getting to know you.

      Best~
      Cathy

  9. Helene Cohen Bludman

    You have inner beauty and wisdom, my friend. What a lovely and thoughtful post. So enjoyed it, Cathy.

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Oh, my. Thank you so very much, Helene. What a lovely thing to say.

      I am glad you enjoyed my post (as I enjoyed yours!) We shall age gracefully together, eh?

      Have a wonderful day~
      Cathy

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Ginger Kay,

      Everything and anything Audrey said had to do with grace and dignity. Some people say beautiful things, but Audrey also lived them. I love everything about her. I am glad you and I share a true fondness for her. Well deserved.

      Thanks for leaving your comment.

      Best~
      Cathy

  10. Chloe Jeffreys

    You, and all these other fantastic ladies participating in this bloghop, are proving that menopause is absolutely NOT the end of vitality and vibrancy.

    Three marvelous things about you that I’ve noticed: 1) you are a natural at being social, 2) you are hugely supportive of other women and their dreams and goals, and 3) you are an inspiration of vibrancy to everyone whose life you touch. for being you.

    Thank you.

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Chloe,

      You never cease to amaze me in your spirit, generosity and humanity. Your work with GenFab has lifted me up at a time where I didn’t think I would survive in the blogging world, let alone believe I’d meet such fab friends like you.

      Your comments touched my heart. I must have read them 20 times, even aloud to my husband. I dearly thank you. You will forever be attached to my heart.

      Cheers, my friend~
      Cathy

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Oh, we can definitely add wine to the mix! How about some chocolate? I loved the movie “Defending Your Life” portraying Heaven as a place where you can eat as much as you want and it doesn’t matter. Pretty cool concept, eh? Of course we won’t find out for a very, very, very long time (G-d willing!)

      Thanks for your lovely comments.

      Best~
      Cathy

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Thanks, Joy.

      I love biographies. They tell tales of lives that are different from our own, sharing perspectives that might not have occurred to us. They teach us (good and bad) and can inspire us. Knowledge IS power.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Best~
      Cathy

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Oh, yes Caryn. I try to pay it forward by writing for 3 health sites and doing some peer work for others with MS. We all need to remind ourselves how blessed we are, and the importance of helping others. What a great #11!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your lovely insights.

      Best~
      Cathy

  11. Holly

    Now this is a recipe I am going to keep and follow to the letter! I think I might just print this out and post it on my mirror. What a wonderful post. I love your perspective on aging gracefully 🙂

    Holly

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Thank you, Holly. Yes! Print it out. I have poems on my mirror to remind me to do some daily meditations. It really helps. What a fab idea.

      Thanks so much for reading my post and leaving your lovely comment.

      Best~
      Cathy

  12. Pam@over50feeling40

    Cathy, I think you and I would have an immediate connection were we to sit down over a cup of coffee or tea!! Your post resonates with everything I believe…and you wrote it so beautifully!! Well done…enjoyed every minute!

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Yes, we will have to Skype one morning and share a cup of coffee! It would be even more delightful in person.

      Thank you for your very lovely comments, Pam. I appreciate all you said. Truly.

      Have a wonderful (and fashionable) day! (I LOVE your blog…)

      Cheers~
      Cathy

  13. Barbara Coleman

    I think one of the problems for us mature women is that we had a few great women to look up to…..Here’s hoping, that because of sheer numbers and experience we can be the mentors for all the women who have not yet hit the “mature” status…..

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      You are so right, Barbara. That’s the other end of the matter. That we leave this earth a better place for the women who come after us. To set examples of strength, inner beauty and intelligence in all matters, at all times. That is the gift we shall leave them.

      Great comment. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thanks for leaving it for me.

      Cheers~
      Cathy

  14. Lee Aldrich

    Well this just makes me want to stand on my chair and yell BOOYAH at the top of my lungs. My blog partner, Barbara Joy, is a huge Dr. N fan. She introduced me to her work. Thank you for the fabulous imagery, thoughtfulness, and kick ass piece of work!

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Ah, Lee. What a fabulous comment! BOOYAH in unison, girl..

      I am so glad you liked my post and I thank you for leaving your kick-ass comment.

      Best always~
      Cathy

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Thank you, Bonnie. It’s like the old saying, “You don’t where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from.” Women should always be aware of those who came before us. Such an important thing to do.

      I appreciate you leaving your lovely comments and reading my post.

      Have a wonderful day~
      Cathy

  15. Pingback: What is this “aging gracefully” of which you speak? | After the Kids Leave

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