Three Things You Need To Do To Age With Confidence

Meditations in Motion

Track intervals are once again part of my running routine. I have a love/hate relationship with intervals.

I would much rather do speedwork at the track than a slow long run.

Both are considered “quality workouts” by runners, building speed and endurance, respectively. Both involve prior mental preparation, gathering fortitude before attempting a demanding task. Both involve pain, or at least discomfort.

The discomfort of the long run is lower intensity, but longer-lasting; the pain of running intervals is sharp, it will take your breath away. It is, thankfully, over quickly, like ripping off a Band-Aid.

I will never forget the first time I ran intervals with several running friends.

One woman in our group, 18 years my senior, beat me in every race we ran together.

I shared with her my surprise that she worked out at the track.

Laurie,” she told me “you have to work at getting faster.” Except she spoke with a German accent, so “work” sounded like “verk“.

She became my first running mentor.

Meditations in Motion

I have had plenty of strong women mentors over the years.

When I first began teaching chemistry at the school I retired from (after a 30+-year career), I had spent the previous eight years at home with my young children and working part-time as a waitress.

I was focused on potty training, not quantum mechanics, molecular structure, and stoichiometry. A lot of the professional instruction I received in college was stuck in the cobwebs in dusty, long-buried recesses of my mind.

Luckily, in rooms adjacent to mine, there resided a math teacher, a physics teacher, and another chemistry teacher, all experienced, no-nonsense, well-loved and respected women who generously shared their hard-earned wisdom with a young, inexperienced, and insecure teacher.

I asked them so many questions, I am sure they rolled their eyes (inwardly) when I walked into their rooms after school.

Sometimes I needed concrete answers to practical questions; sometimes I just needed a teacher I admired to reassure me I was on the right track, handling delicate situations the proper way.

Meditations in Motion

Now, as an older woman myself, I appreciate the courage, the audacity it must have taken for these women to help me.

In a culture that values youth, beauty, and the next new thing, it is easy to lose your confidence as you get older. Tasks that once seemed simple, like driving or paying the bills on time, now cause me to question my ability to complete them competently.

When I suffer from self-doubt, my initial response is to become diffident, timid, reticent.

I need reassurance that it’s OK to be bold.

Even at my age.

Especially at my age.

What is the difference between living a life of anxiety and angst in our later years and living one of confidence, fortitude, and, dare I say it, sass?

I have some thoughts.

Meditations in Motion

Loving the quirky, passionate, feisty, intrepid, vibrant, badass person you are is step number one in aging with confidence.

Wear bold colors, try sporting a scarf, heck, get some skinny jeans, if that’s who you are. Or maybe you are a caftan person, or you like beige, or lace, or even leather. Now is the time to do it. Express yourself.

We must have the insight and courage to accept and appreciate ourselves exactly as we are, impatience, wrinkles, crankiness, thin hair and all.

This is the time when we know who we are. Or at least, we should.

Appreciate the unique personality that makes you you.

Bring the unflattering comparisons of yourself to others or even to a younger version of you to a stop. Now.

When we are 14 and envy the “cool kids“, who always seem to wear fashionable clothes, sport flattering haircuts, and have a social life jam-packed with hilarious hijinks, it’s understandable; we haven’t had the chance to learn to know (and love) ourselves yet.

Teenagers are still figuring out their values, learning how to be the person they are meant to be.

When we do it after mid-life, it’s regrettable.

This is the time in our lives when we can look inside for answers (or maybe to a Higher Power, if you are so inclined.) We don’t need a guru, “cool kid“, or other external authority to tell us how to live.

We have the knowledge; we need the courage to look within.

Be brave enough to suck at something new.

This is not a phrase I invented (unfortunately). I got it from social media, but I love it.

There is so much to love in this simple eight-word concept- boldness, getting out of a rut, trying novel activities, and learning, learning, learning.

Now is the time in our lives where we can take the risk of failure without personally feeling like a failure if we don’t succeed (at first).

We have a whole lifetime of successes behind us that we can look back on to give us confidence.

Now is the time to take that drawing class, accept new volunteer opportunities, learn French. If you find it’s not for you, so what? Try something else.

Or maybe, maybe you could become a mentor.

There are plenty of faint-hearted, twitchy, insecure, self-doubting younger people who need your wisdom and experience.

I know. I was one of them.

 

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

71 comments

  1. A friend of mine from high school, along with her husband, recently took up the challenge of mentoring young married couples at their church. Such a wonderful ministry! And though I don’t feel the need to take up something new, I’ll never tire of learning something new each and every day. Keeps the aging mind agile!
    Blessings, Laurie!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice post Laurie! First off, I hate speed work – I get injured every time! Somehow life has gotten harder, but I couldn’t be happier – the 50’s have been the best decade yet. I used to fear turning 50 – I cried the day I turned 50. But soon thereafter, I felt free! Not a fan of the changing body and the fact I no longer have a waist, but other than that – its all good. Even the stray gray eyebrow hairs :-).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! Oh, Pam…I pluck those gray eyebrow hairs as soon as I find them! πŸ™‚ I am having a wonderful ride but I do have to look a little bit harder for my confidence than I used to! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said!
    I remember how insecure I felt as a young woman and how I envied older women who β€žhad it all figured out.β€œ
    Now I realise that they didn’t necessarily have it all figured out, they were just confident.
    Now I’m trying to be that confident person for younger generations. Or the one brave enough to suck at something new. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Catrina, you’re at the sweet spot in life where you have enough experience to be confident but the anxiety of getting older hasn’t set in. One area I question my abilities is cooking for a crowd. When my 3 boys were teenagers, I was used to cooking for a lot of people – my parents, my in-laws, the boys, their friends, etc. Now it’s just Bill and I and I cook for 2. When we have a family gathering I wonder if I can still manage to pull it off.

      You are a wonderful role model for younger women. Show them your confidence! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, I think it becomes a bit easier as we get older to accept ourselves as we are. And there is so much value in those mentoring relationships between younger and older women. I’m in that weird in-between place right now where I’m so grateful for all I can learn from older women, but I’m also realising I have something to offer to others that are younger and I’m trying to invest time in that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love love love this. I think I’ve mentioned before how I like how you compare life to running (and vice versa) and yes, it all has to be worked at. My fave though is not to be afraid to suck at something new. Love it. Oh wait, I already said that, didn’t I?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Boy, you and Anita are really trying to get me to stretch and grow in new ways, aren’t you, Laurie?! πŸ˜‰ But I might just take you up on it! I’m getting a new knee–knee replacement–in April. I’ve had a bad knee since I was 12, so I was just thinking the other day that I might actually get to take up running, like so many of my friends (like you) do! Not sure if that’s possible (on an artificial knee, that is) but I’m excited to get to try and find out! Thanks, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck with your knee replacement, Beth. I have had friends who have had new knees put in and they wondered why they waited so long to do it! Sending prayers and good thoughts your way.

      Like

  7. Boy, so true! I agree about learning and trying new things especially. It can be a struggle, but it is invigorating! And if you are comfortable with failing while you learn things, so much the better. Otherwise, that’s a good skill to pick up πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think that’s a very important lesson for life, Laurie: being bold and putting yourself out there. Risk it> It’s something I’m trying to get our soon to heed more. A great boy, but waits for things to happen, others to make the first move. But to do it in a way that he feels challenged, emboldened, rather than criticised.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Enda. It takes courage to put yourself out there. I am learning as I get older that it takes courage to say “yes”. I think your boy will find his brave sooner or later. My youngest was the same way and he eventually came into his own.

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  9. “I appreciate the courage, the audacity it must have taken…”–Laurie, when I read this part of the sentence, I thought it was going to end with something along the lines of “…for me to speak up and ask.” Asking, too, takes courage & audacity! Perhaps more, as we age? I guess that’s part of the being BOLD, like you said. Such a rich, meaningful & vulnerable post. I so appreciate you showing up so generously here.
    P.S. I wonder if you’ll find some colorful scarves on your trip to Morocco?! Guess we’ll find out in a few weeks πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, asking definitely does take courage, but I understand more and more as I get older how much courage it takes to say “Yes” too!

      I am hoping for colorful scarves in Morocco! πŸ™‚

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  10. Thank you for sharing this! I love the phrase: be brave enough to suck at something new. You are never too old to learn something new. At 50, I have just taught myself to make jewellery using wire and wire weaving. I love it. It’s all about confidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love this :). I didn’t start running intervals until last summer. I have no track nearby, so I have to do them on the treadmill or the road. I’m not a fan. But I’m not afraid to suck at something new :).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh boy. I cry at this one, Laurie. I’ve definitely lost confidence in several things because I’m aging. Thanks for the courage to NOT grow less courageous but to be more courageous instead. Blessings to you, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I grew up with the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I don’t know about dogs, but that is so not true for people! I’ve been delighted to continue to learn new things and grow. And it’s funny that my kids are so proud of me when I learn something technological. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I like the text on the red cover a lot. Yes, be brave be bold be beautiful be you. There is a lot to learn which improves our brain plasticity, and if not now, when? Thanks, Laurie, for sharing your insights. #lifethisweek

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I have only had one mentor and that was at the ad agency and I often wonder how my working life would have turned out had we not lost our major advertising client (Chrysler – our agency and two other ad agencies were fired by Lee Iacocca in 1979). I never had another mentor after Jerry. You were lucky other teachers took you under their wing until you felt you could fly solo and with confidence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! You were part of history with Lee Iacocca and Chrysler. I didn’t know you worked for an ad agency. That must have been exciting!

      I was so lucky these generous ladies took me under their collective wings. I still see all of them today.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie – Lee Iacocca was one of the most demanding clients ever … our art directors and writers could not make him happy. They’d make a presentation and he demanded they be out there at Chrysler World Headquarters at 7:00 a.m. – he’d poo-poo the new idea and call it garbage – they’d return and work all day and be there the next day. He fired all three agencies on one day – the Chrysler Marine Division (one agency), the Chrysler Lease Division (another agency) and us (Young & Rubicam) that did all the big car ads (Hal Linden – Newport, Ricardo Montalban – Cordoba) plus we did all the local dealer ads (using Judy Strangis as “Mean Mary Jean” – she was “Helen” on the Room 222 show. I did a post about him when he died … my first/only mentor.
        https://lindaschaubblog.net/2015/03/25/not-all-ad-men-are-mad-men/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it was fun and I was sad to see so many of my coworkers go as a result of losing our biggest client. In the Creative Department, the copywriters and art directors are always on the move, always looking to climb the ladder for a bigger chance to show off their skills. I do often wonder how my life would have turned out though.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Laurie – I feel quite proud of myself because I’m ticking these boxes off quite nicely. I love being this age – I don’t need to shout about it, but I do celebrate it every chance I get – with colour, with a smile, with joy, with trying new things, being kinder, being nicer, and shutting up my inner critic every time she starts niggling away at me. I think blogging is a great way to remind ourselves of how well we’re nailing Midlife – so here’s a high five from me x

    Liked by 1 person

  17. The word “confidence” got me in. You see, I thought I was a confident woman…at least I can give the appearance of being one, but in recent years my confidence has declined. My own version of it anyway. I can be a harsh inner critic. So, I am slowly building confidence in some areas and liking it but also knowing at 70 and still getting over a very major and rare cancer, that I also need time out. Last weekend I dressed up (for me) and spoke off the cuff about my cancer to an audience of 100 and was applauded and thanked afterwards. It helped me see I already have it, I just need to show it more often.
    Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week’s optional prompt is: 11/51 My Neighbourhood 16.3.2020. Hope to see you there too. Denyse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand completely about confidence declining as we get older. It does become more difficult to hold on to, doesn’t it? Good for you for having the bravery to speak about a very personal topic like cancer to 100 people! I am sure you helped many people through your speech. Thank you for hosting.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. This is SO GOOD, Laurie! This week, I’m helping my daughter make sourdough starter for a biology project. I’ve always been too timid to try this, but my desire to learn something new now outweighs my reservations that it won’t work. Plus, if one of the starters doesn’t work very well, that will make for a better science project, right? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lois. I love sourdough starter! I started some from scratch about 10 years ago and it has survived my haphazard care for all those years! Learning from mistakes is an important part of the scientific process!

      Like

  19. Aging has certainly made me less confident. I love the phrase “be brave enough to suck at something new” .

    At 57, I am now trying out new hobbies to suck at! LOL!

    Insightful post as always, Laurie.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. This is great, Laurie! I am so trying to age with confidence. Being active (fit), eating clean, and getting the right amount of rest helps me. Now, I need to step out of my comfort zone and be brave enough to try something new! Great post!

    Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. We should appreciate ourselves for all the good things and stop comparing ourselves to others or even our own younger selves. I have particular trouble with my wobbly tummy but think of the 3 amazing children that have stretched my body and taken it to its limits and remember to be grateful. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

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