Oprah’s Lifeclass Lesson 7: Notes on Aging Beautifully

Growing up in a home full of women, I’m not sure that we have ever OWNed our age.  We have turned 29 over and over again…never fully embracing our age, our wisdom and our journey.  Until now.  I am taking these notes from this class and sharing them with every woman that I can.  We have had incredible journeys.  Each year IS a blessing.  Each year IS a year of experience that counts.  Oprah, I’m learning with this Lifeclass and I’m hoping that Camile Crosby is right about the 40′s…and that the best is just about to begin.  Here are my notes…

  • OWN your age.  It who you are.  Love it. Love yourself.
  • What is your value card?  Is it beauty and youth?  Is this how you value yourself?
  • Case Study – Sybil Shepherd.  “My beauty is something that I did not earn.  That blessing opened doors for me.”  Played the fantasy that she was the most beautiful woman in the room but admitted that it was a cover up for her insecurities because she never really felt beautiful.  “Yes, I was defined by my beauty.”   People treat you differently when your beautiful…when you’re thinner…it’s a fact and we do it.  You allow the mirror of how other people see you to define yourself.  We use each other as projections to ourself. (i.e. look how good she looks at 45 or at 71).  If beauty is your calling card, at some point that’s going to start to fade.  What happens when you no longer look that way?  At 40, she realized that the beauty was fading.  “Turning 40 was traumatic. Turning 50, a disaster.  I stopped looking at myself in the mirror.”  She feared growing older because she feared becoming disposable and no longer having any value.  Whatever it is you thought you had, you don’t have anymore.  What happens when heads stop turning?  “Learning to love ourselves as we age is the most challenging  things we can do.  And that means really looking at yourself and finding something that you can love about your body.”
  • If you haven’t done the inner work – if you haven’t made a connection to begin to understand that your inner life is your real life – and that just like your external, everything external changes.  If you have cultivated your inner life, wisdom, and spirit, the aging process won’t be difficult because you will start accepting and stop resisting what that really is.
  • When you lie about  your age, you are lying about your life. You are denying those experiences and your very existence.
  • Cultivate an inner life – a life that is spiritual, deep, and wise where I understand that I am more than what I look like. I’m more than what I do. I’m more than what other people’s image of  what I look like and what I do is.  The understanding of who you are is necessary as you get older because as you begin to loose the external attraction it is your real responsibility to cultivate the inner attraction.  (WOW!)
  • Cultivating your inner connection to what really matters makes the aging process less difficult.
  • Cultivating your inner connection doesn’t mean that you don’t take care of yourself – you still exercise, eat right, etc…but your understanding about that inner connection and your life outside the external body helps you to find and connect with your true self worth.
  • Case Study – Ali MacGraw.  Be real. It’s hard to be authentic but it’s the only real joy.  What is the message that older women send to  younger, terrified 30 and 40 year olds if they deny their age – that life is over?  At 40, you’re just starting to wake up!
  • Some women are consumed by the fear of aging.   Fear is based upon you not feeling like you will be valued anymore in your life - and people are trying to hold on to the past,they are trying to hold on to what the used to be, hold on to the vision that they have of who they once were in order to maintain value in their lives.
  • External things fade away.  It’s nature and the natural process.
  • Cultivate a deeper sense of who you are.  Not having the attachment of what your body looks like. Not being defined by what your body looks like and what other people think.  Developing a deeper sense of your inner value helps you be less attached to external qualities.
  • Case Study – Beverly Johnson.  What is it really like to get older in front of cameras.  It’s tough to age in America.  Her beauty held her back from developing her inner self.
  • Fear of aging – people are afraid they will no longer matter so they are trying to hold on to what they think matters.
  • Camile Cosby – “Honey, the best is just about to begin for you because the greatest thing about turning 40 is that you stop living your life for other people and start living it for yourself.”  (about turning 40, getting older)
  • The best thing about getting older is that you grow into more of yourself, become more of who YOU are and were meant to be and stop living your life out of ego for other people.
  • Case Study – Jamie Leigh Curtis.  Allowing yourself the freedom of who you were meant to be.  It all boils down to being authentic and your essential self.  Aging well is giving yourself the freedom to be who you were meant to be.
  • Case Study – Bo Derek. ” I try not to worry about things I can’t do anything about.  Beauty – I had nothing to do with it. I was born with it.  I know I have become the best of myself.  The trade off of aging – the mind gets better and your happy about yourself.”
  • If you are blessed enough to grow older, I think of all the people who are not….Feel blessed to hold that space.
  • We live in a youth obsessed culture that is constantly trying to tell us that if we are not young that we don’t matter.  I refuse to let a system or a culture or a distorted view of reality tell me that I don’t matter.  I know only by owning who and what you are can you start to step into the fullness of life.  Every year brings us closer to expressing your whole and  healed self.
  • I’m grateful for every age I’m blessed to become and I hope that’s how you will start to look at your life.  It’s a blessing for every year you are able to say, “I am 43 years old.”  Oprah’s 57…I’m 43. :-)  Just getting used to OWNing my number.  If does feel freeing…I’m on my way!

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