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13 Powerful Lessons for Aging Well, Inside and Out

By Marcia Smalley July 31, 2020 Mindset

Life is short. Take the trip. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake. (Anonymous)

The older I get, the harder it is to argue with this advice. Knee deep into my sixth decade, I’ve gathered a few more pearls of wisdom along the way. These lessons are helping me blaze an easier trail through my journey of aging.

The first seven are about “self care.” I’m discovering we don’t need a Fountain of Youth if we can establish a few simple ground rules. Here are a few suggestions for aging well.

Choose the Movements of Your Life

Remaining active is vital to aging well – in any situation. Whether it’s tending the garden or running a marathon, identify ways to get moving that harmonize with how you live your life.

Accept Those Last Five Pounds

Forgive even those last 10 pounds. Overall health is what truly matters. So does self-compassion.

Claim Your Sense of Style

My personal style is a work in progress, just like I am. In a nutshell, I choose to wear what makes me smile. Why not let our outerwear be one reflection of our inner selves?

Hire a Young Hair Stylist

I once heard that your hair stylist should be at least 20 years younger than you are. I don’t know if that’s a “rule,” but my younger stylist encourages me to take a few chances. It’s only hair, after all.

If your favorite salon isn’t open right now, ask your stylist if they can trim your hair in your own backyard. This might be tricky, as there are lots of props and tools involved, but it sounds a lot better than having a go yourself.

Put Yourself Out There

Feeling vulnerable is exhaustive at any age. Trying new things takes courage. Whether we want to make new friends or begin a new business, we can take at least the first step toward our heart’s desire. It’s usually worth the risk.

Spend Time with People You Love

We pay a price for toxic relationships, and they rarely get healthier despite our noblest efforts. Of the millions of people in the world, why not seek out the ones who lighten you up?

Laugh Often

This is easier to do if we surround ourselves with people who light us up inside. And with all the bad news blaring every day, a few cat videos can also feel pretty good.

Self-acceptance and authentic relationships are only pieces of the peace we’re seeking. How we walk through the world is about our “attitude,” which is an inside-out job.

Take Things as They Come

The future isn’t promised, and the past can’t be changed. The only path to inner peace is to stay in the present moment and address what’s happening NOW. Aging well is as much about flexibility as anything else.

Focus on What’s in Front of You

Stress and anxiety can quickly overtake us even when we’re able to take things as they come. When crises become an endless stream of uncertainty, focus only on the business at hand. Handle one task at a time, and slowly go from there.

Seek Only the Good

From homemade cakes to long-time marriages, nothing’s perfect. But most things have an element of good in them. And that gem is worth our full attention.

Speak Up

Forever holding one’s peace may work at a wedding, but at this stage of life we’ve earned the right to have our voices heard. Sometimes that’s uncomfortable. But your truth is your truth.

Release Your Inner Artist

A lot has been shared about aging well through the arts. Creativity is a personal experience that may or may not involve a musical instrument or a paintbrush. Discover a way to express yourself, then go out and make your art.

Keep Learning

There are many channels for continuing a learning journey at 60 and beyond. Road Scholar and Osher Lifelong Institute are dedicated to this. Be it a classroom or a simple guidebook, find an avenue to learn what you’ve always wanted to know.

I’m still adding to this list of lessons I’ve learned along the way. Maybe I’ve always known them. They’re certainly ringing true in this season of life.

What does “aging well” mean to you? What advice are you following now that you are in your 60s? What are you attempting or doing now that you didn’t have the courage to try when you were younger? Join the conversation!

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The Author

Marcia Smalley is a certified retirement coach and life coach, a writer and a teacher. She delights in helping mid-life women step confidently into their next act and design a joyous, expanded life. Marcia provides coaching support to women who are navigating retirement or other life transitions and writes a monthly e-newsletter to her entire online community. Please visit her website at

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