During the past couple of months, I have been spending a lot of time with my grandmother. Although under unfortunate circumstances, our time together has been teaching me a lot about the process of aging. At 87 years old, I’ve realized how much she has skewed my perception of what being an octogenarian looks like. Thinking even deeper about it, she has skewed my perception of aging as a whole — in all of the best possible ways.

In our culture aging is attached to negative words depicting degradation of beauty, fitness, fun, and social filters. But why does this have to be negative? The people in society who are defining age aren’t embracing the inevitable, the truth: we are all going to age. Time is characterized as passing. In a certain amount of hours, today will be over and there is no stopping that reality. Instead of sitting around and pouting about how old we feel or how good things used to be, let’s change our perspective now.

Here is some wisdom on aging passed down to me by my grandmother, with the hope that it may carry you forward into the new year and the many years ahead.

Savor and treasure the now.

What are you holding onto that is limiting you from living presently? Maybe it’s a perception of your old self. For example, in the form of body image or accomplishment. Discover what that perception is and replace it with where you are at this moment. Following this change in persective, you will come to discover the development of gratitude and contentment of the now.

Generate excitement over what is to come.

Looking at the life of my Grandmother, I have seen that she never allowed her age to stop her from making her life a grand adventure. Watching her lead the pack as we climbed to our families cabin in the Austrian alps two years ago, to her more recent hospital visits, my grandmother maintains her one speed, and even while in the hospital attach to an IV, never has allowed her age of circumstances to slow her down. Yes a European adventure in your twenties would be ideal, and you may be in your best physical shape to climb mount Whitney today, but what about saving some adventure for your 30’s, or 50’s. Perhaps they will be a bit more extravagant or even with a significant other?

Disarm the ticking time bomb.

Just because time is passing by does not mean that there is a deadline for your dream or accomplishments. Keep moving forward, each day living out the best version of yourself by accomplishing the given task before you. Waking up on time, going to work with a smile, or continuing to invest in your friendships. The only person that is placing the pressure on you is yourself.

Finally, in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” Know that you are the one in control of how you walk through your personal aging process. You can decide to embrace it as a blessing or as a curse. It is you who makes the choices and the decisions that will impact your tomorrow. I know for myself, I have started more intentionally embracing where I’m at today, watching more closely the strength that my Grandmother possesses through her aging process and allowing to inspired me for where I am going.

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