Susan Jeffers

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Words of Wisdom From the Archives
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Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

Jeanne Moreau, one of the icons of French cinema, famously said, ''People worry so much about aging, but you look younger if you don't worry about it.''

We live in a society that idolizes youth. If we have a few wrinkles, maybe some scars and some greying hair, we are made to feel as if we are not relevant. We buy tons of creams, hair color and even submit to plastic surgery to try to minimize the aging process. Yet, the general consensus has it wrong. Youthful isn't necessarily beautiful or handsome. Why try to be youthful when we can be engaging and appealing just as we are?

When we've grown into ourselves, whether we've put on weight or wrinkles or when we cherish life's experiences with joy and our connection to the Universe, our inner light shines through. How can that be thought of as not attractive? Sure, we aren't as young in age as we once were, but that doesn't mean we aren't young at heart and in spirit.

In the article that Susan wrote, ''A New Look at Wrinkles,'' she related this experience: ''I was having dinner with a favorite friend who was visiting me from Arizona. I sat contemplating her wonderfully vibrant face, energy emanating from every pore, her blue eyes sparkling as she described her plans for the next few months. I asked myself how she could appear so youthful - after all, she was 65 years old and her face was heavily lined from years of working in the Arizona desert.'' The answer was, of course, that this woman at that moment was living a dynamic life, full of meaning, confidence and purpose. Beyond and in spite of her lines and wrinkles, she had the luminous, multi-faceted complexion of her expansive life that comes with age.

We all know people, and hopefully some of us are those people, who no matter how old they get remain radiant and spirited. They are beautiful because they've experienced life and still have more life to live and more life to give. Susan thought there should be another category of age between young and old to describe those who are luminous no matter what their age.

She called it “being Timeless''.

“If you think about it,'' Susan wrote, “So many qualities are erroneously labelled youthful when they don't really apply to youth at all - qualities such as vibrant, curious, sexy, healthy, adventuresome, lively, and so on. They simply are personality characteristics you can have at any age. I know vibrant people at 20 and I know vibrant people over 70!'' Conversely, there are also people who look like they bear the weight of the world both at 20 or 70. Age is no great indicator of youthfulness. So much of being youthful is about lifestyle and outlook. If we start referring to these qualities as Timeless, then we can start to pull away from the stigma of and fears about aging. Age has nothing to do with enthusiasm or passion for something or someone.

Believe it or not, wrinkles, age spots, gray hair, stretch marks, scars, and love handles are a sign that you've lived life. They are signs that you've been out in the sun, taken risks, enjoyed yourself, been heartbroken, and made it to where you are now. Our outward appearance is like our own canvas on which we paint a little each day, taking our whole lives to create a great masterpiece. We become textured and multi-layered and vivid! How in the world does that make us any less attractive than someone half our age?

Experience is our greatest teacher and when we are open to learning and trying new things, we will exhibit all those qualities considered youthful. When we understand that there is so much excitement and wonder ahead of us, no matter our age or our appearance, we appear ageless. When we still find curiosity and joy in life we know we are in the flow with the Universe and the Universe is, of course, Timeless!

In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan wrote, “That is why I am so in love with the aging process. Youth so rarely understands what age allows us to know. We need to go through many life experiences before the power within is brought forward in all its glory. And as long as we see ourselves as unfolding beings, there is no wish to go back one single day - and age becomes a beautiful thing.''

If you can find the joy in that, you will be Timeless.

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