By Sean Ayres
The loss of Sally’s husband inspired her to work on the stigma and angst of ageing. While working through the debilitating and raw grief that the loss caused, Sally found faith and healing in her gratitude.
“People were so kind and there was so much love and support around me. When I really began focusing on that and how grateful I was for that, my healing really began.”
In her career as a dermal therapist working with skin, Sally met many women wanting to know how to age well. For Sally, ageing well isn’t about trying to stay young and she blames the media for being “very unkind” to women.
“Unfortunately, there is a big culture in our society about young being better than old.”
The loss of her husband put into perspective the value of ageing. Sally began to hear things like “ageing sucks, who wants to grow old.”
“My husband would have liked to grow old,” says Sally.
“My husband would love to be here watching his children grow up. He’d love to be here with me doing all the things we had planned to do in our later life.”
“It’s from there I began to feel that ageing is the same as living. When we start putting negative associations to ageing, we put negative associations to living.”
The power of gratitude
Beginning to feel more gratitude can make an immediate difference to life. Thinking positively and being gratefully can make a physiological reaction and change neurons in the brain, says Sally.
“I am obviously a different woman. I have a lot more compassion and empathy than what I had before and have a real need to help women with loss.”
“It’s more than an attitude, it’s a way of life and it ripples out to every aspect of your life.”
This change in Sally’s life has allowed her to be more effective in helping people with their own loss. Loss can be as much as losing a loved one but also include empty nesting and other issues.
“I feel that experience has given me a foundation for helping women move forward, which is what I want to do with Ageing Gratefully. I am interested in helping women deal with their loss, carry it differently and then move forward.”
“It’s very important to process these feelings but not stay there,” she stresses.
Being intentional and searching for a reason to be grateful is something that everyone can do. Even small things like being alive to breathe are helpful to get started, especially in traumatic times.
“It doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s about focusing in and finding something that you’re grateful for.”
Being grateful starts with living in the moment says Sally.
“Gratitude brings us into the present moment. It allows us to create our future intentionally.”
“God is in the moment so we actually see the miracle of our moments.”