“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

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My Kickass Plan For Aging Like A Viking Warrior – Brought to you By Pfizer

At 48 I’m not even middle-aged.

No, I’m not in denial, because the women in my family live to be as old as the Great Basin Bristlecone pine in the southwest United States. Said tree is 5,063 years old.

And that’s how old my grandmother was when she passed. Give or take 4,964 years. My grandma was in mint condition when she left us. In fact, her Spirit Fire was so intense that I still feel her with me today.

Grandma Ellen College Cropped

My sweet, beautiful grandma in college circa 1930.

So when I think about all the things I need to do in order to age as beautifully as my grandmother did (she took up waterskiing on one ski at the age of 59. She drove capably till the age of 96), one of them is to commune with all powers greater than myself (and no, I don’t eat hemp, and wear Birkenstocks while perusing the “Former Lives” aisle at the Bodhi Tree bookstore. I’m more of a leopard-print lingerie type of gal).

My higher powers are:

Nature, which I worship by attempting to paddle board off of Catalina Island, enjoying the brisk, fresh, cold salty water every time I fall in (Fortunately I wasn’t eaten by a massive oar fish).

The Breath in my own body when I’m holding the plank pose in Pilates, feeling the strength of my core and its connection to my breath.

Being present in THE MOMENT when I braid my daughter’s hair; strong, rough and thick as ropes in my hands.

The delicious TASTE of a perfectly aged Pinot Noir I drink as I prepare Dijon-rosemary rack-of-lamb.

The PLEASURE I feel when my husband rubs my back or kisses my lips.

The HUMILITY I feel when I face a disappointment or a rejection and have to be patient with myself as it passes through me like a storm heading for the coast.

Aging well is all about our spirit and how it informs our attitudes, our health, our relationships and our minds.

I’m far from perfect, frequently fumbling the ball in the end zone, but each day I get up and try again. That, in and of itself, will inform the way I handle getting older.

What do you do to prepare yourself for being happy and healthy when you’re all grown up (which, if you look at my 99-year old grandmother’s trajectory, is around 95).

  • Get Old is an initiative developed by Pfizer to challenge people of all ages to rethink what it means to Get Old and take a more active role in their health and quality of life at every age. Whether it’s through watching what you eat, physical exercise, spending time with family and friends or participating in an activity you’re passionate about — each of us has the power to decide for ourselves how we want to Get Old. It’s not just about living longer, but living better.

I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Pfizer and Get Old. I received compensation for this post. All opinions stated are my own.

(Author’s note: Facebook is now charging money for each post I place on my Fan Page. If you love this site — or hate it for that matter — sign up HERE for my weekly newsletter in order not to miss a thing!


Write a comment
  1. ayn
    ayn 7 December, 2013, 11:44

    Thanks for sharing that, Shannon. And, I am relieved you were not eaten by an oarfish, too.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 8 December, 2013, 19:18

      If I had known those oarfish were down there I’d have never gotten off that boat!

      Reply this comment
  2. Haralee
    Haralee 7 December, 2013, 11:46

    She is gorgeous! Great uplifting post that should be a mantra.

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 8 December, 2013, 19:22

      Hi Haralee — I need to print it out and put it somewhere I can read it daily because I certainly forget sometimes.

      Reply this comment
  3. Anne @MidlifeBlvd
    Anne @MidlifeBlvd 9 December, 2013, 09:07

    Wow, this was good, Shannon. I had a similar example from my grandfather. Funny that considerations for him never once concerned wrinkle prevention.
    He kept active, stayed involved in community, and always had something to look forward to. That’s the way to do old.

    Reply this comment
  4. Karen D. Austin
    Karen D. Austin 9 December, 2013, 10:45

    What a beautiful photograph. Thanks for sharing stories about your grandmother. I’m in my 50s, but my kids are only 12 and 15. So I work to get old in order to launch them. I eat a lot of whole foods, exercise 10 plus hours a week, and read a lot about how to meet the challenges of aging. I could work more on peaceful practices and dialing back on my “to do” list. But it’s hard to achieve the Type B lifestyle through Type A strategies. Thanks for sharing your views on how to get old.

    Reply this comment
  5. Jenny
    Jenny 9 December, 2013, 12:32

    Valhalla will welcome you home! Love your blog

    Reply this comment
  6. KymberlyFunFit
    KymberlyFunFit 9 December, 2013, 23:14

    Am I the only one who sees an uncanny resemblance between your granny and you? Different coloring, but similar face. As for getting old, my goal is to be an interesting old woman. I might not have the ultimate Stuff, but I do have, and plan to make more, Experiences!

    Reply this comment
  7. Jennifer Wenner
    Jennifer Wenner 10 December, 2013, 09:19

    I see the resemblance too- striking! I like the positive ways you are looking at aging- good for someone like me who might be a teeny bit jaded.

    Reply this comment
  8. Tracey
    Tracey 13 December, 2013, 08:55

    Your grandmother was absolutely lovely…

    Reply this comment
    • Shannon
      Shannon Author 13 December, 2013, 08:57

      Oh thank you Tracey — she was also an incredibly loving, strong woman. I miss her every day.

      Reply this comment

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