The aging process is not to be feared, says Sarah Brokaw, author of Fortytude: Making the Next Decades the Best Years of Your Life — through the 40s, 50s, and Beyond.
“You may sit there and be so fearful of the aging process and look at people like a 41-year-old woman and think ‘she’s so old’ but guess what? You are going to get to that age at some point so you might as well respect where she is and respect where you are and appreciate the fact that she could be your role model,” Sarah said. Watch Sarah Brokaw on caring for her body, growing wiser, and the advice she would have told her 25-year-old self:
SARAH BROKAW: Yes. I think that in order to have fortytude, meaning that if you’ve hit 40 and beyond, it really means that you have a certain amount of strength. And it’s not just about emotional strength, or professional strength. It’s also about physical strength. And you cannot have physical strength if you do not take care of your physical self. And it’s about being mindful on taking in certain foods that are healthy. And being mindful of certain foods that you know are not good for you, to keep them out of your diet.
I also believe that it’s about being wise about your body and exercise. What we could have done when we were 25, whether that’s running a mile in 6.5, which is really not easy– I mean 6.5 minutes, right?– someone may think well I did it then, I can do it now. You may not be able to do it. You can still run, but you may not go at the speed that you did when you were 25. Just be wise.
LAUREL HOUSE: So you need to allow your body to age gracefully, and accept your body the way it is on its journey.
SARAH BROKAW: Yes. And knowing that you’ll see that the more you try to push it and not listen to your body, the less able you are to have fortytude.
LAUREL HOUSE: And the more it will fight you.
SARAH BROKAW: Yes. Absolutely.
LAUREL HOUSE: So imagine going back into a time when you are speaking to your 20- or 25-year-old self. What would you say? What words of advice or warnings would you give your 25-year-old self?
SARAH BROKAW: One is stop dating all those jerks. There’s no point. That’s one. I think that the second–
LAUREL HOUSE: I think most 25-year-old women need to hear that.
SARAH BROKAW: I know. I absolutely agree. I think that when you think that person’s the love of your life, but yeah, you constantly are crying about that person, the person is not the love of your life. That’s number one.
I think number two, I think, if I were to think about my 25-year-old self, that you may sit there and be so fearful about the aging process, and look at people like a 41-year-old woman and think oh gosh, she’s so old. Well guess what? You’re going to get to that age at some point. So you might as well respect where she is and respect where you are. And appreciate the fact that she could be your role model. And also just be blessed that you are on this Earth and you are healthy. There are so many women out there who are not.
LAUREL HOUSE: So as a licensed psychiatrist by trade, did you–
SARAH BROKAW: Licensed clinical social worker by trade.
LAUREL HOUSE: Licensed clinical social worker by trade.
SARAH BROKAW: Different.
LAUREL HOUSE: Yes. Yeah. Did you ever envision being an author or a spokesperson as part of your career?
SARAH BROKAW: No. But I was always a spokesperson for my friends. I always was. I was always the person who was going to be in their corner fighting for them. Never been shy. But I never could imagine myself speaking at public engagements about this very topic. Nor did I ever think I was going to write a book. But that was part of challenging, I guess myself at the age of 38, when I decided to write the book.
LAUREL HOUSE: So what female figures inspire you?
SARAH BROKAW: Other than Sarah Robb O’Hagan?
LAUREL HOUSE: Yes.
SARAH BROKAW: There a number of women. There are a few. Like in the technology world, Sheryl Sandberg, who is the COO of Facebook. If I were to think about a screenplay writer, I would definitely think of Nora Ephron. She’s in her 60s and she’s a tremendous role model. I even think of Rita Wilson, who is in Hollywood and under the public eye. And she’s been married to Tom Hanks for so many years, and they have a really tight relationship. I think about all the female soccer players. They were incredible. So I feel as if those women have stuck out. Each time that there’s something written about them, I always kind of pay a little bit more attention.
LAUREL HOUSE: Great.
SARAH BROKAW: Yes.
LAUREL HOUSE: Thank you, so much.
SARAH BROKAW: Thank you.
LAUREL HOUSE: I’m Laurel House. You can find out more about Sarah Brokaw at genconnect.con.