Have you ever wondered what images of aging might look like or, thought about your own images of aging as you pass through the decades? As I pondered these questions when I reached my seventh decade I reviewed my life’s portfolio for answers, paused and considered where I have been, where I wish to go, who I wish to be and what I wish to do now in my bonus years.

During my youth, it was difficult for me to accept the thoughts of growing older — images of aging haunted me for years until I met and interviewed a spirit-filled and energetic Seasoned Senior who viewed life’s prime time and beyond from a holistic point of view as the best years for appreciating life as a whole.

In my amazement, I discovered he was very active in business, church and his community. This energetic 85-year-old mantra chose to greet each day with gratitude, thanksgiving and as new beginnings. I asked for his thoughts about aging as he celebrated eight decades. He replied aging is simply a number on our biological clock. However, your ‘perception of self’ during this maturation process was an important element. Your perception of how you see yourself in the mirror of your mind makes the difference and at this stage in life, it dictates how one will age gracefully with meaning, happiness and purpose.

A positive self-image rests on a foundation of core values, beliefs, spiritual, positive attitude and a holistic approach to living. These are life’s pivotal attributes balanced on a fulcrum called integrity — when combined with healthy choices; they foster a positive impact toward aging gracefully. The negative thoughts of aging quickly shifts when the mind views positive images of aging as a new dimension in life to be embraced and as a new goal to welcome the bonus years ahead. It is only when we understand the benefits of aging that we can celebrate our growth, development and beauty that only aging brings.