Meet Ruth @ruth.yunker
1. What Does Pro-Aging Mean to Me?
I’ve written a book called, “Baby, I’m the Boss of Me, Embracing the Power and Joy of Getting Older.” In it, through stories and essays, I write about how I feel about getting older. It’s an on-going journey, but for me, every year gets better. I think the biggest reason is that as I get older I am able to maintain a positive attitude through so many issues that would have de-railed me in the past. I’m able to maintain my equilibrium because I have more and more practice. I now know, having gone through so many difficult (and wonderful) things, there is always a solution. There is always getting to the other side. By now I know that anger, frustration and fear are not solutions. I understand the power of stepping back and letting someone else take charge. I embrace being left alone. And I maintain my health and physical fitness with the diligence I used to use raising my children! And finally, and I think the most important, I protect my sense of humor. I laugh. I smile in the mirror at myself every morning so my brain can see what a smile looks like. So my whole being can feel what smiling feels like! I feel negative energy dissipate when I do this simple thing.
2. What are the positive aspects of mid-life and beyond?
Certainly for me, my confidence grows, on so many different levels. I can congratulate myself on more things well-done. I have time to differentiate what is a serious problem or not. No more getting tripped up by the minutiae of daily life. Now I’m able to savor the tiny miracles. I’ve lived long enough to recognize these little things, like the light turning green just in time, having the right change, finding the other sock…are indeed gifts of little miracles, given to me to nurture my soul. Like passing the sullen teen on the sidewalk and smiling. And she smiles back with a sudden smile that lights up her face, and lights up my heart. I’m simply more practiced at living. For me, my daily life, rather than my large dreams, is what nourishes me. I know that now. I have my dreams, yes. I work on them. But looking forward to a hot shower before bed, dessert for breakfast, a phone call with my son, the last rose on the bush, not needing gas when I get into the car, the grocery store having the right toilet paper, for once…these light my world. They always did. But now, at this age, when I am so much more in control of what distracts me or not, I can notice them. I can feel them. I draw joy from them.
3. What are the challenges?
For me, after years of huge amounts of serious exercise and a few minor injuries along the way, from running to ballet, to hardcore yoga, horseback riding, and having mild scoliosis, I have arthritis in my lower back which I need to deal with every day. I won’t use drugs, so it has meant constant vigilance in maintaining good posture, constant stretching out, etc. This has made it so that as I get older, I am doing more exercise and stretching on a daily basis, and I can see where it will take more and more exercise to maintain my body in an upright, strong and vigorous form. Not less. Now when I see an elderly person walking down the street who is dressed to the nines and walking with upright, strong and confident posture, I am so impressed and inspired, because I now know the hard work and determination that has gone into it.
4. What words of wisdom do I have?
‘Words of wisdom’ is a tricky concept. Because what is wisdom, afterall? I write about that in my book. In fact it’s the second to last chapter, and it’s very short. To answer this question here, I’ll say that wisdom, such that I have learned is: Deciding to breathe before screaming, to smile before swearing, to stop before crashing into that very familiar wall. Wisdom is to take the insane chance, after you have thought it through. Wisdom is nurturing a calm courage.
5. How important are my female friends and why?
My female friends are very important to me. The “and why” part is something I have always assumed is self-explanatory. I am a woman. I derive huge amounts of solace from my own kind! Kind of an “it takes one to know one”. I have three sisters (and two brothers), and my mother always told her daughters that our women friends were the most important thing we could have, and to cherish them. I have taken this very much to heart. And so saying, I also adore my relationship with my daughter.
6. What attributes do I want in a romantic partner?
Sense of humor, a passionate love life, intelligence, working in a different field from mine, someone who has lived in many places, one from a pretty large family, and now, at this age, one who has had, and raised, children. Finally, good health. Do I have persistent health issues post-menopause. I have been on HRT since my mid-fifties, and all is going well. My only health issues relate to my skeleton, in the form of arthritis and scoliosis. Pilates and my savior of a chiropractor, directly address these issues. I also do yoga and have for twenty years. I walk. A lot! And I drink a lot of water. Even when I’m not thirsty. I don’t sip either. I chug! I don’t drink alcohol or do drugs. Getting sober was the biggest cliff I ever jumped off, (second after the biggest cliff–the awe-inspiring one of raising children) and it totally change my life. I’ve been sober eighteen years and love my life today, clean and more clean. My brain thanks me every day. And because of this I know that going through that scary door, if your gut knows it’s the right thing to do, will be worth every weird change and scary uprooting incurred.
7. Thoughts regarding sex after mid-life?
Sex after mid-life is good. Sex until the day one dies is good. Sex is good, no matter with a partner or with one’s self. Orgasms are good for the health in so many ways. Google it!
8. What do I find the most fulfilling at this stage of life?
I am amazed at how happy I am at this age (late sixties). I have plans, dreams, curiosity. Anything is possible, I have finally realized, if I have a plan, and then take that first step. I’m more brave about attempting to make the possible happen. I am very fulfilled by all the amazing relationships I’ve had and still have. With the number growing as much as I want it to. I love how social media has completely expanded my life. And this has happened because I like to actually meet in person so many people I never would have met otherwise. And as I mentioned earlier, I have time now to really really really love my everyday life, from that first sip of coffee, to getting into my cozy and embracing bed at night.
9. What fears do I have, and what do I do to move past these fears?
At this very moment my fears aren’t serious. I’m planning a large move, from Los Angeles to NYC, and in between leaving LA and settling in NYC are six months of travel. The logistics are complicated. I have lists upon lists. If a vague panic starts to show its ugly face, I watch tv and eat ice cream! Then back to work. But when I am in real fear, I ask myself, what is the worst thing that could happen. The very worst. Then I figure out what I would do if the worst happened. The minute I have my solution to the worst case scenario, I relax. It’s at this point the power of positive thinking can begin to work again. I have also had therapists all through my adult years. Usually for two year bouts at a time. I believe completely in seeking therapy when the chips are down.
10. Style is a reflection of who I am. What style reflects me?
My style is eclectic elegance, cool, urban, classic, with a lot of yogi hoodies thrown into the mix! I go from androgyny to Grace Kelly and pearls in a week-end. I wear elegant casually, and casual elegantly. My yoga clothes can go in any direction. And my work/writer uniform is black blazer, white blouse and good jeans. I have more boots than everyday shoes, and I need to do something about that!
11. What place does fitness, wellness, and nutrition have in my life?
Fitness, wellness and nutrition play a huge role in my life. I believe our health, as we get older, should be our top priority. Because without health, we lose ground so much more quickly than when we’re younger. I am talking physical health and psychological health. I believe everyone’s body and psyche are different, so that one system doesn’t fit all. My exercise mainstays are yoga, Pilates and walking. I’ve done a lot of ballet in my past. I also rode (seriously) when my daughter was a horse fanatic when she was growing up. And I was a jogger for thirty years. I do some sort of exercise every day. I eat everything, but I do choose carefully. I used to hate the word moderation. I rejected it as a boring and indeed, pitiful concept. Now I see how completely brilliant it is! My favorite junk food is an In-n-Out burger…speaking of moderation! I drink a ton of water. I don’t drink soda. I hate carbonated drinks. Once in awhile, though, I’ll have a coca cola if I go out, in place of alcohol. So I can feel a touch of sin! I must have my morning coffee. I gave it up for a year one time…and never again! My favorite foods are Mexican and All-American comfort food. I have a chili dog once a year at the Shake Shack on Pacific Coast Highway in SoCal. I overeat apples and peanut butter. I’d like to cut back on sugar…but that seems to be a losing battle!
12. What I would like to see as part of your page and the pro-age concept?
I want to see whatever you want to post. I love seeing others ideas, others ways of thinking, different things that move them. You will present me with your ideas. I like that. Because, one last thing about growing older with pleasure: I have at last been able to let go of trying to control the world. I am at last able to hear someone else’s point of view. Let them do it their way. I have let go of needing to be in charge if it’s not my call to make. I have found out how pleasant it can be to simply be told what to do next. For instance, I went up to Oregon to my grown daughter’s home in Oregon for Christmas. It was a delight to not be in charge for those ten days. Life is a work in progress, someone said. Our lives continue to evolve until the end. I love that.