When I get older, I want to be just like Dr. Northrup.
I used to want to be just like Helen Mirren. Beautiful and a dame and an Academy Award winner and still smokin’ hot in her 70s? Bring it on!
But Dr. Northrup has given me a new goal to strive for:
To be extraordinarily healthy, creative, and joyful, no matter what my age.
“Age is just a number,” she writes in her bestselling book Goddesses Never Age, “and agelessness means not buying into the idea that a number determines everything from your state of health to your attractiveness to your value.”
That sounds nice…
But surely age does matter.
It matters enough that we think of women like Helen Mirren as outliers. Women who’ve aged well seem to have something most women don’t. Maybe they’re blessed with extraordinary genetics or unusual luck.
The rest of us can expect to age the same way as our parents did. Look at your mother, the saying goes, and that’s you in 20 years.
Dr. Northrup has a different perspective.
“The secret to thriving,” she writes, “is the knowledge that we are never simply victims of our bodies.”
She believes that the way we age is a choice.
We can either accept the commonly-held beliefs about aging—that aches and pains and tiredness and slowing down are part of the package—or we can seek the gifts of aging.
What? Aging is a gift? Surely not.
Aging feels like such a loss to most of us. We lose our youthful bodies. We lose the stamina and energy that powered us through many a sleepless night. We lose the illusion of perfect health.
Aging seems to involve a more intimate relationship with illness. When our bodies break down, they heal more slowly. Sometimes those old injuries never quite recover.
With all that focus on loss, what we fail to see is what we’ve gained.
How we’ve grown intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. The greater inner resources available to us.
And that’s where Dr. Northrup shines her light.
She’s one of the most well-known experts in women’s health, with a personal stake in transforming the dialogue around menopause and the changes in a woman’s life once her childbearing years are over.
Her first book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, challenged conventional medical wisdom by advocating for a more holistic approach to health. She explains:
Your beliefs and thoughts are wired into your biology. They become your cells, tissues, and organs. There’s no supplement, no diet, no medicine, and no exercise regimen that can compare with the power of your thoughts and beliefs. That’s the very first place you need to look when anything goes wrong with your body.”
That perspective was quite radical back in 1994.
Before the book was published, Dr. Northrup worried about how her medical colleagues would react. Little did she know that it would not be the first time she’d voice a perspective radically different from conventional wisdom.
Those illnesses and health problems that seem to nag us as we get older? They’re not trying to spoil our fun. They’re trying to get us to address deeper issues we’ve been successfully ignoring for many years.
Our bodies love us so much that they will do anything necessary to bring us to a place in which we recognize and release our unlovingness toward ourselves that’s causing us deep heartache. The message of illness and pain may be ‘It’s time to bring healing love into your energy field. You’ve been in emotional pain long enough. Let me turn up the volume by creating physical pain so you’ll pay attention and take care of your heart.’”
Could illness and pain really be a wake-up call to get us to take better care of ourselves, rather than punishment for the crime of getting older?
It’s certainly a different perspective. Not any more radical than the other perspective Dr. Northrup asks us to consider:
She believes that the best treatment for aging is pleasure.
Too many of us accept a smaller life as we age. We work harder, dial back expectations, and focus on checking off the boxes of mature life.
Perhaps what we should be doing is stepping into our power, abandoning what no longer serves us, and following the crazy truth in our hearts. As Dr. Northrup asks:
If your heart’s not in it, why are you in it?”
She adds, “If I’m passionate about something, I always know that I’m meant to do it. Excitement about something always means that you’re aligned with who you really are!”
How many of us get more excited about our lives as we age? Could the pleasure of aging be a simple perspective shift away?
If you’re wondering whether Dr. Northrup’s prescription for aging really works, the proof is in the woman herself.
Her transformation from the plain, somewhat dowdy doctor featured on the cover of her first book to the vibrant, vivacious women’s health expert on the cover of Goddesses Never Age is astounding.
She may be older, but she’s much more fabulous.
And now she’s offering her prescription for fabulous aging to us. Pay attention to your body’s signals, take care of yourself like you’d take care of someone you loved deeply, and nourish your spirit with pleasure.
That sounds like a prescription we could all follow!
Stay Tuned for More #BrilliantBabe Profiles
Here at Your Brilliance, we believe the best way to figure out how bright you’re able to shine is to look up to other woman who are doing what you’ve always wanted to do.
The women you see featured in glossy magazines, climbing sheer rock cliffs and heading Fortune 500 businesses and crafting unique Etsy art from the comfort of their own homes, got there on guts and faith.
They didn’t know if they’d be able to succeed at their dream. But each and every one made the decision to take the first step. And the second. And the third.
We hope these profiles of brilliant women inspire you to reach for your dreams.