Tips for Aging Well When You Have a Rainforest Mind (And Overexcitable Hair)

Me and my overexcitable hair

I am in my sixties. That sounds OLD to me. AARP. Medicare. Senior discounts. Golf. Geezerville.

But I don’t feel OLD. In fact, other than some possible hidden creeping potential decrepitude (!), I think 60-something is kind of fine. Pretty great, actually.

You, too, can have a pretty-great-actually time into your 60s and beyond. Here’s how:

~ Get plenty of psychotherapy. (You knew that was coming.) You will need to address the old family patterns and beliefs that were handed down to you, especially if there was abuse or neglect. This will not stop your skin from sagging. But it will reduce your anxieties and build your self-confidence. At its best, it will heal any shame that you have carried for years and allow you to live more as your true Self. To find meaning and purpose in your life. Maybe even to explore several career paths that are extremely satisfying. Maybe even to find love and sweet intimacy with a partner. (I’m still waiting for that last one. Even though I’ve had fulfilling partnerships over the years, I am now prepared for the deepest most lovingest one yet.) I have been a client in various therapies since my 30s. It has made a huge difference.

~ Create a strong network of friends. You may need to work at this because your rainforest mind makes friend-finding complicated. Start by doing activities that you enjoy and look for potential friends there. Initiate contact. Nourish the connections, even if the people you find are busy. (which they probably are) Eventually, they will realize that you have done them a huge favor and they will love you forever for all of the effort you made to woo them. Don’t believe me? Ask my friends. They will tell you that they will love me forever.

~ Dance the Argentine tango. (If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you also saw that one coming.) The tango appeals to smart people because it is complicated and creative. It requires sensitivity and depth. It might be the first time you experience someone following you. But also, and most important, you can be approaching geezerhood and still attract attention. People will watch you with admiration. They will think that you are beautiful. They will ask to embrace you. Here is a sample of me dancing so you can watch…with admiration!

~ Let your free range, overexcitable, out-of-control, expressive, wild hair be itself. (You may want to buy expensive hair products before trying this.) I am finally much more appreciative of my curls. Not only do other people envy their boldness but folks also wish for the excessive quantity that people with thinner less boisterous hair are losing as they age. If you start to love your overexcitable hair, you, too, will find more self-acceptance for the you-ness that has always felt like tooooo much.

~ Give yourself permission to constantly be working on yourself in various ways. This is not narcissism. Your purpose is to be a more loving, compassionate, contributing human, right? In addition to the years of psychotherapy, experiment with other healing modalities. Acupuncture, energy medicine, 12-Steps, bodywork, time in nature, meditation, yoga, spiritual practices, massage, journal writing, visual art, music, dance, reading, martial arts, running, astrology, biking…and more. I have experienced many of these and can enthusiastically vouch for their effectiveness.

~ Avoid mirrors when you have your reading glasses on.

~ Pay attention to your posture. Seriously. Learn about Katy Bowman’s “nutritious movement.”

~ Find people from all over the planet who are creating a better world. Connect with some of them. Support them. Speak out about injustice. Find your particular way to step up.

~ Find a career path(s) that allows you to age gracefully. One where you don’t have to move much and where the older you are, the more in demand you will be. Being a psychotherapist, blogger, consultant, and author, I’ve realized that I managed to find work that I love and that will take me into old age with ease. People don’t mind that I am older or that my knees are creaking. In fact, they think I am wise.

~ Build a spiritual practice that soothes your nervous system, guides your intuition, and connects you beyond the visible world to a larger, loving, spiritual energy field that is all about Love. This is particularly important as you age and begin to think about your legacy. Many RFMs find Spirit through connecting to Nature. I am still developing my spirituality. I find dancing, singing, and journaling to be my way into the invisible spiritual realms. 

~ Maintain your sense of humor.

~ Don’t run out of hair products.


To my bloggEEs: What are you doing as you grow older to age gracefully? Which of these ideas appeal to you? What questions do you have? Thank you, as always, for being here.

And don’t forget that you can help me age even more gracefully, if you buy my books! (and write reviews) Ahem. Thank you.

Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

31 responses to “Tips for Aging Well When You Have a Rainforest Mind (And Overexcitable Hair)”

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  1. Elaine Avatar

    Haha! I love it. I also have curly hair and life has been very different once I’ve come to accept it and love it and let it be wild and free. I’m 40 and feel the best yet – looking forward to 60!
    You are gorgeous inside and out.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Oh, thank you fellow curly girl!

  2. Pegi Ficken Avatar
    Pegi Ficken

    I was doing very well until I hit 64. Tore my rotator cuff, then had a heart attack, and it’s been downhill from there. My body has quit cooperating at all. Accepting that has been a struggle. Accepting that I have a 2.5% probability of living for 10 years is a jolt.
    But hair! Finally! Now that I am completely gray, my hair has gone from being bone straight, to, if it’s cut short, a nice fluffy, somewhat curly mass. I’ll take it!
    Coming up with four chronic diseases is not helpful in aging gracefully.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Oh, Pegi! I’m so sorry. It sounds so challenging. Sending you hugs and cheers for fluffy hair. <3

    2. Stef Avatar

      Yikes, Pegi. I’m all in favor of changing your story, but it naturally has some physical limits. You’re certainly focusing on the positive in terms of your hair. so think of that as grace and graceful! But none of us is going to live to see, let’s say, a “new millennium,” and given the Earth’s issues and humanity’s apparent unwillingness to take them seriously, a bunch of my friends and I (of a “certain age”) are busy feeling grateful to not be kids just now (though we have to work at not freaking over the future we’re leaving to the grandkids!) But I’m sorry that you’re dealing with such major issues!

  3. Gailen Blank Avatar
    Gailen Blank

    Admitting that one is gifted in a world that is almost always people who are pragmatic. I have always just assumed that I was mentally unstable and screwed up.
    I sw and felt everything intensley, from the moment I popped out.
    I have lived with thinking I am invredibly stupid or deeply flawed. I zigzagged through life, and bounced from one thing to the next, always kind of depressed, and then I had kids, And then I married an alchoholic and then and then.
    Here I sit, at 56 tranistions a plenty.Finding support has been almost impossible.
    For myself and for my children.
    Anyway, glad to be here.
    I am looking for community and to find a way to make money and raise my rain forest children, after the sudden death of their father.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Glad you’re here, Gailen Blank.

      1. Gailen Anna Avatar
        Gailen Anna

        I am half way through Rainforest mind and i already feel a bit better and like i understand myself more.
        Thank you so much for your work.
        Also, is it possible to work with you through Skype

        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          So glad you’re reading my book! Thank you. I’m only licensed in Oregon to provide counseling but I do educational consulting worldwide. Consulting is focused on the gifted issues versus any of the more emotional childhood issues usually covered in counseling. Send me an email via the About page if you’re still interested, and I’ll provide details. I’d be happy to meet with you!

  4. Adelaide Dupont Avatar
    Adelaide Dupont

    Madame Prober:

    When we are living to 110 and 120 60 is very middle-aged with the productivity and generativity of it all.

    Loved your tips about hair. I have mostly straight hair which will go into waves with a sympathetic product like Sunsilk or Schwartzkopf – the type for severely damaged hair.

    You are probably right about mirrors and reading glasses. I avoid mirrors after I’ve just washed my hair because especially my right eye likes to become Cyclops.

    I would probably add – Run with the wolves.

    And I see so many 60-year-old and 65-year-old people coming into their own in a way they didn’t when they were younger or didn’t even know they could.

    It gives me hope and empowerment to be able to age gracefully and transition.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks, Adelaide. It’s true, when you’re older, you don’t care as much what other people think of you! Oh, and I loved the book Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes! 🙂

      1. Adelaide Dupont Avatar
        Adelaide Dupont

        I started Running with the Wolves in 2003; when I was nearly 25.

        I acquired the book 10 years later in a groovy alternative creative seconds store.

        Or you still care – but the caring is redirected.

  5. Nicole Avatar

    Paula, as I approach 40, embracing my natural crazy waves and curls is an ongoing journey…why is that so hard? It’s so much easier to air dry it with some product than to spend an hour heat styling. I find it even more difficult to embrace my quirky self, as it is another journey that I hope becomes easier to navigate with age and wisdom…I am awaiting the arrival of your latest book to help guide me further!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      For me, with my curly hair, there’s been something about being seen and being too much. Also about control. It’s funny that something as simple as one’s hair can be a symbol or represent something much larger! As I’ve gotten older I’ve been more self-accepting and that includes of my unruly hair! Thank you for buying my book, Nicole. I hope you find it helpful!

  6. Gail Post Avatar
    Gail Post

    Love this! Great advice and so inspiring!

  7. dmstauber Avatar

    Ohhhhhh, what beautiful, exacting, focused, dreamy dancing! Thank you so much for sharing that.

    I just turned 60. Aging strategies very similar to your outline! Lots of continued therapy and inner work (SoulCollage, journaling, learning new kinds of meditation, exploring spirituality), being open to new learning, paying close attention to my body’s needs without coercion or judgement, connecting with friends, nurturing my love relationship…

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for sharing your list, dmstauber! And for watching the video… 😉

  8. Someti Avatar

    I love reading you, Paula. Even though I am not old enough right now, I feel I can appreciate de depth of this post. By the way: you look great 😉 <3

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I figured my younger readers would still relate to this post, especially since much of it can begin at any age! Thank you, Someti. Good to hear from you.

  9. Stef Avatar

    On my 60th birthday, not liking the cultural baggage that number has, I “reset my odometer” and chose to be born that day, with 6 decades of experience so I wouldn’t have to go through the 7th grade again. Now I’m old enough to drive, which is good, be/c I have a stunning bright orange Subaru Crosstrek. And, of course, I wrote a book called Change Your Story, Change Your Life, so that helped.

    Much of what you’ve said, Paula, I second, especially this: “Build a spiritual practice that soothes your nervous system, guides your intuition, and connects you beyond the visible world to a larger, loving, spiritual energy field that is all about Love. This is particularly important as you age …Many RFMs find Spirit through connecting to Nature. ”

    To that I would add “Trust! Trust yourself, trust the Spirit of which everything, including you, is made,” and then it helps to discover for certain that there is no Death, there is only transformation.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you, Stef. Always good to hear your take on things! <3

  10. Nimue Brown Avatar
    Nimue Brown

    good advice at any age!

  11. Maureen Helen Avatar
    Maureen Helen

    Thank you for this encouraging post, Paula. In my eighties, I sometimes fret that I’m slowing down a bit. But I’ve just come home after an interstate holiday with my equally old husband, swim 1000 metres three times a week, blog regularly and walk other days. My newest interest is a blogging mastermind group where I’ve made new friends and feel challenged. Ideas for a new book in a different genre are surfacing. Certainly one of the lucky ones.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Wow, Maureen Helen! What is a blogging mastermind group? Thanks for being here!

  12. Kamala Quale Avatar
    Kamala Quale

    As one of Paula’s friends I want to affirm that I will love her forever, I appreciate her tango, and I think the guy who becomes her partner is very lucky indeed.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober


  13. Kristen Shields Avatar
    Kristen Shields

    This topic is totally relevant to my life this month, as my mother works to transition my grandparents to an assisted living facility. Except … in my family, old isn’t what most people think is old. My grands are 98 and 103! And if it weren’t for my grandma’s dementia and sudden vision issues, they’d still be staying in their own home … they are physically quite healthy. Bright and inquisitive, both of them (all the family, really). I’m a family oddity in that I’ve already dealt with cancer, broken bones, hip surgery, and other stuff (and I’m only 44). I was walking with a cane when I went to help last week, and I honestly don’t know if my grandmother was holding my arm for my sake or hers … but it was nice either way. How do you keep up the mind of a person who can’t read anymore because of being legally blind, but has a super sharp wit, has always been a painter (gorgeous work!), always solved crosswords, gardened, you name it? And for my grandpa … he was a banker, a Rotarian, all sorts of things … they really aren’t sure how to help him best yet in this new place … they are in the Memory Care area for her sake, but he’ll be the first resident who’s actually allowed to come and go as he pleases (though not drive). How to keep him properly stimulated? (He does love birdwatching, and their room has some neglected bird feeders outside the window, so my mom plans to take advantage of that, for a start.)

    Me, I just want to make it TO my sixties … and for my mom to be able to rest a bit so she will have less stress so she can outdo her amazing parents. 🙂 I already can’t keep up with her …

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for sharing your story, Kristen. This whole aging thing can be complicated. I’ll look forward to reading your blog comments as you move into your 60s!! 🙂

  14. Marcia Hines Avatar
    Marcia Hines

    OE hair! LOL! Thank you; I am using this!

    (Usually, I refer to mine as a barometer.)

  15. help50 Avatar

    Thank you Paula. You go girl! I just turned 59. Been trying to think of something to learn…ballroom dancing…tango and all. Fabulous fifties to sensational sixties.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks, help50. Here’s to sensational sixties!!