“Aging sucks! There is nothing good about it!” my friend said. And, as she said it, her face looked as if she had just eaten a sourball candy, or worse. Two days later, another woman made the same face and with as much anger in her voice repeated those exact words, and last week I heard this same reframe from a few other friends’ mouths. It got me thinking. Do I agree with them?
A few parts of me don’t work quite as well as they did a few years ago, now that I am in middle adulthood—my right hip—from my ice skating days, bothers me more often that it did ten years ago, But, I am healthier overall than when I turned fifty. I do special exercises to help my old injury, and when I do them, they work well to keep the pain away, or hovering around a 1/2, on a scale from 1-10. I also help my body by taking good supplements. I found these become key components to maintaining good health as I age and lose the protection offered by my pre-menopausal armor of hormones. Finding a qualified professional to help me get on the correct vitamin regime is making all the difference.
As far as aging and mental helath, I am as sharp, with only an occasional brain blip, which is due to stress, not getting older. How do I know this? When I return from vacation, or do my meditation practice regularly, information comes instantly. My tap class, and regular piano practice also keep me mentally strong. I know both contribute to my good recall, as well.
After pondering why these women, and others who only see the negative in the ageing process, I recognized that many of us hang on to regrets about losing our youth, things we didn’t do or get to do because of other choices we made. We may be angry that the past, or “easier” parts of our lives are over– when we all were building our careers, had flexible bodies, and more energy than we needed. I also realized that some of us haven’t re-chosen how we want our lives to be. We are in contrast/opposition to what the great Byron Katie calls, Loving What Is. A couple of regrets from my youth still pique my composure, but I work to release those anger knots. In time, I can sense that with practice, they become softer, smaller, and more crumbly than they once felt.
It helps knowing that whenever we don’t like the way our lives are going, we have the power to re-choose—from as big a decision as choosing a new life path, a new partner, a new locale to call home, to smaller things such as getting rid of unflattering clothes in the closet, or reflecting on who we are now. Even changing our lipstick color to one that better complements our skin tone, signing up to volunteer, planting some flowers, helping a neighbor in need, or trying out a new recipe moves us forward and helps us feel empowered.
Regret is the biggest time waster on the planet—next to trying to “fix” someone you love 😉 Anger corrodes our insides, shrinks our brain, and makes us look twenty years older than our real age. All facts. Do you really want to subject the only body you will ever have to that kind of abuse? Really?
To be honest, there are days when I don’t love what is going on at that moment in my life, and I would like to chuck it all and move to a tree house with no phone and a hungry, non-endangered tiger circling below. What I know at these times is I am overtaxed. I need a break. I need to refill my energy tanks. Then, however I can, I re-choose my circumstances to allow me to get the self-care I need until I am topped off and ready to step back into the world. So how does this tie into a worldview that aging sucks? I shift from a place of disempowerment, to replenishing my power by re-choosing what I focus on. This will not change my hip pain, nor rid me of my cellulite, but it lowers my stress, and allows me to see what is going right, where my blessings lie. To reinforce feeling empowered, I do my Gratitude Meditation, and list not just five good things in my life, but as many as I can think of, and I write them in my pretty journal I keep just for that purpose. Looking back on the completed pages and books puts me in a place of seeing both good and bad and realizing how the good stuff so overwhelms the bad stuff. Life can be really tough, but sometimes handling it well might just be a matter of perspective.
…To be continued.
Until next time….Be Vibrant!