How Old Are You, Really?
Seriously, how old are you? I am sure you know your age but I am not sure the number of years we have lived on the planet defines, how old we are. I know people who are 50 yrs. old, and think they are 'over the hill!" I know people who are 75 yrs old and believe they are never to old to become younger. What we believe about aging will really define what our experience will be.
Aging is not just a physical phenomenon. As human beings we are an inter-connection of mind, body and spirit. What good is a young 60 year old body, if your mind believes your best years are over, thus, diminishing your spirit.. It's like turning down a street with a sign that says, 'No Outlet!" There is no going back, but, there is no going forward either!
I personally have found I can pretty much do whatever I want, and I am 3 weeks shy of 77 years of age, I do it slower which has helped me to realize the importance of efficiency in my life. I am more curious than ever, and for sure I have a wisdom born of time, that I would not trade for being younger in years.
In early July, I went on a 7 day road trip from Michigan to Colorado. I went to a 1-day conference that inspired my mind and spirit. I also visited my dear friends for a couple of days which made my heart happy. In my younger days, I could have made my trip in 2 days, but this time it took me 3 days to get to Denver.
I knew I needed to stop more often and walk a bit; I needed to enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with a solo road trip; I needed to rest in the evening so I had good energy the next day. Wisdom has taught me not to judge the fact that I am slower and less agile, but instead, to compensate for it.
Wisdom has also helped me notice there are advantages to going slower. In Nebraska, I saw a sign for a Crane Sanctuary and I know they are on the endangered species list. Because I stopped at 4:15 pm, I was able to spend time viewing the cranes. I enjoyed this spontaneous moment that I would never have offered myself in my younger, faster days. I would have missed a sweet opportunity and not even been aware of it.
I have learned life is about adaptation, no matter what our chronological age is. It's much like how we adjust to the seasons. If we do not allow the external world's bias about aging to bother us; and we quiet our own critical voice, we can fully enjoy all the seasons of our lives.
My own equations for experiencing joy and staying young are:
* curiousity + playfulness + gratitude = adventure/learning/freedom
* think young thoughts/stay current + nourish connections with family/friends/beliefs = belongingness
* live with purpose/passion/simplicity + exercise/healthy habits = well-being
A long time friend added "a sense of wonder," which begets humility and gratitude. I totally agree and hope you will share what your equation for experiencing joy and staying young are, no matter your chronological age.