“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” ~ Mark Twain
As a child, I absolutely loved sitting in the room during family parties and listening to the “older folks” chat about the past. I would find myself becoming almost entranced with the voices of my grand-parents and great-grandparents as they described their childhoods, teenage years, and adventures. My mother used to try and send me off with my cousins, but I was insistent on staying. While being defiant was not my intention, I was so glad I did stay because these precious story moments made me realize that time is the most precious asset we’ve got and it represents life.
In a world where everyone seems to be in a rush, it feels like time is flying. All grown-up now, I always find myself trying to do more and achieve more before the proverbial, “Time runs OUT.” I have felt my lack of time so much so lately that it has opened the door to self-doubt. I hear whispers of, “you are getting older, what have you done with your life?” “You are running out of time…GO…GO…GO!” “Really, you think that you can DO all of that?!” and “Why didn’t you get more done!?”
Now to be completely honest, I am a lot like many other people I know, both women and men. I am terrified of the idea of growing older. Sometimes, I can feel this fear in my bones. Many times this is not expressed out loud and I pretend everything is okay, but if you look deep enough, it’s written all over my face and this fear manifests in my hectic, packed schedule I keep. I can say, though, I am learning how to manage my “mind” (thinking) so it doesn’t “matter” so much anymore and two small questions have made this possible.
Where does this fear come from?
What makes so many people scared of aging?
One explanation I’ve found is that the fear comes from societal norms and culturally inherited limiting beliefs that influence our way of thinking and don’t serve us well. I believe what we have seen our elders do and say through their aging process creates certain expectations as well. If you grow up preparing yourself for the aging process as if it will be a burden, that’s exactly how it will feel. But, if you see aging and the time that remains as a new opportunity to learn, when every morning is a fresh start to do all the things you do well-quality vs. quantity, despite the number of years, life and creativity spring forth from the process. It’s all about self-perception and the story we tell ourselves about whom we are becoming with this passing time.
So, if you’re afraid of aging and everything that it will entail, I can empathize, I’ve been there. However, here is something I began to think about, “Try to move on, and enjoy everyday life in the only reality there is, the present moment!” Not being fearful about aging is a mental and emotional state of being; it comes as a result of the choices we make. It’s all about attitude, perspective, and what we make age mean to us.
We all are what we believe. So as I face the years to come, I will see them as nothing but new beautiful numbers, a time for brand new opportunities and a gift, for some do not see the ages I have been blessed with.
Getting older is a reality, and I have decided to embrace myself with love, despite my age. I know I’m going to end up with more wrinkles, grey hair and a few more aches, but I’ll love them, too. True self-love is valid at any age; there’s no expiration date to that.
Here are a few final points to ponder:
Shift Your Perspective: “We need to revise how we think of aging. The old paradigm was: You’re born, you peak at midlife, and then you decline into decrepitude. Looking at aging as ascending a staircase, you gain well-being, spirit, soul, wisdom, the ability to be truly intimate and a life with intention.” Jane Fonda
Know that you are NOT what you “do”: “You are a human being, not a human doing.” Wayne Dyer
Love yourself: mind, body, and soul: “Growing older is inevitable; aging is optional.” Dr. Christiane Northrup
“Wisdom is with aged men, With long life is understanding.”
“Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life.”
Grandpa Strecker: Taught me to LOVE life! Didn’t mind aging! Died at age 91yrs. young!