Do you remember the first time you were not asked to show an ID? Did someone ever ask you prematurely if you wanted the AARP or Senior Citizen price? Some people get hit hard the day they realize they're getting older. Others, like my friend Tom, boast about all the perks, discounts and freebies they begin to get. I would say that what bothers folks is more about vanity than mortality. You see, beginning to look older impacts people in different ways, often prompting a "fight or flight" reaction:
In the extreme, that might mean plastic surgery, a new hair color or buying a gym membership to get in better shape. On the other hand, the person may deny that changes are occuring and might even withdraw from social activities or manifest symptoms of depression.
The good news is that you can beat the graying blues by realizing your meaning and purpose. It might sting or inspire, but getting older definitely causes us to question both the path that we've followed as well as the path ahead. The power of thinking about this becomes an important inflection point from who we've been to who we aim to become.
Truthfully, there does not need to be a midlife crisis; growing older can be thought of as an opportunity. The Japanese have a highly energetic attitude on aging that goes like this:
Discover the happiness derived from devoting your time to an activity that holds meaning and purpose for you. Because meaning and purpose, combined with calm and healthy living, will mostly likely lead you to a fulfilling and long life.
There's no denying the fact that the past twelve months have been a challenge for many, maybe even a burden for some. Alice and I often say that we are not reality deniers; it's just that we choose to see the possibilities amid the pain and problems. Solutions are more satisfying than blaming and sulking.
So, what are you going to do with the "rest of your life?" As Vivian Diller, Ph.D. writes, "It used to be, 'I have so little time left.' Now it's 'I have so much time left. Do I want to live life this way?'"
Our hope at Alive 'n Well is that you are on your way to the answer. And we're not too proud to hope that we are helping you get there!