To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
Growing older. Gracefully.
First I must embrace the “old” part, I think, however, I prefer “older” right now.
Oh, it makes a difference.
So many of my “friends” are in their 30’s and even their 20’s….I think of them as my peers and then I hear “that’s what my mom always says”. The age difference is driven home.
I used to work in the field of aging support…a non profit specializing in support for the elderly and families of the elderly through out the continuum of care. Aging looked unattractive. Families were burdened with care and decisions they weren’t prepared to make. The environment I was in was stressful and after 20 years, I eventually retired (a young retired I might add).
I didn’t know what I should be next for a long time….I was aggressive within my field of choice, I was a strong disciplinarian while raising my kids and now, it’s just my husband and I with no real stress to think about. What do I do with that?
Retirement used to be that very short period of time between your career and your death. Now it’s often one of the longest phases of our lives, so what do I do with my time…my different energy level…my new found “status”? I quickly figured out I wasn’t prepared to be this age, I wasn’t prepared to be tired and I wasn’t prepared to have, well, no status. When my husband and I moved to a new city, no one asked me where I worked or what I did. I had no status. I’d open up Facebook and stare at the status button…I’ll just read everybody else’s status!
It’s now been almost 10 years since I quit my professional life, and as I look back at my journey into the aging process I remember something a nun told me. It’s not until our aging process begins that the brilliant colors we carry around inside us can be seen…It’s just like the fall leaves, they don’t become colorful until they begin to age.
I couldn’t have even told you what my friend, the nun meant until I reached this point of my life and now have the ability to look back. I’ve learned a lot in the last 10 years (of retirement) and even though I’m not quite 60, I can feel it breathing down the back of my neck. All I can say is “I wish I knew then what I know now”.
So here’s my guide to growing old(er) gracefully…
Grey areas. There will be more of them….accept it. I’m not just talking about your hair, the lines that separate black and white will begin to blur. If I allow myself to be more willing to listen and entertain ideas other than those that I have held onto so strongly for so long, I am a better person…I find myself residing in a grey area more of the time. The grey in your hair, your skin and your wardrobe? That is remedied easily with a box, a toner and a set of rose colored eyeballs.
Respond don’t react. This kind of falls under the category of “would you rather be happy or right? Choose happy. Sometimes a reaction isn’t even necessary.
Accentuate the positive…eliminate the negative…It’s so much more than lyrics to a song from Jungle book….everybody needs an anthem, so keep a song in your head and don’t be afraid to sing it out loud. Ceaser’s Way is brilliant! Use it on your dogs, use it on your family and most of all use it as a guideline for dealing with all….PEOPLE.
Ceaser Millan’s (The Dog Whisperer) approach to a well behaved dog is being calm – assertive…just be calm assertive all the time, not just with the pooch. I wish I would have known this years ago when I was beating a dead horse.
Friends are more important than ever. And with that being said, I no longer feel obligated to stay in touch with friends that were really toxic in nature or not really offering a recipricol relationship. Sometimes you have to know when to hold em…and know when to fold em.
Learning really is much more enjoyable now. When I was a kid, learning was punitive in nature….get a bad grade, your grounded….don’t know the answer on your homework, you’re not trying hard enough. So many of us grew up with the philosophy, you have to learn in order to do. It is now ok “to do” in order to learn. Who cares if you make mistakes? You’re the boss applesauce.
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep