As published in Sixty and Me:
I’ve spent a lifetime aging and had my fair share of stress while pursuing balance. And, if you are part of the boomer generation, you know what I mean.
Sometimes the decades go by and you wake up and you’re 64! How did that happen? Where did the time go?
And, sometimes, you slog through the years and are overly conscious about adding another year, another notch on your aging belt. Oh, dear, I’m 60 now! And next year I’ll be 61! Will it ever end?
Thoughts about aging remind me of Stephen Sondheim’s song from Follies, “I’m Still Here.”
Good times and bad times, I’ve seen them all
And, my dear, I’m still here
Plush velvet sometimes
Sometimes just pretzels and beer, but I’m here.
Each of us handles the aging process differently. For some, there are certainly worries and fears. There are anxieties and miss-steps that prevent living joyfully in the present. These negative mindsets get in the way while facing challenges in the future with energy and fortitude.
Forgetting to slow down your monkey mind by staying present and breathing deeply is ubiquitous.
Bette Davis reminded us way back in the day that aging is not for sissies. So if aging isn’t for sissies let’s get going and be the best that we can be as we age. Aging takes courage and commitment. And above all aging take grace. The grace of knowing yourself. And the beauty of self-knowledge is that you can become the person you always should have been (Thank you David Bowie).
The following are 5 little known observations about how you might reduce anxieties and worries, eliminate excuses and achieve balance and happiness.
It’s human nature to resist. It’s human nature to deny, reject or otherwise oppose an action. But, as Stephen Pressfeld writes in his book, The Art of War, resistance is the most toxic force on the planet.
It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile dysfunction. It crushes our spirit and makes us less than we were born to be.
And that’s really boring because it allows us to make endless excuses not to do what we want to do, need to do, or have to do. Resistance takes away our energy, stifles ingenuity, and obliterates creativity.
So be aware, be vigilant, and be clear about what you want to do. You can then pursue your passions and your dreams as you age.
Take Care of Yourself, Not Just Others
It is an axiom that women are the caretakers of the world. Women are nurturers by nature. But as you age, the way you take care of yourself matters more. You need more breathing space and more time to self-reflect as you age.
It’s perfectly wonderful to give yourself many gifts throughout the day, the week, and the month. It is good to practice yoga, meditation, play a round of golf, read, learn something new, and take a relaxing bath.
It’s important to remember that you are the most important gift to yourself as you age. Your relationship to yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have in your life.
From the time you entered adulthood, you heard the caution to set your boundaries with family, friends, and career. As you age, there may be a growing or extended family that requires your attention: you might have friends who need your companionship or your resources. Yet, the aging process reminds you that time is precious.
The mantra to honor your mind, body and spirit takes precedence. Otherwise, you might become a martyr to another person’s life. Listen to your needs and desires and say no when it’s appropriate.
Forgive Yourself and Move On
We all make mistakes and, hopefully, we learn from making them. It’s been said that’s it’s harder to forgive yourself for making mistakes than it is to forgive others.
Both kinds of forgiveness are important. You don’t want to get sucked into the vortex of an unforgiving mindset. It’s wiser to cultivate a generosity of spirit. A positive mindset will make life more joyful and productive.
Face Life’s Challenges Joyfully
You’ve lived many decades. You are one of the fortunate people. You are living a freer life, but there are still challenges and changes you encounter: for example, moving to another city can be distressing.
As you age, there is a need to reframe your needs and desires, to leave your comfort zone due to necessity, or just to reconfigure your life. It’s important to manage these changes with joy and positive energy.
These 5 observations might increase your engagement in the aging process in small but significant ways. They also serve as an acknowledgement and an accomplishment that you are still reframing your personal power and your professional integrity. And they could possibly lead you to a more creative and fulfilling life.
Do you feel that your life is in balance? What little known observations could you image that might encourage a more mindful awareness of all that is happening in your life? Please join the conversation.
Joan Moran is a keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor and an Argentine tango dancer, Joan is the author of 60, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer. Her new book, I’m The Boss of Me! Stay Sexy, Strong & Smart at Any Age, is now on Amazon. Check out Joan’s website joanfrancesmoran.com and follow on Twitter @joanfmoran.