Life’s teaching me ageing is overrated, but with a positive attitude, self-love and genuine effort, it doesn’t need to be as bad as people think. For sure, convenience is important as our aging limitations become manifest, but we mustn’t stop walking the path to its inevitability in give-up mode, hence shading our short existence on this third rock from the sun.
It’s easy giving up, unless of course, it’s not mentally or physically possible. The discomfort that comes from learning is less welcome as we age, because for many reasons, learning can be both difficult and wonderful.
The first place we lose the battle is with our thinking. If we think it’s permanent, then it’s permanent. If we think we’ve reached our limits, then we have. If we think we’ll never be well, then we won’t. We must look inward to see what’s blocking us, filter our thinking, discard negative self-talk, and be aware that a lack of positive enthusiasm negatively affects our entire being.
Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old. Whether 20 or 80, anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young”. The great Michelangelo was credited for saying "still I am learning." In fact, at 87, Michelangelo wrote this inscription on a sketch he was working on at the time. If we’re mentally present in the moment, learning, challenging our brain cells, and growing in wonder and awe, we can retain our joie de vivre.
I overheard an elder say, “I’m satisfied with what I know. Now I can spend my days eating, burping, napping, watching TV and movies, playing cards and board games.” In all respect, it's their journey, their choices, not my business, but I admit hanging out with the older crowd who seem to have given up, sucks the life out of me hearing them grumbling about their various illnesses, where they ache, or as if it’s a competition, how many prescriptions they take which empowers the beast of aging by focusing energy on the negative.
Experience taught me worrying and complaining changes nothing but cheats me out of what little sands of time I have left in the hourglass. Complaining evaporates any joy we might find. Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow’s not guaranteed, so focus on the present moment, as suggested in Eckhart Tolle’s book, “The Power of Now.”
I’ve given family and friends permission to shoot me if they ever see me wearing the “I’ve given up” uniform of a fanny pack, white sneakers, baggy sweatpants, and untrimmed nose hairs. I still got some juice and self-pride, so I’m not giving up.
A Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends survey on aging among a sample of 2,969 adults finds we’re never too old to feel young. But it takes mindful effort. Sitting around waiting for the end is self-defeating. The study results show About eight-in-ten seniors read a book, newspaper, or magazine. I prefer curiosity-spawned research and podcasts to grow my knowledge, but I avoid rotting my brain with sensationalistic, polarizing political theater, fear-based journalism and scandalmongering rags regarding pop celebrities.
I’ve noticed, when I weaken and get too comfortable nearing the finish line, I lose enthusiasm. So, when I get up each day with the sun, stretch, yawn, make my daily intention and the bed, dress well, tidy my appearance, and check my beard for granola crumbs, my day and I take on a higher vibe.
Give up? Not me. I’m a long way from perfect and as humanly flawed as the next person, and I don’t always succeed, but I give it my best shot. I may be ancient to my grandkids, but I’m still alive, care how I look and age, and take advantage of this magnificent, albeit relatively short earthly experience.
Seems the more I learn the more I learn I have more to learn… and unlearn. It never ends. Education is not something we ever finish. It’s not a waste to invest in ourselves, to grow and learn about earth, humanity and the vast, mysterious cosmos.
To live my best life now, I’ve chosen to stretch my brain enough before it seizes completely. Although, friends and family agree that the boat sailed. Once I began feeling good about myself and knew I could still learn whatever piqued my curiosity, I realized the only one stopping me, was me, and that my thoughts combined with feelings and positive self-talk have power. When I think negative thoughts they gain power and sure as heck, bad follows. When I think good thoughts, good follows, supported by Newton's Law of Attraction.
Yes Jim, no one gets out alive. Reality is, we all start dying the moment we’re born. So, if able, why not seize each precious remaining day and learn something new, but please, it would be such a wasted opportunity on our unique journey of life to give in prematurely and die before you die.