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Ageless Aging May 2017
May 23, 2017
"It was the Best of Times. It was the Worst of Times." These words open Charles Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities. I think this could easily be applied to our third great stage in life, Elderhood. .
Best of times...never before have we had so much time to try new things, to explore the world around us, to review and sometimes revise long term habits and attitudes, to decide what legacy we want to leave. . And yes, it can be the worst of times if we can not adapt to changes in our bodies or in our circumstances - if we cling to old habits even if they no longer work for us we will not be happy. . As we age, we have a basic choice. We choose to be happy or not. That is it.
Happy is ....I sometimes think of the young parent who was frustrated by the behavior his child. The parent wanted to punish the child so sent the child to her room. Once there the child got out a book, began to read and spent a lovely hour lost in the imaginative world of the author. And there is the story of the woman who developed a severe cold, so she retreated to bed and had one of her best sleeps in ages. . You can probably think of other stories of persons whose attitude (and action) changed a problem into some pleasant experience. . Age IS something we can enjoy. People who are very busy seldom have time to really enjoy things. They are always thinking , moving to the next thing. Breakfast is something they 'get through' because they need to get on to their day. They may greet but rush past people. Their minds are always on what comes next. They can not savor their commute because they are focused on where they are going and what they will do when they get there. .
And when they get there, they feel the pressure, the call of the next thing. to do, and the next and next. They do not even enjoy the last part of their work day because they are thinking of the commute home. Constant attention to the 'next thing' is a sure way to feel stressed,,,a sure way to deprive ourselves of enjoying what is happening now.
This is not new
As we age, as we move into elderhood we often increase two abilities. First our ability to focus on NOW. IF the NOW is pleasant we can really savor it. And if the now is unpleasant, staying with each NOW means we are not adding to our experience of unpleasantness by remembering the unpleasantness of before or or anticipating any unpleasantness that may be coming after. .
(If you ask someone in pain if they can handle the pain NOW, most will say yes.) Keeping aware of Now, Now, Now is a technique long used in pain management. . When we think, this is what I have NOW BUT it will go on and on or get worse, we force ourselves to feel the burden of future pain, as well as the burden of our pain right now. Having two burdens make it much heavier to bear. .
Staying in the NOW is a technique I am using with my aging. Not dwelling on future pains for loss. Yes, I take time to remember the good of the past AS WELL AS how I was able to come through past difficulties. Such thoughts gives courage for NOW and optimism for my future. .
My mind might fail to remember where I put the scissors BUT using it to remember the good from the past gives me courage now and offers hope for my future. .
May your mind serve you as well...or even better.
PS If you have particular ways you use your mind to assist in your aging and would be willing to share with others, please reply to the post.. Perhaps I can find a way to add some stories to to the web site.
Be well, be happy . Thanks Kate
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