Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Aging and Attitude

Yahoo photobucket images: upper right by Stacnjo and lower right (hands) by Seanchai.
Aging is like the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s what we see when a difficult project is finally nearing an end, a conflict is drawing to an inevitable conclusion, a dream is floating into a bright blue sky.

It’s what every human being faces from the moment of birth to the end of life, the final dying of the light. Most of us boomers and older long-retired are raging against it, in positive ways, like taking care of our health, eating right, exercising, being with friends and family, having an upbeat spirit. Most of us don’t feel as old as we are or as old as we look. As Jimmy Buffet put it, “Let those winds of time blow over my head, I’d rather die while I’m living than live while I’m Dead.”

But aging is not for the feint of heart, a friend said to me, as we silently

contemplated, without saying it out loud, our arthritis, osteoporosus, waist spread, high cholesterol, sore hip and other aches and pains.

It's all attitude. I think there’s an energy and a freedom that comes with age, not to mention some experience and wisdom about life. I myself tend to go light on “the wisdom” factor, and a little bit more heavy on the “life’s a daring adventure” side. When I was a PCV in Ukraine I used to say “It’s amazing where life takes you, if you take life as it comes.” I still think so, even at this age, even as I walk toward that bright light.

My daughter Elissa, my new fitness and workout partner, reminds me to take it easy! Yes, I need these reminders. When we got to our first fitness class at St. Joe’s, her new parish, we picked up a poem, more a prayer, left by the young fitness instructor. It’s another reminder that our perceptions about growing old make a difference.

A Blessing for Old Age (from the Sacred Art of Living Center)
May the light of your soul mind you…
May you be given a wisdom…to see this beautiful time of harvesting…
May you be given the gift of meeting the eternal light and beauty
that is within you.
May you find a wonderful love in yourself for yourself.

PS We are still going to that exercise class, every Tuesday and Thursday mornings, us and about 20 beautiful aging and ageless women. A wonderful, friendly, enthusiastic group. Next up, joining the Y and taking water aerobics and using the gym. On a roll.

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