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What’s Bugging You About Getting Old?

May 3, 2013

The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold NiebuhrEverywhere I go I encounter people complaining about getting old, and if they’re not I generally have the feeling they are biting their tongue. I am as aware as the next person that age has its problems and presents us with a new set of obstacles, but I can’t think of a time in my life when I didn’t encounter problems and obstacles. Can you?

No matter what our age, if we are living life with a modicum of awareness we are grappling with one issue or another and wondering what we can do to improve our lot. Perhaps, after all these years of living without attaining heaven on earth we might consider embracing our challenges as what is rather than allowing ourselves to feel like victims.

The real issue underlying our victim mentality is the belief that we are powerless. When presented with the end result of aging it’s pretty easy to feel powerless! But, are we?

Like many of you, one of my favorite prayers is the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

We cannot really slow the hands of time to any significant degree. We cannot choose the moment of our death. Healthy living and plastic surgery can only go so far. They cannot stop fate from having its way with us. We also cannot change the past. We cannot undo what we have done.

But, we do have within our reach the power to take everything we’ve learned and experienced thus far and put it to good use. We can make changes in the way we live and the way we think about ourselves and our lives. We can use our power of thought to look at the positives in our life and we can choose not to stop ourselves when we start to go down into the dark hole of self-pity and despair.

As long as we have our wits about us, we can choose to “practice” joy, one moment at a time, one day at a time, one year at a time. Joy does not just pour down upon us and sweep us up in its reverie. True joy is a choice, an exercise that does indeed take practice. And at this moment we do have time to practice!

© Dorothy Sander 2013

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2013 1:07 pm

    It has taken me the better part of a lifetime to really understand what “acceptance” means. Acceptance for me is knowing that humans change over an expanse of time and that is what is and I need not analyze it or create a “story” about what it means. I think we grow old because we expect it or fall into all the cultural “stuff” about aging. It benefits a zillion corporations to turn our focus to aging. It is a choice whether or not we turn our attention there. Why even ask what is bugging me about getting old? I would rather check in with myself each day asking: “am I making choices and decisions that support my delight in living”.? I would rather use my wise years to totally give myself to the beauty of everything about this earth and its beings. I shun all the conversations that focus on body changes and fears. It is not denial. I simply feel more peaceful and available to myself and others. I relish conversations that see us all as on a journey and we all have so much to share with each other about that journey—mostly uncontrollable laughter leads the way for me and moments of being moved nature. I love to share this and more with other humans!

    • May 3, 2013 1:28 pm

      I hear you! Good for you for choosing where you focus your attention. You have received one of the best gifts that only time can give. Those who are still struggling and wrestling with the early stages of recognizing their own wisdom and power have much to learn from watching women like yourself grab the mantle of what is and wear it proudly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      • Wilhelmine permalink
        May 3, 2013 2:04 pm

        Excellent attitude. I’m working on this.

  2. May 3, 2013 4:30 pm

    As I always say, “Consider the alternative.” Your advice to “practice joy” is definitely the way to go as we remind ourselves with each sunrise that every day is a gift.

    • May 3, 2013 8:09 pm

      I wish I was up to see the sunrise more often Patricia! Perhaps, overlooking the ocean simultaneously. 🙂

  3. May 3, 2013 5:01 pm

    I don’t even think about getting old and I’m 63. I don’t have any aches and pains, and I can do pretty much anything I want. My mother thought she was old all of her life. When I was 13, I told myself I was never going to be like that. She was always focused on her beauty. I recently asked her how she felt when she realized she was losing her beauty. She said it almost killed her.

    Women are going to be a lot happier when they stop measuring their self-worth by how they look and by the opinion of others. The only opinion that matters is your own. Learn to love yourself.

    • May 3, 2013 8:10 pm

      My mother was the same way Brenda. My sisters and I laugh about how many “last suppers” we had starting when she was about 65. She lived to be 97!

  4. May 5, 2013 1:05 pm

    I’m not there yet! Yall have it so together! What I can say is that at the ripe “old” age of 62 I appreciate life and am more content than ever. I have often said, “I have my phD in the school of hard knocks”. It’s been challenging to say the least.

    I don’t know how I got here, but as a full-time caregiver of my 92 yr. old bedfast mother-in-law, I am enjoying the simple pleasures and seeing the beauty in the very minute.

    • May 5, 2013 4:05 pm

      I don’t think any of us ever have it “all together” bittygirl. I know I sure don’t. I am a constant work in progress, and trust me, the progress feels very slow most of the time! I turn 62 this summer and have also lived a life of hard knocks. AS painful as it has been, such a life can be a tremendous teacher. Personally, I think being able to appreciate the simple pleasures in the here and now in the midst of life’s challenges may be just as good as it gets. Thank you for taking the time to put a realistic spin on the conversation.

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