Struggling with Getting Older?: It’s Time to Embrace the Gift and Fun of Aging!!
Updated: September 6, 2011
Do you sometimes wonder who that older person is looking back at you in the mirror? Ever find yourself thinking, “How did I get all these wrinkles?” Feel like your body has become a science project gone awry?
In today’s youth-focused culture, aging is viewed as something to be fought off as long as possible. Even for the most liberated of us, growing old can feel like a threat to our self worth, our confidence, and even our very identity. But, it doesn’t have to be that way!
Growing older is an inevitable and—dare I say—beautiful fact of life. From our first breath to our last, we’re here to experience, to grow, and to evolve. With the right mindset, aging can become an incredible gift—one that is full of wisdom, strength, purpose, adventure, and more and more fun.
It’s funny how as children, we can’t wait to grow up. We count the days to our birthdays, daydream about blowing out all those candles, and delight in all the presents. Yet, as we move through our 20s and 30s, and the dreaded 40s, many of us start to cling to the lower numbers and begin to dread each passing year. Unfortunately, this all too common mindset is a recipe for unhappiness, stress, and hopelessness. The more we long for the years gone by, the less we’re able to enjoy the present, which is where all of our power is.
I can still vividly remember the first time I looked in the mirror only to discover that two crevices had suddenly appeared around my mouth. At 32, I’d just started to feel like I’d come into my own and my life had more purpose than ever before. There I was about to meet a friend for dinner and going about my usual routine of getting ready. I went to the mirror to put on a bit of lipstick when I discovered these two seemingly gigantic wrinkles that seemed to have appeared in the midst of only a few hours. Who was this person with these laugh lines? What was going on?
I felt a bit stressed and somewhat worried about this new discovery. Of course, I knew that I wouldn’t have the glowing skin and firm booty of a twenty-something forever, but up to that point in my life, aging seemed like a distant thing. My initial stress and shock wasn’t so much about getting wrinkles as it was about facing the reality of my mortality. In that moment, it hit me–just like everyone else, I was going to get old and my body would eventually die.
We’ve all had moments like this. While difficult, they also empower us to grow and change our perceptions. Yes, our physical bodies are going to die, which is a difficult truth to accept. But, with this acceptance comes greater power and a stronger connection to the Divine.
Life’s magic is everywhere, even in places that seem wrinkled.
When I look back on that moment in the mirror, I can see that it was one of life’s mini wake up calls. Once I embraced those two new lines and the fact that I was indeed getting older, I was finally able to make the shifts I needed and wanted to make in my life. I was able to get clearer about my purpose and finally had the courage to walk that path. Embracing aging inspired me to cultivate a deeper connection with Spirit. And, I also become more dedicated to living fully in each moment and adding more fun to my life.
Now into my 50s, I celebrate each passing year—and each new laugh line—with more enthusiasm than the last. I just turned 53 in July, and had the most fun-filled weekend of riding my Harley motorcycle, holding hands and snuggling up to my gorgeous husband while seeing Harry Potter, and indulging in a little bit of cake and ice cream. I practice moderation and I make a point to consciously love and accept my body flaws and all! I spent too much time berating myself for my weight, cellulite, wrinkles, ad infinitum. I have learned that loving myself now in all my perfect imperfections is the answer!
OK, you might be thinking, “But, Colette, I just can’t get over the flaws I see in the mirror.” Or, “There’s no way I can embrace my age with all my health problems.” Or, “I’ve made so many mistakes and have so many regrets, happiness and adventure at my age is impossible.”
Here’s the thing: We are all getting older, it’s just a matter of whether we decide to do so with passion and purpose or to do so kicking and screaming!
When you refuse to accept your age or continually loathe yourself upon glancing in the mirror, you end up trapped in the Ghostlands, where there’s no learning or growing because you’re so focused on the past. (To remind you again, there is no power in the past or future—only the present!) As I talk about in my book, The Map: Finding the Magic and Meaning in Your Life, this kind of obsession with the past only prevents you from experiencing joy in the present and planning something better in the future. It just keeps you unhappy and stuck in your mind. The more you dwell, the more time gets away from you; before you know it, you’re sleepwalking through each day, losing the valuable time you do have while you’re fixating on the time gone by.
Ultimately, when you choose to embrace the process of aging, you tap into the incredible power of the present to co-create the purposeful and authentic life you desire. Moreover, with that positive change in mindset, you’re actually bound to look and feel lighter, happier, and even younger.
Get Out of the Ghostlands!
In order to move through the Ghostlands of Aging, it’s crucial to get out of any denial and to ventilate your emotions. I know firsthand that getting older isn’t always an easy process. It’s natural to resist it and to feel angry, confused, regretful, and so on. Rather than keep all of these feelings inside you, it’s important to let them out so you can move on. Either spend some time writing in your journal or write a letter to Spirit about your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs on aging, growing old, and even dying.
Gratitude and Humility?No matter what’s going on in your life, you have to honor what you have now in the present and be grateful for it. You have to heal yourself and find beauty in your life today. When you practice gratitude and surrender your fears to Spirit, you gain the power of perception and open yourself up to the magical doors of possibility and even better goodness to come. So, write a letter to Spirit in which you turn over your fears and worries. Then, make a gratitude life. What’s good about your life right now? What do you love about yourself?
Take Out a New Lease on Life!
This is the perfect time for a self-inventory so you can open your eyes to what you want to experience in the years to come!
Looking back on your life so far, what are you most proud of? How have you grown and evolved? What might you have done differently?
What are your dreams for the coming years of your life? Who do you want to be? What would you like to do? What new memories would you like to create? How do you need to grow and evolve to become the person who lives this life?
In love and service,
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