The ABCs of Being Ageless

Monday, May 17, 2010 12:05
Posted in category Anti-Aging

If anyone wanted to name this time in human history, they might call it the age of possibilities and change. What is now called the Baby Boomer generation began arriving just after World War II and people began speculating on the difference this wave of people would create on our society. And what a difference they have made — everything from disposal diapers to incredible computers. The philosophy of the generation before them was, “If it ain’t broke. Don’t fix it. If it is broke, make do.” The baby boomers philosophy seems to be, “Even if it isn’t broke, throw it away, and create a better one.”

Ken Dychtwald saw early on the political, social and economic effect this boom in the populations would have. His book, The “AgeWave” was one of the first to show us what we needed to be prepared for.

Where do you and I fit in all of this? We live in an open field of infinite possibilities for our lives. As we leave behind old ways of doing things and are faced with the incredible burst of technology in our lives, we are also entering into an extended lifespan. What used to be considered “old age” is now in the prime of life. Yogi Berra was right when he said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” We have come to accept that life-long learning is the mode for the future. If we can say one thing for sure about the decades following our 40th birthday, we can say they are filled with change — some we can anticipate — some surprise us. The greatest talent we can develop is to become committed to being an “artist of change.” We may be given an outline for our mature years, but we add the color and texture. While some people in our lives may insist we color within the established lines, no one can control the direction of our artistry.
Between the ages of 40 and 55 we can expect to see the results of a metabolic slowdown that began in our 30s. We will also experience, in various ways, our body’s approach to a menopause. After 55, we enter a maze of conditions said to be typical of the older generations. But, these conditions exist only as possibilities, not as our destiny.

Change is natural to life. Being able to embrace the natural changes of our lives does not mean “growing old gracefully” In fact it doesn’t mean growing old at all. Old is a state of mind. Being ageless means being who we are, at this present moment, while challenging the boundaries of our experience with an ageless attitude. The truly creative and courageous artist of life grows into longevity with spirit and grace, and a mite of attitude.

Here are the ABCs of being ageless

A

Attitude

Having an “I am not the average woman” attitude is almost essential in order to face the onslaught of advertising focused on the prevention of aging. To be able to choose whether to cut away our wrinkles, lose our fat through suction, color our hair or use products to prevent others from knowing that we are growing older requires that we know our personal, true reasons for doing so. Low self-esteem is not cured by products and neither is aging. When we use these procedures for healthy reasons, they enhance our living. When we use products or procedures to make up for what we think are our shortcomings, there will always be something else we need to do to be “good enough.” Being aware of the natural changes of our bodies means we embrace them but are not limited by them. These changes include a slower metabolism, which requires us to pay closer attention to what and when we eat. Eating a diet filled with fresh fruit and vegetables and cutting down on fat and sugar will enhance our vitality and well-being. If our energy is not what it was at 20, we can still be involved and active at our new level.

Activity

Aging can also mean bone mass loss, which does not have to lead to weak or broken bones if it is checked by appropriate calcium intake and weight-bearing exercises. Simple things like walking, dancing, gardening jump roping can take the place of joining a gym. If you join a gym, try to find one that focuses on women. The equipment is more our size and the trainers are prepared to work with us to build healthy bodies.

B

Boldness

When we are young, being bold is just part of our learning experience. We are always trying new things because the world is new to us. When we are more experienced, we can sometimes lose our sense of wonder, and our sense of adventure. Change is here to stay. Our world is in a dynamic change mode, and if we are to not feel we are getting too old to keep up we must boldly enter into learning. Taking a class in a subject that interests you, yet is unfamiliar to you is a bold step. Joining a club or group for travel, cultural exchanges, book review, or bird watching is a bold move if you don’t know the other group members. There are many ways to be bold in life.

Balance

There is a fine line between accepting the natural changes of age and using our age as an excuse by claiming our limitations as the result of aging. The most common conditions attributed to aging include lack of energy, memory dysfunction, weight gain, crankiness and lack of participation. Many times these are brought on by unwise choices or by passively accepting that there is nothing we can do about them. By making wise choices in food and exercise, keeping involved with people, volunteering for something we believe in, and by keeping our minds actively exploring new topics and activities, we will maintain a balance between natural aging and the push to move beyond our conditions.

C

Courage

The kind of courage needed to be an Artist of Change is not the same as the courage to face a disaster or a rampaging mob. There is no adrenalin rush in making a decision to refuse a health challenge as permanent, or in joining a new exercise class. The courage of an artist is to step up to each blank canvas and create something new. The courage of an artist of change is to step up to each new day as if it were a blank canvas, letting go of past experiences and asking, “What shall I create today?” The courage to forgive makes a hurting relationship into a blank canvas. The courage to begin a new career turns our workday into a blank canvas. The courage to give up the myths of aging turns every day into a great adventure.

Commitment

True commitment has no chance of failure. True commitment is making and remaking our choices to bring ourselves back to what we truly value. It allows us to return to healthy choices after too many desserts and late-night snacks and return to exercise after something interrupts it. Commitment embraces everything about change in the outer world, while remaining true to the values, virtues and principles that are our compasses.

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