Career TransitionsApril 19, 2023
Aging and Relationship TransitionsMay 3, 2023
Aging is a continual transition. It is the ride we are all on for as long as we are still alive. For reference, I am now 60 years old. White hair, age spots, and decreased stamina are part of my everyday reality. Clearer values, increased comfort in being myself, and a longer-term perspective are also part of my everyday reality. Meanwhile my mother and aunts tell me I am young. It is all relative. My thoughts on the transition of aging:
Moving your body. While the “use or lose it” principle is always true it becomes more true the older you get. Which is not to say that it is always about losing abilities. I have a friend, close to my age who decided to deal with life stress by joining a gym and working out with a trainer. She was pleasantly surprised to find out that she can lift bags of mulch much more easily this spring. Not moving though results in stiffer joints and fatigue more quickly than when younger.
It is fascinating how the understanding of time changes as you get older. For a child 2 months is forever! Several years ago, I thought that people who were 70 years old were old, now I am not so sure. And yet there are days and weeks that move more slowly. A lot can happen in an hour. Take advantage of your understanding of time and realize how much you can fit into a day. Reminisce backwards and realize how much has happened in the time you have been an adult.
Try something new and hold your ground on the things you have already tried. One advantage of being older is that you have tried some things and know if you like them or not. No thank you to scallops or caviar, haunted houses or rides that spin. New ideas, cuisine, music or activities keep life interesting. There is research that adding new activities to your life slows down your sense of time as well.
Yes, that includes considering your own mortality. There is an unknown amount of time left to do the stuff you want to do. Sometimes medical events cause a doctor to make a guess. They are often wrong. All we know for sure is that it isn’t forever. Knowing that – what are the things you really want to do in your lifetime? And can you foresee an age when it won’t be enjoyable? I personally love to ski, but might not love it in my 80s. I plan to fit in some skiing next winter.
Adaptation is part of moving forward. There may be some things you can’t do. Arthritis in my neck and right hand make fine motor tasks painful. I can ski but I can’t do a lot of the crafts and art projects I used to enjoy. And too much time on electronic gadgets worsens my neck. Exploring things that can be done is one of my new realities. Perhaps I will try golf someday.
Pay attention to your patience. It changes as you get older. For some things you may find you are much more patient. In other ways you may be much less patient. Are you becoming old and cranky or are you getting old enough to say what is on your mind? I find I am more comfortable being myself and have a clearer view of my values. This can result in more, or less, patience depending on the situation.
Another thing about getting older – I keep redefining what it means to be old. For starters, old is no longer a specific age but is more about ability and liveliness. Getting old is a privilege. I have an aunt who is 100 years old. She naps when she wants and states her opinion on all things. One thing about getting older that I like – the increased freedom to do what works for you along with the knowledge of what that looks like. What are you experiencing with this universal transition?
The next few weeks I will be wrapping up this blog series about transitions. If you have a transition you would like to see me write about drop me a line at email@example.com. I will give your topic my attention. Looking forward to hearing from you.