Removing our fear of aging
What is it about ageing we fear? For me it has been many things. The unknown, littered with the ghosts of my childhood and early childhood conditioning. Sick people, being sick, no money, the poor house (!), diminishing choice, loss of function, death of dreams, anger I didn’t achieve my potential. Affluence has a lot to answer for. It has not only given us choices undreamed of by the generations before us, but has given us the wherewithal to examine our navels (as we age) in very sophisticated ways. Psychotherapy, constellation therapy, energy work, network care, neurofeedback training, Anthony Robbins, Deepak Chopra and more. We have a myriad of ways to examine the sources of our discontent and as we age the drumbeat of our lack of fulfilment becomes louder and louder.
How can we successfully age?
What to do about this ageing process, about this curse or gift, depending how we look at it?
Acceptance of our aging process is paramount to our happiness
Number one, and this is the cornerstone to any happy life, is acceptance. Acceptance of the fact we are ageing and the marching of time is out of our control; it will run its course regardless of our denial of it and our crushing desire to stop it.
We need to embrace aging as a time of growth
Number two is to embrace our ageing process. This doesn’t mean we have to enjoy all bits of it, but we will have a better chance of enjoying it at some stage if we don’t resist so hard. Let’s face it, there is burgeoning support for the notion we can extend our lives and thousands of therapies pitch at being a ‘younger you’. We can’t beat death, though, or indeed having to go on that journey of discovery towards our old age. The good news is, though, that many aspects of the trip are under our control if we have the right attitude and embrace the journey as one full of possibility and growth. Growth in a different way than we’ve experienced before. Growth of our potential as human spirits and our capacity to love and contribute. Of course, there will be lack of control over some things and maybe a few bogey men lurking, but if we are proactive and ready for life in a way that’s positive, we’ll have a much better chance of dealing with them when they say, “Boo”.
We need to get strategic about how we age
Which leads to the third thing. Get strategic. This is the key plank of the slow-ageing philosophy and principles. We have a choice in how we age – once we are conscious of this we can realise a healthy ageing process and successful ageing. To enjoy the second half of our lives, we have to be healthy or be working on attaining a state of health if we’ve lost it. We need to be healthy at any age and push back on the notion that it is OK to not feel quite right or readily slide into a diseased state, simply because we are 50, 60, 70 or 100. We have to stop people saying condescendingly, even if well-meaningly, “My goodness, you are good for your age”, as this perpetrates the problem that it is unusual to be fit and vital when we are older.