I’ve been thinking a lot about growing older and how our lives change as we age. I’ve been thinking about this from my own experiences and watching my loved ones get older. I’ve been paying closer attention to how our bodies change, how our coping skills change, and the increased need for emotional and physical support.
When I think about my own experiences, I’ve noticed how much I have changed (or maybe grown?) in the past couple years (mentally, emotionally, and physically) and some of those changes were forced or unexpected due to the pandemic. Most times I am okay with these changes and other times I wish I had a bit more control (don’t we all). Can I be real for a moment? Growing older suddenly became a high anxiety experience for me and at times I wish I could go back to the pure excitement I felt about getting older. Okay, to be fair, the excitement is there, it’s just not as “loud’ or “big” … it’s more of a “ah, okay, here we go” type of energy now.
A couple months ago, I had a pretty significant experience that caused a major shift in my life. It’s also very obvious to me that my perceptions about growing older shifted drastically after that experience. I’m now thinking about things I didn’t consider before and I have a different lens through which I’m seeing life. I think that’s okay.
When I think about growing older, I think about the ways I have been successful and the things I have accomplished in life to this point and I feel, for the most part, content. I think about mistakes and decisions I made in the past and how those shape who I am now. While it might be easy to shift into regret and blame, I like to think of the past as a guide for the present and future. It helps me to stay hopeful and comforted knowing that I am growing every day, and each day I create memories for the future. I also recognize that the way I take care of myself as I get older is shifting, and figured I would share a few things to consider:
- take a moment to reflect on what has gone well and is going well in life
- make a list of the people, place, and experiences you are grateful for
- pay attention to your coping skills and notice how your needs might be changing
- schedule an appointment with a licensed counselor to talk about the changes you are experiencing
I think growing older is a privilege and a sacred experience. Each day when I wake up, I am thankful for another day to create memories, make mistakes, connect with others, and learn. Growing older is a blessing that I receive each day, and I often reflect on these beautiful words which I want to share with you:
“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
How are you spending every 24 hour cycle? What are you thoughts on growing older?