Do the words aging and happiness go together in your mind? Or are you feeling like you’re stuck in a race to the bottom and some days, even picking up speed? Your visits to the doctor are more frequent, the lineup of pills in the medicine cabinet is longer and getting out of your chair is so much harder. And to top it all off, you’re usually tired because you’re always getting up in the middle of the night to head for the bathroom.
Does The State of Your Body Dictate Aging and Happiness?
Those physical changes are there and I’m not going to argue that they’re all in your head. Not at, all because those or variations happen to all of us. But happiness is based on more than how your body is doing at any given moment. If that wasn’t true, then people like Stephen Hawking would have been one of the most miserable people on earth. Or someone like Nick Vujcic, who has no arms or legs would surely also be one of the most miserable people on earth.
Stephen Hawking, the Genius Mind Inside the Unaccommodating Body!
We remember Stephen Hawking for the amazing way that he continued to use his mind and live a full, although different kind of life. He even got to experience zero gravity in a specially modified jet similar to one that NASA uses for astronaut training. How cool is that and yet, he faced some terrible challenges. But he did mighty fine work in spite of them.
Nick Vujcic, A Giant of a Man Despite……
And then Nick Vujcic! What an amazing guy! Years ago, I first came across a video of a presentation he was making to an auditorium full of teenagers . He had their undivided attention! And when he started talking, his message was powerful and apparently spoke to them where they were at, and they loved him! In spite of his situation in life or maybe because of it…..he has a spirit of joy that is absolutely inspirational and draws you in like a moth to a flame.
So What’s My Point?
The point that I’m trying to make is, aging and happiness is a state of mind, not a state of body. And you get to decide what that state of mind is going to be. A few weeks ago, I had the great fortune of being asked to write an article for Therapist and Mental Health Blogger, Heather Leguilloux . Given the opportunity to chose, I decided to write a post called ‘5 Tips to Changing Your Outlook on Life’ . If you’re interested, I’d love it if you checked it out on her blog. And while you’re there, you should take a look at some of the other posts she’s written. She’s a great writer and has some really good insights of her own to share.
Anyway, the premise of the article that I wrote, is that you can ‘talk yourself’ into any kinds of feelings. Which means, you can also ‘talk yourself’ into feeling good about your life. And just as I mentioned in another post, it’s the kind of thing that only requires a small adjustment. An adjustment in the things you focus on. And out of that, it follows that you can change your perception of how aging and happiness can be parts of your life.
WHY AGING AND HAPPINESS WORK FOR ME!
I am happy to be in my 60’s. Outrageous as it may sound, I have no desire to go back to being a 20-something or even a 30-something……I am happy here, now.
Although to be honest, when I was younger, aging and happiness wasn’t even a phrase in my mind. Happiness, yes because everyone wants to be happy right? But aging??? Old meant boring, frail, weak, so who could be happy like that right? I’m not sure if I made a point of not thinking about it or if we’re wired to not think about it. Either way, those words weren’t on my radar, but regardless, aging has caught up with me. Which leaves me, just like you, having to deal with it or like some, grieving for a lost youth.
Are You Grieving For Something That You’ll Never Get Back? And It’s Making You Miserable?
I think there are three types of people who grieve for their youth. Someone who doesn’t like the direction their own life has taken, but feels too old to start off on a new trajectory. Would that be you perchance? Or perhaps you feel unfulfilled because you haven’t accomplished the great thing that you believe you were destined to put your name to. Or maybe you just aren’t feeling all that good physically, whether from illness or whatever. Any one of those can stall your search for aging with happiness can’t they?
Wrinkles and Creases Oh My! or Those Things We Must Contend With….
And then there’s this other stuff. We’re not as strong as we used to be, our skin is getting weirdly creepy, I mean ‘crepey’! (you know, that wasn’t a Freudian slip don’t you?). I think it actually is kind of creepy the first time that you notice the ‘skin’ issue. Instantly brings to mind some old aunt who may or may not have smelled funny, as she reached past you for the bread at lunch. Remember that up close look at her wrinkly arm in front of your ten year old face? And now you’re there too!
Or the other wrinkles that create shallow and deep furrows around your eyes and foreheads. It’s like our faces have become little ‘Badlands’ type landscapes. And the failing eyesight has gotta be the worst…or at least, really annoying because you can never find any of the pairs of glass that are stashed around the house. Thus the question, aging and happiness? Is that even possible?
So now that we’ve at least acknowledged some of the pain-in-the butt ways that aging smacks us and demands our attention, how about we give at least equal attention to the other side of that picture that is more subtle. That we maybe have to search a little harder to see.
SIX REASONS I DON’T MISS MY YOUTH!
- I don’t miss all my personal angst and drama. Seems like when we’re young, life can get so over dramatic. I can relax now because I’ve realized that the drama doesn’t fix things. It’ll always, only make a bad situation worse and probably complicate a good one.
- I don’t miss the uncomfortable, uncertainty of dating. Best foot forward and all that sort of thing! Would definitely not want to do that part of my life over again.
- When we’re young, other peoples opinions of us can make or break our day. I’ve finally realized that I’m not happy trying to keep everyone else happy. So I focus on being a good person and finding joy in the things I do. And because I’m happier, I’m nicer to be around.
- Because I’m retired, I don’t have to worry about getting through the next 70 years in a world that seems a lot crazy at times.
- I really don’t miss getting up for work every day. Especially on days when the weather is really the pits. So much nicer to settle back with a hot cup of something and putter around the house or apartment while the storm rages wouldn’t you say?
- When we’re young, we have kids. Consequently that means dealing with the drama that they stuff their lives with, whether toddlers or teens. Been there, done that and so glad I’m not doing it anymore.
Rather, I’ve gotten to the age and level of wisdom where I can actually come up with reasons to be glad to be at this end of life.
FIVE REASONS THAT AGING AND HAPPINESS DO GO TOGETHER.
- I’ve finally learned to be patient even when things don’t go as planned. With stress levels way down, I feel better most of the time.
- I recently decided that I don’t have to justify myself always and about everything to everyone. I like what I like and I’m not going to change that for the sake of anyone’s opinion of me. So if I don’t feel like dropping in at the monthly apartment complex ‘meet and greet’, I don’t have to. Most importantly, I’ve quit feeling guilty about not going.
- I’ve come to realize that people who are ‘different’ or have different beliefs are not a threat by virtue of being different. So I’d say that I’ve become more accepting of others. And that opens up space for peacefulness to take root in my spirit.
- Going to movies is cheaper! The ‘seniors discount’ is like a little reward for having survived this long isn’t it? Badges and stickers when we’re little kids, seniors discounts at the other end.
- I can take a nap whenever I want. I’ve gotten completely over my fear of the afternoon nap and I guarantee, you will too when your day comes. The best thing ever! And most of the time, it doesn’t even interfere with going to bed at a normal hour. Very cool and in my opinion now, one of the perks of becoming a ‘mature’ adult. (I think I’m coming to terms with the idea of a ‘second childhood’.)
My Adversity Ain’t the Same As Your Adversity!
Obviously, your life is going to have things going on it it that are really different than mine. You might have health issues that I don’t and the way things have worked out in your life and relationships will be different than the ones that I’m dealing with. But there’s an underlying principle that is the same for all of us. That aging and happiness aren’t contradictory. It does depend though, on which perspective you chose to view life from. The obvious? Or will you dig a little deeper to find an elusive silver lining? These days, I’m looking for that silver lining and it’s paying off.
I’ve had fun sharing with you, what aging and happiness mean to me. Maybe you feel the same or have a different slant on this phase of life that I haven’t thought of. Whatever the case, I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say! So share your thoughts and let me know what you think. In the meantime, be safe, be kind and enjoy your day wherever you are! difficulty
As always, I will remind you that I’m not a medical doctor. I’ve spent the last 20 years focusing on and learning to ‘grow’ my own health however. And that’s what I’m sharing here. All of it based on my own experiences and also the things that I’ve learned from the real experts! Those are the researchers and doctors who’ve seen the actual patients, worked in the labs and write the medical reports that are sprinkled throughout these posts.
My goal is to motivate and help you find your best way to live a healthier and more peaceful life. I and Ageless at Sixty cannot be held liable for any resulting injury or adverse change in health status.
Also any change that affects your health should be checked with your doctor before you start. This would include changes to your exercise routines and any medications you might be taking or other supplements.
As well, this blog and each post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you buy something through them, I’ll receive a commission, at no extra cost to you.