Published in Sixty and Me and Boomerly.com
You might have entertained the idea that longevity is a resource. If that’s true, then you get better as you age. What a great concept!
Do you really believe that? Or is that mantra just a fabrication of modern consumerism? Does American advertising use this slogan just to get you to buy a quick fix and look ten years younger with a face-lift, a pill or a personal trainer?
And the cliché, which is now a dying mindset- that aging means you slow down as you get into your 60s and even 70s is just phooey. I’m more energetic and out there than ever before at almost 72. And believe me, the invitation that came from AAPR over 17 years ago to join up with the seniors and get coupons did not give me a rush or change my life – well, I did get senior discounts at the movies.
I want to put it out there in the universe: I like getting older. I like staying sexy, smart and strong at my age. My daily rush now is that I’m more in tune with myself. I’m not just being another version of me; I’m living life through the lens of a deeper place inside of me. And from that deeper place comes an appreciation and a gratitude for time that is not defined, for change that is meaningful and for self-reflection that brings wisdom, understanding and grace.
Longevity gives you the opportunity to increase your value and competence. You call the shots in your life now; you are your own boss. Once upon a time, ambition, success and the super ego determined the quality of your life. That was when you were young and momentum meant everything to you. Then, it was an anathema to stop, sit, watch, contemplate and self-reflect.
When you were younger, you were thinking about changing the world and not about better understanding yourself. But as you age, you are creating another version of your personal dynamic. It’s different for everyone, but you know it when you discover a more profound sense of self and purpose. It’s alchemy. It’s magic. The dice land on the crap table of life – but in a different combination.
And here’s what that combination might look like:
You enjoy a more expansive sense of time and place. Your time is your own. You may have responsibilities to family and friends, but most of the time you determine when and where. Of course, if you are taking care of elderly parent(s), you have certain rituals to follow. But with daily planning for time commitments and family responsibilities, you can fulfill your intentions with care and attention. Then you can make the most of your downtime by doing what you love most – whether its exercising, cooking, dancing, reading or the other 100 things you love to do.
You can revel in your state of awareness. The majority of people fail to look inside themselves for answers to their deepest issues. Your self-awareness is continually being compromised by distractions – people, places and things that get in the way of your happiness and clear intentions. As you age, self-reflection is not a luxury but a necessity. Longevity means you can say good-bye to your aches and pains and get in connected to the positive energy that surrounds mind, body and spirit. Then you can walk the path of mindfulness, which gives you a higher level of consciousness and awareness of what adds value to your life.
You can be a mentor and role model for others. Longevity has given you resources and perceptions that others can see inside of you. You are more willing to discuss age-related changes (especially those related to sexuality); you have an advantage when talking to those who need advice about making changes in life or in work; and you have the ability to feel deep empathy for the suffering of others.
As you get older, you do get better. Longevity has allowed you to unleash the intellectual and emotional power of self-knowledge. You see yourself as the actual person you are, always ready, willing and wiser. You are someone who lives by a stronger standard, someone who believes in yourself and someone who can be counted on by the people that matter to you.