Aging may be inevitable but…

I am fortunate.

I am surrounded by close family members who are living well into their 80s and 90s and who are still active, engaged, contributing, and inspiring. I still call my 98-year-old uncle when I have trouble identifying a bird, and he still plays tennis with his friends almost every day (See his photo above with my brother Bruce after playing tennis in the South Carolina sun). My 94-year-old aunt’s biggest complaint about a recent bout with pneumonia is how much harder it is to get around all 18 holes on the golf course these days.

I’m not naive about the issues of aging. There are challenges every step of the way that can include loss of health, loss of mental sharpness, personal tragedy, mobility impairments, aches, pains, and more. But there are also things to be gained: wisdom, insight, perspective, and the ability to let go of some things that have become extra baggage instead of helpful tools.

The anti-aging mindset

So I’m not afraid of getting old. I’ve adopted the mantra my father embraced until he slipped away last year at age 95:

“I’m going to live until I die.”

I want to inspire others while I’m living, and I  hope someday (preferably not too soon) to inspire people while I’m dying. May God give me the grace and strength and courage to do so, especially when I encounter things that can cause discouragement and fear. I can’t control what happens to me, but I can control what I think and do about it.

But as I press on towards my own mid-sixties, here’s what I now realize is so important: as our ability to do some things decreases, it’s ever more important to identify those things you feel called to do—those dreams, passions, and deep interests that fuel your life and create the energy you need to accomplish them. They don’t have to be lofty, but they do have to be heartspoken…spoken to your heart from that source of all life, whatever name you give it.

This is why it’s so essential to connect with yourself…your truest self, your best self. That’s an ongoing journey, fraught with fears and doubts, but just ask any well-adjusted senior citizen, and they’ll likely echo the words of Helen Keller, who overcame more obstacles than most of us ever have to face:

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”

I love the idea behind “Get Old movement” from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer as portrayed in this short video below. It’s a wonderful testament to the importance of taking care of ourselves and staying active and engaged as we get older.

How do you feel about getting old? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And before you go, be sure to add your email to our list in the sidebar to the right. You don’t want to miss the motivation and encouragement to strengthen life’s essential connections: with self, with others, with God, and with Nature.

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