I have lived a long and amazing life. As I ease into my elder years, I am filled with gratitude at how rich and full my life has been. But there is still a part of me that is uncomfortable at times. The aging process has blessings and challenges, and navigating the golden years is one of the last great tests of life.
Do What You Really Want
The key to accepting the fact that you are getting older is to make sure you are using your time wisely and authentically. This is an important practice at any age, but especially as you move into your twilight years. Our time on this Earth is precious.
One of the regrets many people mention when they are dying is that they never had an experience or adventure that they really wanted, and/or that they worked too much. You can age (and die) with more grace if you know you have used your time in a way that was true to your heart.
Focus On the Positive
The aging process is full of opportunities to complain. From illness and random aches to a reduced ability to see, hear, and/or speak clearly, aging can be quite uncomfortable. And humbling. It can be all-too-easy to describe your miseries to every person you encounter.
But complaining about pain actually reinforces it and makes it worse. As you identify more and more with the things you dislike, they become a larger part of your experience.
Choose, instead, to pay your attention to what you love about life. For example, if you had been a long-distance runner and your knees give out as you age you may not be able to run as much.
But you can teach others how to run with good form, and still be involved in the world you love. You can focus on how much you learned about life from running.
Studies show that positive people are healthier and tend to live longer. If you can continue to focus on what you love about life, the things that are working, and the abilities you still have, you are more likely to be vibrant and healthy as you age.
Taking care of your body and mind becomes even more of a priority as we get older. Its actually important our whole lives, as the diet and habits of our 30s and 40s have a huge impact on our health in our 60s and 70s. But our bodies needs tend to become more particular and obvious once we pass a certain point.
Be sure to get plenty of rest. Honor your bodys cues and go to sleep when you are tired. It becomes harder and more detrimental to burn the midnight oil as we age.
Eat nourishing meals that include protein, greens, and other nutrient-rich foods. Some people lose their appetites or desire to cook as they age, but proper nutrition is crucial to maintain a quality of life. Remember to stay hydrated, as well.
Tell Your Stories
The greatest gift and grace of aging is sharing your stories. Your stories of triumph, your stories of adventure, your stories of normal daily life, and your stories of despair.
Passing on the wisdom you have gained is one of the most profound ways to support future generations. It also ensures that some part of you will live on in your loved ones memories after you have gone.
We cannot stop time. We all grow older. With aging comes great challenges. It is the test of acceptance and letting go. But the gifts of experience, wisdom, and love more than make up for the brevity of our lives. When we can accept the aging process with grace and patience, we are more likely to enjoy every last moment of this human journey.