Growing older is an experience that happens to all of us, if we are lucky. It’s universal and it’s happening all the time, whether we acknowledge it or not.
And growing older brings with it changes that can be challenging on a number of fronts. So, today I want to explore a topic that many who write about time ignore … finding time to accommodate changes as you age, and finding time to achieve true contentment as you grow to meet these essential challenges.
Aging is one of those sneaky surprises. Intellectually, you know that with each birthday you’re growing older. However, some consequences of growing older can creep up on you, leaving you without a plan, or even without the time required to make the necessary adjustments.
For example – does it seem, as you age, that projects ‘suddenly’ take much longer to complete? Even everyday tasks just seem to eat up more and more time. Of course, the slowdown has actually been occurring gradually, but your awareness of the reality of slowing down can seem to come out of the blue.
The challenge in such a situation is to avoid three types of reactions:
First, avoid denial. It is tempting, when you first realize that it takes you longer to complete a task, to think this is a one-time occurrence and that if you simply focus and work harder, your original efficiency will return. It probably won’t.
Second, avoid becoming entrenched in fear or anger or frustration (or all three). These are all natural initial responses, but as you hang onto them, you also become less efficient, less focused and less accurate — in short, you become even slower — creating a vicious circle.
Third, don’t remain mired in sadness. It is important, of course, to grieve the loss of your former level of efficiency as you work to embrace your new reality. By acknowledging and accepting this as a natural part of growing older, you gain clarity about your options.
The difficulty that accompanies denial, chronic resentment, or despondency is that these responses limit your ability to make functional and appropriate choices.
A much better option is to acknowledge your feelings of loss, and then explore and express them in appropriate ways within appropriate contexts. That clears the air and deepens your connection with yourself. And from this place of acceptance you are ready to look at ways to resolve the issues that arise.
This balanced approach will keep you grounded and aware. It will enable you to maintain clarity and problem-solve effectively, to move forward, and to feel good about what you accomplish.
That is your challenge, and the challenge of all of us who are privileged to still be growing older!