Find Time to Appreciate the Experience of Aging

Finding time to appreciate the experience of aging can be a challenge, but it’s certainly one well worth taking on.  As the month of August is my birth-month, and I contemplate turning another year older, I find my thoughts turning to the experience of aging and how it has required letting go, as well as opening up new vistas for me.

These 5 timely tips will help you as you make this journey for yourself.  Think of them as stepping stones and remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” about this.  This is YOUR journey and YOUR experience of aging. Likewise, adapt these tips as you experiment and discover what works for YOU!

5 Tips to Help You Appreciate the Experience of Aging

  1. The process of aging occurs over time.  Aging may sneak up and surprise you, but you don’t want to set yourself up that way! Review the last few months. Can you identify the incremental changes in your efficiency? Use your new clarity to understand that these changes are a natural part of living and work to ground yourself in them.
  2. Avoid denial.  Compassionately and directly confront the realization that you move more slowly, and that it takes you longer to complete even familiar activities. It’s a temptation to deny the reality of these life changes, and to tell yourself that things will return to their normal pace once you are less tired or stressed. However, this keeps you on the defensive. Instead, assert positive control by listing those tasks that now take you longer to complete. Then strategize accordingly.
  3. Don’t react with anger or frustration.  Encourage your feelings to flow, rather than churn in whirlpools. Staying stuck in anger or frustration diverts valuable energy.  Redirect this flow and start examining how you can adjust to your new pace. Use your creativity and challenge yourself. Craft new and enjoyable ways to maintain your desired productivity, while accepting that the time required overall may be longer.
  4.  Don’t stay stuck in grief.  Grief, too, needs to flow and then make way for the new. If you associate high productivity and accomplishment with your core self-esteem, you may initially feel like you’ve ‘hit a wall’ as you slow down. However, aging opens new gateways, if you look forward, not back. As you genuinely accept your real losses and honor your accomplishments, you can re-frame this as a time to stretch, savor, and celebrate what truly matters.
  5. Use humor.  Humor humanizes. Try to approach your friends’ complaints about the changes to their productivity with empathy and a humorous anecdote of your own. Negative attitudes are highly contagious, but a pragmatic view, softened by humor, creates an environment of acceptance.

The experience of aging is an ever-changing one.  When you approach it with compassion, realism, and your heart-based toolkit in hand, you’ll find it to be a rich and enriching developmental phase.

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