Tuesday, April 27, 2010
(Our little apple tree is covered in blossoms this year!)
I've been thinking about aging a lot lately. First, I am 41 and getting into one's forties is definitely a traditional sort of marker. Second, I returned to dance at the age of 40 and dance is not known for its kindness toward anyone much over 25.
Before I returned to dance, worrying about aging was just one more thing I could put on my Anxiety To Do list, and I was, frankly, always on the look out for items for that. It was also one more reason to Be Depressed.
Turns out that recovering from life long anxiety and depression had everything to do with...living. Thus the subtitle to my blog: It's never too late to embody your bliss. Most of us -- regardless of our callings -- need to come back into our bodies, having neglected them for too long. Our bodies are our gateways to our spirits and thus to our capacity to have a joyful life.
Back to thinking about aging. I am healthier, I think, than I have ever been in my whole life. I am also stronger and more creative.
I have decided that aging is mostly in our minds. We tell ourselves a boat load of stories about what to expect and then act surprised when those expectations are met.
I do not deny that I am getting older. I simply do not believe that that has to automatically mean I am deteriorating. Use it or lose it is my motto. Also, hydrate it; feed it well; and do what makes it happy.
Ah! Right there! That last one! That is where most of aging really comes from. We are not living our happiest lives, and as we get older, we think we have run out of time.
Or we have. It all depends on the story you tell.
This past weekend, I read a sad story. A woman, age 38 (come on!), saw (in a mirror in a gym) that a part of her body wasn't quite what it used to be athletically and so came to the conclusion, basically, that this is "it," from here on, it's all downhill.
She decided that this is what "aging gracefully" is -- accepting the inevitable.
I would like a different definition, how about you?
How about aging gracefully being defined by how we live in every moment with joy and abandon, that we never give in to "should's" or "supposed to's" or "that's how it's been's."
I refuse to believe that I had one moment in time when I was able to have the life I was meant to have. Believing it's all downhill from here, for me? I may as well stop dancing right now and start eating more donuts and just settle into my role as a consumer of products.
Instead, I choose to believe that I am where I was meant to be. I believe I have come to dance at this age for a reason. I believe it is my responsibility to take hold of that destiny and squeeze every ounce of happy out of it that I can.
I believe that my greatest responsibility is to write my own story and never let anyone or anything else define me -- including a mirror in a gym.