Staying Young While Aging

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We can think young, and act young, and even keep our bodies young. But young as we once were? Maybe, if we follow Marcia Barhydt’s suggestion to Dig Deep.

Marcia Barhydt

Someone recently told me that I had a 32-year-old mind trapped in a 62-year-old body. I wasn’t sure whether to kiss him or give him a good smack upside the head! But yes, I’ll admit there are days when my body feels every second of its 62 years and then some.

Although we boomers have a remarkably young attitude and mindset about what’s ahead of us, we still need to deal with the days when our bodies make it clear to us that we’re no longer 21. Some days our bodies betray us. Some days they actually stop us and make us look inside.

But maybe that’s a good thing. I’m thinking that when I do stop and look inside, then I’m able to find whatever it is that I need to keep moving ahead, or at least to keep moving.

The first wave of boomers, those of us born in the late 1940s, is seeing changes in our bodies. Some changes are small and niggling (time for those bifocals); other changes are less trivial (that blood pressure reading your doctor tsk-tsks about). And we all know someone our age or younger who’s been brushed already by a life-threatening disease, don’t we?

So how do we deal with these latest and most profound changes? Remember, this is US, you and me, boomers who’ve rewritten every stage of our lives so far and I don’t think we’re about to stop. But now we’re facing a formidable opponent: our aging bodies. How can we re-write our own physical attrition?

The answer, like all answers, is within us.

We need to dig down to find the strength, the ingenuity, the resourcefulness to handle our growing-older pains. We need to tackle the challenges of our aging bodies so that we can continue to move forward with our minds and our hearts and our souls, so that we don’t collapse in the rocking chair, waiting.

If we don’t find our own ways of fighting this, then our pain controls us, victimizes us, casts our future. If the pain victimizes us, then we next develop a fear of the pain that might be ahead and that fear can stop us in our tracks, nail us permanently to our rockers.

We need to dig deep to find the strength that we all have, that we’ve had all our lives, to convince ourselves that we can indeed continue moving ahead in spite of whatever pain we’re feeling. We’ve had and used that inner strength all our lives to challenge and rewrite every stage of our boomer lives. We just need to dig a bit deeper for this strength, this time.

I know this is true because of the pain I’ve dealt with personally this past winter. Often, I seemed to let pain overwhelm me and I let it change my daily life; I let it become the focus, the preoccupation of my day. I can do the pity role pretty well sometimes.

But then I get angry. I’m NOT going to let this pain change my life; I AM going to push through it and continue doing my daily stuff. I am NOT going to let any pain demoralize me, defeat me. I choose my own reaction to the pain and my choice is based on tapping my inner strength. I AM going to continue as strong and determined as ever. In spite of it.

Never waiting.

We are all so full of courage, mettle, spirit. We’ve always had the courage to make huge changes to our work, our play, our parenting, our life-outlook. That courage to adapt is still inside us. I’m not doing a Pollyanna pep talk here — to me, our inner strength, our courage, is a given. I’ve seen it all my life from all of us. And I know we still have something left in the reservoir.

Pain only stops me if I choose to let it stop me. It’s my choice to give in, or fight. And it’s the choosing that empowers me, stops me from staying a victim, gets me far away from that rocking chair.

If we have inner strength, then haven’t we found a wonderful secret to living well? If we have an independent positive mind, then haven’t we conquered control of much of our lives? Because if we stop being able to find our strength and courage within ourselves, then how can we continue to rewrite the face of our generation as we’ve done at all stages of our lives?

Dig deep.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery said it nicely:

“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.”

© Marcia Barhydt 2010

3 Comments

  1. Wonderful article, Marcia. I had breakfast with a friend this morning who has fibromyalgia and is suffering so much with the pain that goes with that. I haven't seen her smile in a very long time, and it makes me sad to see her giving so much of herself over to her pain. She has found new medication, however, and is moving slowly back to her general health.

    Now to encourage her to follow her dreams to become chaplain at a nursing home.

    Love your articles!

    Georgia

  2. Thanks Georgia.

    Sometimes, perhaps we need to go outside instead of inside.

    Maybe if we dig and dig and don't find what we need, then we can look outside for motivation to move on. At the very least, it's worthy distraction.

    I hope that's true for your friend.

    Marcia

  3. Hi Marcia!
    I found your article inside the archives and I read it with a big interest. I agree with you. We have to go ahead. I was 60 in July this year and I am retired from the 1st August.
    For four years I am suffering from arthrisist in the down of my back and it is difficult to get up each morning but I did it the last years of working and today it’s more easy because I don’t have the ring clock each morning for wake up me.
    It’s difficult because in my mind I’m always 30 years old and also I was a former racer in Triathlon for 30 years. Sport was always my passion since I was a teenager. I stopped the competition in triathlon in 2010 when arthrisist started in my back. My doctor told me I wasn’t longer 30 years old and that I have to slow down. So I did but I didn’t want to stay in a rocker and watching TV.
    Each morning I start with 45′ of stretching, I swimm two times each week, I walk 10km a one time each week and 3 km each evening after dinner.
    Today I have a new dream and I moved from France (my country) to the Canarian Islands where the weather is mild along the year and it’s good again arthrisist. I want to stay in good fit with the practice of sport, but in a soft way and I am starting a new passion for the photographie because you have to move to take picture everywhere in these Islands. I am starting also to write novels about my travels around the globle during my 45 career of working.
    Yes we don’t have to give up and we want to go ahead because we are boomers and it is the trend of our generation.
    Thanks Marcia for your article
    Richard

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