I've been thinking a lot lately. Thinking about my life and the things that have been good and are getting better. Also on my mind are the things I regret or haven't done yet. Sometimes I feel like I am running a race to get it all in before I "rest in peace."
Sometimes I feel like I could have used my time in better ways. Or perhaps that I neglected some important things along the way as other things crowded in and took my time. Reality is, I didn't always prioritize like I should have. I'm betting none of us have that nailed down in our younger years for sure. Possibly we are all still struggling with it. Back then I was living in the present, head down, shoulders to the wheel, just to get through each day. Sometimes I'd fall into bed 3 seconds after the kids. Sometimes there was barely time for a quick shower let alone pondering the big picture.
Sometimes I feel like I saved too many hard things to do in the autumn of my life. Now I do not have the energy and stamina to do everything I want to do. Sometimes in this season, I feel like I don't want to work as hard as I used to in the spring of my life. I don't. But I still work hard. Now I wish I had somehow been able to manage everything more efficiently then, so I would not have some of the bigger issues to deal with now. You know, things like getting healthier, getting into something I have always wanted to do but never tried, writing more and publishing, more education, becoming a great photographer, reading all the classics, etc.
In our youth the raising of kids, growing a family and creating a home, working full time, serving at church and caring for parents and everything else was exhausting. In fact it was fatiguing to the bone. I can't look back on it now and think when I would have done any of those things. But I am sure there was a way. Perhaps it was working smarter? The reality that bites is that I couldn't do what I did then now, even if I wanted to do so. And that I still feel that same exhaustion when I do far less. These days it takes twice as long, it is harder and I find myself looking for things I have misplaced a lot more. C'est la vie. As my friend says, "It is what it is." We carry on!
It's a funny thing about aging. I feel the same inside and it really sneaks up on you. It's kind of like cooking a live frog in a big pot of cold water. (Who does that anyway?) You turn on the heat and one degree at a time as the water begins to boil the frog doesn't try to escape. By incremental steps the heat goes unnoticed, so the frog doesn't sense the danger and leap out of the pot. All of a sudden he is dead in the water and never even knew what hit him.
I suppose aging does have its perks in that you have more time and have control over what you actually do by setting your own priorities. The fact is something else happens simultaneously in this society where youth is held in such high esteem. As we age we do become slightly less visible and less is expected of us. It is precisely at that time that I feel even more strongly that I want to do more. I still feel I am capable of contributing and growing and learning and changing. We boomers are not going down easy! I am simply not ready for the rocker just yet.
These are the times I think about all I have left to do. All that I still can accomplish and contribute to the world around me. I want to feel my best, gain more energy and find the perfect balance. I realize now more than ever that I have to guard my schedule well. That way at least I have time to do the things I want and need to do at least part of the time. And I am reminded that the only limits I have are the ones I place upon myself. Nothing is set in stone if you have flexibility and a willingness to make changes. As an example I just heard about a local woman that lost 296 pounds at Weight Watchers? Unbelievable, astonishing and apparently doable. Change can happen.
Seeing who we really are and
what we can become in a better light
often comes with the wisdom of aging!
often comes with the wisdom of aging!
It is not age perse that kills a person, it is the lack of something meaningful to do. It is the lack of love and hope in our lives, the lack of the will to keep going and learning and giving. If we have lost all the passion in our lives we can reignite it. If we are tired of the 'same ole same ole'...we can find something new.
I think about so many people that have accomplished so much well into their 90s. Some famous and some not. Some of them did not even start to pursue something until they were considered "old" by some standards. They recognized that age is a state of mind. They had a plan and they pursued it with all the vigor they could muster. They looked on the bright side of things in spite of their challenges. I bet they gave up on the notion finally that life was to be a walk in the park. Our challenges strengthen us and make us better people.
They didn't just roll up in a ball and wait to die. They put all that moaning and groaning aside and went forward with a perfect brightness of hope and their aches and pains. These are the Rock Stars of the senior set. These are the ones that inspire me to have plans and work vigorously toward them.
Who knows how long any of us has left on the earth? But one thing I know is true. It is better to run out of life before you run out of plans. Get up, get moving, and find a passion and let the love of it kill you. Give it your all and find joy in the journey. It is never too late to really shine in something new you decide to pursue. Anybody who wants to can be a rock star with focus and effort and a great attitude. And the notion that something doesn't have to be easy to be good...well, that helps too.
Seek the beauty in this life to the very end and beyond. Be a rock star, you have it in you! Being a rock star doesn't mean do all this to impress others. It means become your best self, have no regrets for things left undone and remember it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings!