When I realised there were more years behind me than there could potentially be ahead of me, I didn’t want to look at it; it happened to others and if I didn’t talk about it I wouldn’t catch it.
Fortunately, I got over that, but not without self-reflection and sometimes a wee bit of grief.
I don’t know what it’s like for others to come to this place in life, I can only speak for myself as we all experience life uniquely and personally.
I learn heaps about myself when I go through significant changes. I feel that change happens after a time of inertia; its length determined by the speed of my ability to let go of familiar patterns and step forward into new unfamiliar space.
I’ve learnt there’s no right or wrong way to be. Change is another word for adaptation, a process of evolution. Life forms that survive catastrophic events are ones that can adapt quickly with the least amount of resistance.
Getting older is a bit like that, it can inspire fear of being alone, getting sick and unable to take care of oneself, concern over not having enough money after retirement, a time when one is no longer independent and vital. This is the path laid out for us, but we don’t have to follow it.
We can instead be curious and interested in the way one’s body changes and experiment with different perspectives to how we as humans’ function with ease. We are after all self-regulating, self-adjusting and self-healing.
As infants our movements developed alongside our mind. The familiar movement patterns we use to perform everyday tasks can then provide us with many opportunities to improve the efficiency and functionality of our movements, concepts, and belief systems.
Aware movement familiarises us to the language of our body and can guide us to be more flexible and responsive to its needs.
I’ve stopped trying to be perfect, it was too exhausting and made me unhappy and stiff, especially my neck and lower back.
In my experience and observation of others, being righteous about food and exercise isn’t a guarantee for happiness and vibrant health.
I need to eat food that’s going to support me in times of change, according to the seasons and situations. Sometimes I need to eat meat and animal fats, bread, stodgy foods and sometimes I need to eat just vegetables cooked or raw, juices and sometimes fasting for short periods of time. My body will tell me what it needs.
The more flexible I am in my mind, the more appropriate are the choices I make situationally thereby requiring less energy to process and absorb.
Same with movement…sometimes resting and sometimes active challenging motion. Whatever catapults me out of inertia or replenishes my energy.
I want to explore aging in this way. Aging isn’t a disease, it’s a natural universal event. There’s only one way out of here, but it doesn’t have to be painful, fearful, and joyless.
I will continue to eat soul food free of guilt; sponge cake with homemade blackberry jam and a minor mountain of whipped cream, I will continue to walk barefoot on cold dewy morning grass, swim naked in a winter ocean and happiness will continue to be the basis for my life experience.
I will continue to learn new ways to think and move and I pray for courage to hold my space in these changing times. For me, aging isn’t a disease, something to be medicated against, it’s a facet of the great adventure we call life.