Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. – Betty Friedan
Given the recent losses our community has experienced recently, it’s only natural that the topics of dying and aging are constantly in our minds. It’s great to devote some thought – and plenty of action! – to how we are aging and how we want to depart from this world from a non-fatalistic perspective.
‘Getting old’ is not the same as aging. The very term ‘old’ has a strong negative connotation – it implies to be out of date, to shrivel and shrink. It’s much more than wrinkles and gray hair: I always understand the term ‘old’ as a state of mind, rather than a physical concept. We start getting old when we lose our passion for life. We get old when we give up the things that give us pleasure. We are old when we see no point in doing anything.
Aging, on the other hand, implies learning. It encompasses wisdom and patience. When we age we gain a new, enlightening perspective on life. To age (ideally) means to be comfortable in our own skin. As we age, we get to know ourselves better and we gain better insights that allow us to understand those around us a lot more. As for our bodies, it all depends on how we treat it each day: if you loved yourself during your youth and took good care of your body, chances are there is no limit to the activities you can continue enjoying as you age. Even if you have a health condition that developed later in life, if you love yourself and take better care of your body, it will respond immediately by allowing you to continue breaking barriers – there’s no such thing as ‘too late’ – and many times we discover that the limits we thought our body was imposing on us only exist in our minds.
It’s also curious how each of us has a different concept of what it means to be old. See the video below – it’s wonderful. Let’s always keep in mind that aging and getting old is not the same thing: ‘old’ is a mindset.
I would love to read your thoughts and comments on the topic of aging and ‘getting old’ – I’m always just an e-mail away at firstname.lastname@example.org.