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21.01.2016
We are so acculturated to swallow what our society has put into our minds about aging that we have no idea what percentage of how we behave is based on how we think we are supposed to behave.
Thought for the day: There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimera€™s research. In order to find life meaningful, it is important to believe that our later years are as valuable as our earlier ones. The emergence of an awake and aware, wise, and meaning-filled older generation is modeling a rebirth of gentler values, of caring and appreciating, that can reestablish equilibrium and psychological health to our society.
I like being old because a€?that is what isa€? for me now and thinking this way gives me the best chance of finishing well and having an old age that will be is as rich as it can be. If you were asked by a child to tell about the most important thing you have learned in your life, what would you say?
Most people's souls are hungry for purpose, for meaning, for knowing that somehow they have made and are making a difference to someone or something.
Ita€™s important to know that you have a reason for being here, a reason to get up in the morning. Gentler values like being kind and caring beyond ourselves equates with basic healthy well-being.
It is therapeutic to come up with an answer for yourself, for those other times when you wonder.
A A A  We have survived our share of surprises by now.A  My most recent surprise was having our house burn to the ground--taking a lifetime of cherished possessions with it. A A A  I like being old because a€?that is what isa€? for me now and thinking this way gives me the best chance of finishing well and having an old age that will be is as rich as it can be.
If we believe that old age is about declining and becoming less, what percent of our decline is due to this belief?
Ageism is the term used to describe a societal pattern of widely held devaluative attitudes, beliefs and stereotypes based on chronological age. This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.
Gloria Steinem, in response to the meant-to-be flattering statement many of us have received, a€?You certainly dona€™t look like youa€™re 40,a€? said a€?This is what 40 looks like.a€? This response is good for any age. It is important to affirm this later stage of life and encourage the accompanying ways of thinking and being that promote self-appreciation.
I love my body with all its titanium (two hips and a knee); it is my friend, the only body Ia€™ll ever have so I take care of it.


People who have a goal, a project, or exude purposefulness know they are living their lives fully.
We can do our little bit every day to move beyond focusing on ourselves and become part of the gentle but forceful critical mass tipping the scale towards enduring good. One teacher of mine woke up after a close-to-death experience and his first words were a€?Hot Damn.
A major hindrance to positive aging is continuing to equate only paid work with self-worth, thus diminishing the value of worthy avocations such as reading, traveling, volunteering, and caregiving, or the small but mighty deeds like being kind to your next-door neighbor.
A sense of purpose does not mean you have to save the world or think in lofty terms about meaningfulness.
Those of us who continue to grow and learn about subjects that interest us, appreciate art or music, tend our gardens, care for our cat or dog, help out our bodies by diligently caring for them, attend to someone who could use our help, or even give a kind glance to a person who just might be in need of it, are also exhibiting having a reason for being here.
Life can be transformed, changed completely, in a momenta€”a moment that forces you to view things differently.
I got another day of life!a€?A  My sister with ALS, who could only move her eyes toward the end, wanted to keep living, and when asked a€?Why?a€? she spelled out that she was a€?curiousa€? about what the next day would bring.
The anti-aging industry reinforces the notion that old age is repugnant, that how you look in old age is to be avoided at all costa€”and cost it does.
Life is likely to become meaningless and empty for those who can't expand their thinking about what constitutes basic self-worth. I liked the direct response of one 86-year-old woman contemplating what gives her life meaning.
102a€“113) effectively reversed the biological age of a group of elderly men over 75 years old by systematically taking them back to a time when they saw themselves as young and vitala€¦ asking them to talk, act, dress, and behave as they did in their mid-fifties. It is important to attribute new, positive meaning to getting older and to question and stop tolerating the deeply ingrained societal adoration of youth and negativity toward age. Realize that it takes many people doing small things to make up a much greater force of caring.
We now choose to attribute meaning to the simple things with a deeper perception of their enormous value. She said, a€?I try to take care of myself, keep myself alive, and tend to the little flock of people I care about.a€? On further inquiry I found she did just that.
They went to a country retreat for a week to participate in activities similar to what they would have experienced at that age. The media and advertisers make it hard to feel good about how you look when the continual emphasis is on avoiding wrinkles, baldness, white hair, and so on.


I learned not to feel complimented if people let me know that I was different from other 60-year-olds.
I love observing the many moods of water, hearing the lapping or crashing of waves, and being cradled by it as I swim.
What can you do for a three-hour stint and enjoy so much that you dona€™t even notice time? You dona€™t have to think in terms of a capital P-Purposea€¦ small little purposes do just fine. You increase the chances of having more of these moments by putting yourself in situations where they more easily occur. She exercised, took meals to a cousin, drove different friends to the doctor and to the store, checked up on some friends by phonea€¦ kept herself busy tending to her flock.
She thanked me several times after the workshop, saying she always felt that the mere question, a€?What gives your life meaning?a€? was a little intimidating.
Impartial observers judged the men to look and behave more like 55-year-olds than 75-year-olds after that week. I love learning, real conversations, and finding ways of making anothera€™s life and my own a little better. Follow your bliss speaks to taking action versus simply appreciating little bursts of grace that just happen. Following your bliss requires you to pursue actively those things that give you great pleasure. If we want to be an exception and not join forces with other people in our age group, how will our age group reflect the spirit of people like us? Once you recognize what it is that makes you feel vibrantly alive, you can use this awareness as a source of guidance in your life. Maybe it is when you give love that does not require reciprocity, or become aware of a mysterious sense of knowing that you are much more than just yourself and are connected somehow to everyone, everythinga€¦ a cosmic awareness. Such moments may be sustained or fleeting but they allow you to witness what bliss is for you, to understand yourself a little better.
Acknowledge, Gloria Steinem style, that this is the way one woman acts at this age and, in the big picture, she is one of many women.



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