I feel I can say with some certainty none of us enjoy the ageing process. Sure, there are bits you could cherry pick as being a bit of fun but generally somehow the process doesn’t seem to fit with the perfect plan of nature.
Or maybe it did, and then we humans interfered with it a smidge.
Now if you're a people watcher like me, you have probably pondered at one time or another why we all age so differently. Why do some 50 year olds look ready for the zimmer frame and a bowl of mashed potatoes while some 80 year olds are still trying to get lucky on Tinder?
So why is it we all age so differently?
Maybe because we all had different teachers.
Our milestones in life were set in very quick setting concrete early on by those that filled us with the family stories, the beliefs of how life is, by an instilled script of the inevitable. And that script is unique to every family.
So regardless of our genetic makeup, ethnic origins, gender, or state of health we all have imbedded in us a set of beliefs that came from those that went before us.
Our view of ageing was formed well before we even got a whiff of who we are, let alone what future we wanted.
Stories of the Big 40, of family illnesses that somehow manifest miraculously even in much watered down blood lines but are apparently unavoidable, of beliefs around the appropriate timetable of life, these are things that determine how well or badly we age.
As we hit the landmarks of these preset beliefs then we make change, and we do it without challenging the why. We change the way we dress, speak, socialise, exercise, see ourselves in the world, feel more vulnerable in our health status. All because we have been told this is the natural order to ageing according to those that taught us..
Yes I know it sounds simplistic.
But life is simple, well it has the potential to be if we pay attention to the information we hold, and decide if it is in fact even remotely applicable to the way in which we choose to spend our time on this planet this time around.
But unfortunately that is not a human trait that is taught.
The sifting and sorting of our beliefs is not a huge priority for most.
It’s a shame really as the unlearning can sometimes be more important than the learning.
Now before we get too deep into the blame game around how this happens, parenting as a lot of you know is an evolutionary process. We can be quick to blame our parents for all our faults, limitations and fears. They will always provide us with the perfect excuse for most of our behaviours, and doesn’t everyone love a good excuse.
Parents have always and will continue to pass on the information they hold. They can’t do anything else, and that information will be based on what was passed on to them along with their fears. We all have different right and wrongs, acceptable and unacceptable. Think about that. Parents are usually, not always, but usually good people, attempting to keep you safe in a world they probably didn’t feel safe in.
And as parents today we all know that keeping our kids safe pushes us to come up with all sorts of fear based ideas and rules to give them, and when you break it down, your fears not theirs.
That being said, back to the ageing issue :)
At 45 I finally raised my head long enough to take the 5 minutes needed to stare at myself in the mirror and ask the burning question.
What the hell. When did THAT happen?
What reflected back off that mirror was someone cloaked in a shroud of middle-aged dullness, the energy and life force dimmed to the point where they had become invisible. Somehow on some totally unconscious level I had bought into the theory that life was now on the downward spiral, best days past. And for the first 30 seconds of that watershed moment in time I truly believed there was no use even attempting to do anything but roll with it. So deep had the energy of insurmountable been instilled into my being, invisible and dull was just another age relevant milestone come to smash me in the face when I wasn't looking.
I am grateful daily for that experience, hands covered in cleaning products, the smell of toilet cleaner up my nose, the years of chaos that bought me to it. It was in that very short spell in time, and I use the word spell purposefully, that it all came rushing in.
I felt my soul shrieking at me to take notice, screaming to just stop and understand. Don’t just ask the question around what had happened.
I let the movie reel start playing in my head. The social expectations of my mother, at 45 you are settled, children mostly grown, house, mortgage, working 9 to 5 at a job that is preferably admired by others. Confrontation was never entered into, you conformed to stay unnoticed, you paid your bills before they were due, no swearing, stay within the strict rules that ensured you never flapped your wings. Regardless of how much money you had you lived in lack. Social perception was everything. You stayed inside your box and never showed yourself.
My mum, bless her, was a depression kid, they learnt how to survive in a different way. She had an interesting upbringing, and for the most part I feel that it was sometimes a case of what I say not what I do, but that being said, because of her beliefs my upbringing was tumultuous to say the least. When she passed we found thousands of dollars tucked away in all sorts of unexpected places, such was her fear of life.
Unlike my beautiful brothers, somehow I managed to break every family rule from day 1. I begged my mother to allow me to start school early but within a short space of time I learnt it definitely wasn't for me. Expulsion at 12, then leaving school before 15 as the Latin and French seemed irrelevant. Moved out of home at 15 and went flatting by myself and really never went back. Self employed from the age of around 16, with the understanding that rules and regulations of others was not something I am particularly tolerant of. Creating companies and taking risks while my family hid in the shadows. I was living in opposition daily.
But the ageing thing
I absolutely fell down that hole of family expectation
So grateful for the wake up call, Absolutely.
How we age, is simply about the information we hold, the beliefs we have had instilled, the idea that those milestones are set in concrete. And at 45 if not already invisible you damn well better start fading, and gracefully.
When I ask a question I know it will be answered, it might take a while, but sooner or later especially when Spirit sees I am not backing down, it comes.
And this is how they showed me what has changed my life, not just with the ageing thing but everything.
Beaches have seen a lot of me, especially in Winter when the cabin fever sets in. Sitting, feet in the cold sand watching the waves, the birds, the sky, has always been my happy place since forever. It's the place I go to breathe.
And one day that happy place bought me a completely new life.
Have you ever watched dogs at the beach, regardless of the temperature, they will without hesitation run into the surf, no slow entry, waiting for the nipple freeze to pass, or the ears to thaw. No fear of anything.
The absolute joy these creatures have in fetching anything you throw just sees them running full speed into the water until you drag them off home again.
Because no one told them about cold. All they know of cold is that it feels different from hot.
They don’t have the information that it’s uncomfortable, or should be avoided, or that it will make them feel horrible, or that water is for summer only, and winter is the harbinger of illness.
Or have had anyone say to them when they are heading for the sea….. Are you sure you want to?
The queen of all self doubt inducing statements, yep you’ve all heard it.
These joyful creatures simply don’t have the information so they get to enjoy their own journey, blissfully ignorant of others beliefs.
And nothing bad happens, they are happy, safe and living in blissful joy.
Told you it was simple:)
How many times have you heard yourself say;
I’m too old for that
I would but I feel I’m too old
I missed the boat on doing that because … I’m too old now
I need to get on with it as I’m getting older
I should have done it before now, before it
was too late...
Add yours here :) .......................................
You were not born, with the idea that time would slow you down. It was programmed into you in a million different ways.
What information do I hold around ageing?
What are the restrictions I place on myself because of my age?
What have I done well all my life that I have stopped doing because of my ageing process?
Have you slowed down in your drive to achieve those things you are passionate about?
Have you given up, even just a little?
Are you happy to conform with the expectations of society around how you age?
Do you feel it's all inevitable, if so why?
Am I ageing in the way I want, in the way I know is best for me?
By the time we were three you had achieved two of the greatest challenges of your life.
Walking, and learning, comprehending, and using a language, if not two. By around 3!!!
Fortunately for us, at that age, we had two very distinct things on our side: our instinctual urge to stand upright and put one foot in front of the other; and that we hadn’t yet been programmed to doubt our ability to succeed. Regardless of how many times we fell and hurt ourselves we never questioned or doubted our ultimate success. To never doubt our success is innate. We were blissfully unaware that we were on the clock; not knowing we had to get it perfected within a timeframe before the panic of others sets in. If you decided that these things could wait awhile, until you were ready and you weren’t meeting at least the centre line on the flow chart of milestone expectation you were viewed as not normal or slow or rushed off to the medical experts for a diagnosis of some sort.
Unfortunately as we grow and age we learn to replace our own objectives with those of others, we accept their limitations on our motivation and abilities. We may have the odd burst of rebelliousness but after a few attempts to achieve our ambitions we rationalise our lack of accomplishment with those programmed beliefs: we are just too old, too fat, too poor, too uneducated or simply too late. Whatever the excuse we will find a convenient label somewhere in our conditioning that will stop us from achieving what we want and settle for something far less. Usually it is because we are governed by, and responding to, a handed down life timetable.
We are so susceptible to buying into the idea that we are genetically prone to illness or weakness or any of the myriad reasons we are not who we want to be. BUT .. I don’t accept that it needs to be our truth. I genuinely believe it’s never too late to start redefining our future and start making changes in the way we want to age and live.
I know after that day, really seeing myself in that mirror, regardless of the pain it caused me, change became the priority. I thanked my mother for trying to keep me safe.
Then I decided what I wanted my ageing process to look like and ...
I became a physical trainer, seeing me in a pool 5 hours a day teaching weight resistance training.
I Defined what I loved doing and started to create new companies to reflect that.
I Spent the time doing the inner work so that I could develop my skills within the dark work and healing.
I allowed myself to fall in love with the love of my life, yes the gorgeous Paul
I Stopped buying into the medical belief that I had a heart issue, and sure enough after years of that it disappeared.
Dropped probably 20 years :)
The choice is yours, mash potato or a great sex life at 90.
Redefine your beliefs and you will redefine the way in which you age.
As Leroy Robert ‘Satchel’ Paige said:
’How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?’
Your mind will always create your reality. You can allow others to determine what you think, feel or believe, or you can take control and do it your way.
As always it entirely up to you