Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.
Years ago Satchel Page asked “How old would you be if you did not know how old you were?” I know we have talked about before but I am still amazed at how old some young people are and how young some oild people are. I think the secret is one of maintain a realistic positive attitude while continuing to live full and interesting lives. I know my body keeps trying to tell me I am older than I think I am but I have found that if take care of it the best I can while not letting it convince me to slow down I can still get plenty of pleasure out of my life.
Here are excerpts from an article I picked up from the Heart of Healing blog holds some of the secrets of living happily all your life.
Enjoy a Vital, Fulfilling Life Regardless of Age
More often than not, aging is viewed as something to be fought off for as long as possible. Regardless of how liberated we’ve become, many women and men still experience aging as a threat to their sense of self worth and quality of life. It is pretty much expected that middle age will bring a “crisis” and far too often we hear seniors lament that “I thought these were supposed to be the golden years.”
What if aging were equated with getting better rather than worse? What if you lived in a culture which reveres the elderly and views them as a repository of power and wisdom? Since how we age has so much to do with our attitudes and beliefs, such a shift in perspective could make a world of difference.
Two Basic Requirements of Graceful Aging
What I’ve discovered is that there are two “basic requirements” of graceful aging. To borrow from the “Serenity Prayer”, graceful aging requires the “serenity to accept the things we cannot change; courage to change the things we can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Certainly acceptance of aging is a key to aging gracefully – but which of the changes that commonly come with age are the “things we cannot change” and which are the “things we can change?”
What You Can and Cannot Change — Importance of Relaxation
These two major requirements of successful aging – accepting the aging process and not accepting what we can change — may at first seem contradictory. Sometimes success in life involves the ability embrace the paradox that when we accept life at it is at the moment, it paradoxically opens a doorway for positive change.
The bottom line, as I see it, is the ability to relax with whatever challenges us at any given time and that includes the changes aging brings. When we are relaxed, we are open to different ways of looking at things. Relaxation brings us out of the “fight or flight” mode that causes us to act impulsively, and gives us more ability to reflect on things. Instead of running out to buy some new anti-aging product, we can spend some time examining our fears and learning whether they are based in reality or on some cultural programming that we’d be better off ignoring.
What We Can Change — The Role of Attitude and Lifestyle
It’s been discovered that attitude has an enormous role in how we age. Much of the decline that people experience with aging comes about due to the belief that decline in function and quality of life is part and parcel of aging. In addition, many of the problems of age are not due to the process of aging itself, but rather due to the effects of a lifetime of stress and poor health habits. It’s never too late to change the two most important ingredients to graceful aging – attitude and lifestyle.
Finding a Balance
Finally, graceful aging means finding a balance between acceptance of the inevitability of aging and doing what we can to remain vital and healthy as long as possible. Once again, we emphasize the importance of relaxing. Acceptance involves relaxation into life and the ability to flow with change. When we are relaxed, we stop fighting the inevitable. At the same time, relaxation is a key to better health and greater vitality.
To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent – that is to triumph over old age.
Thomas Bailey Aldrich
She said: Waiting for our aerobics class to begin, several of us were standing around in our leotards chatting about fitness and diets. One woman said that her brother-in-law had quit smoking, gone on a diet and lost weight all at the same time.
Thinking to myself that no human being could possibly do this without acquiring at least one other undesirable habit for compensation, I jokingly asked her, “What did he start doing instead of these things?”
After a slight pause, she smiled and said, “Well, my sister is pregnant now.”
Middle age is having a choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get you home earlier.
She said: When my son graduated from high school, he had to give a speech. He began by reading from his prepared text. “I want to talk about my mother and the wonderful influence she has had on my life,” he told the audience. “She is a shining example of parenthood, and I love her more than words could ever do justice.”
At this point he seemed to struggle for words. After a pause, looking up with a sly grin he said, “It’s really hard to read my mom’s handwriting.”
“The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well.”
She said: This is how men participate with childbirth; they come into the room and say, “Breathe.” Is that really sharing the experience? If I ever have a baby again I want my husband to be on the table next to me, at least getting his legs waxed.
“Why is the place you drive on is a parkway, and the place you park on is the driveway?”
Our family took a ski trip, and I was knocked unconscious by the chairlift. I called my insurance company from the hospital, but it refused to cover my injury.
“Why not?” I complained.
“You got hit in the head by a chairlift,” the insurance rep said. “That makes you a moron, and we consider that a pre-existing condition.”
“I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.”
A wife went to the police station with her next-door neighbor to report that her husband was missing. The policeman asked for a description. She said, “He’s 35 years old, 6 foot 4, has dark eyes, dark wavy hair, an athletic build, weighs 185 pounds, is soft-spoken, and is good to the children.”
The next-door neighbor protested, “Your husband is 5 foot 4, chubby, bald, has a big mouth, and is mean to your children.”
The wife replied, “Yes, but who wants HIM back?”
“Youth. I don’t seek it through another because I have it within; it’s a state of mind, a spirit that is free, and a mind that is playful. The shell of my being is altered by the effects of time, but nothing will tarnish a soul that will never forget what it’s like to experience creation with endless wonder and appreciation. Each time I see the first snowfall of the season I feel it’s the first time I’ve seen it at all.”
Donna Lynn Hope
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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