Aging Gratefully

I’m guessing that growing older is probably not at the top of most people’s lists of things to be thankful for this holiday season. I never really thought that the subject of aging would be one that particularly resonated for me. For the longest time, it just never seemed to come up. It was always someone else’s concern.

Who knew that I would reach a point in my life where some of my peers are grandparents . . . where my own grandparents (some of them are still around) can no longer take care of themselves . .. where my friends and I sometimes wonder how we actually got to this stage in our lives—and what we have to show for it . . . and where I sometimes see a face in the mirror or in a photograph that I can’t quite believe is really mine.

I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go there with The Team . . . but then I realized that regardless of how much life there may be behind me, there is—presumably—a decent sized stretch of it still ahead. I wondered how to approach that remaining stretch in a way that doesn’t include regret or remorse. I asked, “What perspective about getting older would serve me well? And how can I move forward into the time I still have on the planet in a way that is truly alive?”

Well of course we’re happy to talk about this, but we suspect you won’t believe a lot of what we have to say. Fortunately that never stops us.

We would like to convey to you as lovingly as we know how, that you’ve really got most of this business about aging all wrong. It’s not entirely your fault. Few things get more air time on your air waves than the perils of an extended stay on your planet. You’re bombarded with dire messages and warnings of one sort or another about what a tough time you’re in for and how you sure better be prepared because it’s only going to get tougher as you go along. Add to that the overwhelming emphasis and value that most of you place upon an astonishingly narrow set of criteria for determining worth or value or attractiveness in most of your societies . . . and it is no wonder you basically feel screwed. And of course, all that fear and trepidation and attention to all the things that can go wrong, net you plenty of harsh observable realties to seemingly confirm your gloomy outlook.

It’s pretty screwy. But what is so screwy about it is not even the fear-based consumerism or the seemingly shallow concerns about how to turn back time . . . What is REALLY screwy about it are the endlessly creative ways you have of sabotaging and denying and resisting the rich-beyond-belief joys that are available to you as you move into the later phases of your physical experience.

We acknowledge the challenge presented to you by your conditions where this topic is concerned. We get that it is not easy to see and hear only news of decline and disease and diminished means and deteriorating capacity and dimming beauty . . . and maintain a bright and cheery view of your experience past a certain point in your lives.

This is one of the reasons that we are staunch advocates of bald faced lying about your age. If we were having your physical experience and had moved into an age where the assumptions start weighing down on us about what we can expect or how we should look or feel or act . . . we would begin our response to this situation by simply never telling anybody how old we are.

You might balk at such blatant dishonesty and immediately protest the lack of integrity and the way that it seems a cop-out in the face of the very pressures we just said were screwy—and to all that we say, basically, get over it. What matters in this context—as in every context—is your well being . . . you peace of mind . . . your joy and clarity and the extent to which you are in connection or in disconnection with the You you really are.

And so we ask you . . . do you believe that the You you really are is keeping track of your crows feet or noting that new wrinkle or that new gray hair or that latest ache or pain? Do you really believe that Source ever looks at you as an aging, declining, diminishing being who is somehow less than you were five or ten or fifteen years ago? Whose view of you are you deciding to hold? Whose opinion of you is the one that really matters? Fashion designers? Magazine
photographers? TV or film casting agents/ Modeling agencies? Insurance companies? Medical researchers?

Who are you going to listen to when it comes to deciding what your life is worth at this point or that point in your stay on the planet? Whose story are you telling?

There are any number of people who will be glad to let you know what a slippery slope you’re on past a certain time in your life. Oh—you’re 50?? Uh oh—time for this disease to show up . . . or better make sure you’ve protected yourself against that . . . You’re 60—and alone?? Hope you’ve got some long term care insurance. You do realize lightning will likely strike you dead before love finds you at that age, right?

We’re exaggerating to make a point—and we are not suggesting that you abandon or ignore any measure that brings you comfort or relief in terms of your physical or emotional health. What we want you to understand is the way that you collaborate in this reality of decline for yourselves. We want you to see what it is you’re really looking at that is bringing you this experience of less . . . of feeling like less . . . of having less. . . of doing less . . . when in fact the only reason for any of that—ever—is that you have somehow become a vibrational match to less.

There is no valid reason for any of you to experience the sort of decay or decline or diminishing that you so fear—except for your fear of it and the constant attention that you give it, the older you get. And while we don’t necessarily advocate that you ‘fight’ these so-called realities of aging, we do encourage you to adopt an approach that will bring you the opposite of what you fear . . . that will bring you vitality instead of decline . . . robust wellness instead of disease . . . rich and active and exhilarating life experiences rather than restriction and inertia.

The real anti-aging potion . . . the true antidote you are all looking for to this alleged dilemma is, in fact, the same antidote we offer you for most of your perceived maladies . . . appreciation.

“Here they go again,” we hear you saying, and in order not to disappoint, we go here again—and again and again. You can, in fact, appreciate your way to good health. You can, in fact, appreciate your way to a vital, ‘youthful’, stimulating, healthy life—at any age. It only gets harder as you get older because you’ve had more time to kick around and notice all the things you don’t like and don’t want. But you still have the same power to sift through all that data and to decide where you focus will be. And in fact, you have the advantage of much more time to learn what really brings you the greatest levels of satisfaction. You’ve had more time to recognize the truly meaningful pleasures and to tell them apart from the ones that are more fleeting and insubstantial. You’ve had time to figure out what matters most to you and what offers you the purest and most powerful forms of connection to your Source.

You have the information you need . . . and all you have to do is decide what you’re going to do with it. You can choose to ignore any and every message you hear about the latter part of your life if you choose to. You can immediately decide, no matter what you are hearing or seeing, that your experience is YOUR experience, created by your attention to what pleases you.

You hear the words “You’re as young as you feel” all the time and you give lip service to that idea but when it comes down to the daily choices you make about what you’re going to look at and how you’re going to respond to your own life . . . you rarely put those words into practice. We want you to understand that you can live those words.

You must decide what is the source of your well being. You must decide who or what determines how you’re going to feel about your life? Whose rules will you adopt? Which fashion will you be a slave to? Who will you give your power away to? We are continually encouraging you to ask about the view of you that Source holds. In fact, we would love to see you frequently stop and ask to see you the way we see you—the way You see you. Because we promise you—you cannot get even a glimpse of yourself from the view of Source and in that same moment hold any view of yourself as declining or decaying or becoming less than who You are.

In those moments—too rare though they may be—when you do look for the unlimited reasons you have to feel appreciation—in those moments when you remember even just one of the infinite number of ways that you are blessed, no matter what your current conditions may be—in those moments you know because you feel the ageless, brilliant, beautiful, tireless, splendid being that you are. You know in those moments that your potential is unlimited. You know in those moments that your value is inestimable. You know in those moments that your life is part of a vast miracle and that you are an indispensable and unique part of that miracle.

We could go on and on—and have. But the point is, again, that you can choose to fight or push against the aging that so many of you fear and loathe—with mixed results at best . . . or you can understand the power and the indescribable joys of aging gratefully . . . and get busy with the most joy-filled time of your life.


So often it comes down to a glass half-empty/half-full proposition, doesn’t it? I can choose to be half dead or I can choose to be fully alive. I can choose to lament what is or I can choose to look ahead with anticipation for what can be.

I can take my cues from what I see in the mirror or from what I feel when I look at any number of wonders always around me. Does that mean I won’t ever complain again about a gray hair or a stiff shoulder? Probably not. But it does mean I have an appealing alternative to nostalgia . . . an anti-aging dream that is mine to apply anytime I want. That fact leaves me feeling rejuvenated—even downright frisky—and during these moments of designated thanksgiving, agelessly and gratefully complete.

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About Dan

Published novelist, poety, essayist, photographer and college educator. Visit me at www.firstadream.com.

Posted on November 22, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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