When I turned 50 I didn’t see myself as over the hill. On the contrary, I felt like I was standing on the top of a mountain – my mountain. Years of life experience, schooling, relationships, ups and downs, and highs and lows had brought me to a place of heightened clarity, reflection and wisdom I hadn’t enjoyed before. Life felt easier. It was time to soar; to reap the benefits of having made it this far.
I know that when I was a teen and younger, 30 seemed ancient. But, somewhere in my own upward climb I abandoned that thinking. I never bought into the belief that aging was pathological, a downhill slide into the grave.
In a recent article, AARP wrote a strong statement addressing the topic of aging:
“People 50 and older are still living in ways that reflect the attitudes, activism and aspirations of the boomer generation – the desire to live life on our own terms, to make a difference, to change the world.”
And Wendie Trubow, MD, a wonderful functional medicine doctor who spoke at the recent conference of the Reflexology Association of America, shared a challenge that really stuck in my brain:
“Reject the conventional wisdom of discrepancy as you age.”
Just like Uber disrupted the taxi industry and Airbnb the hospitality industry, I challenge myself – and you – to disrupt the concept of aging!
Believe me, I don’t have my head in the sand when it comes to aging. I know that genetics and luck play into how we age, and I’m fully aware that my aging body needs more and more, and sometimes different, attention than it did in my younger years. But, I also know that the bigger part of how I feel is a consequence of my thoughts and beliefs, not a number. Add to that the incredible amount of information that is available these days regarding self-care and there’s no excuse for me not to live my best life now. All that stands in the way is negative self-talk.
As the AARP article continued: “The negative stories we tell ourselves and one another about aging lead to negative behaviors that, in turn, create a negative reality of aging. The view of aging as decline becomes a self-fulfilled prophecy.”
“Instead we could look at aging as a process of continuous growth. Aging is just living. Some aspects of life get a little tougher as you go along, and some get a little easier, but it’s all part of being alive.”
It seems that the magazine editors are on the same page as Jane Fonda, who gave a short TED talk regarding the ‘third act’ of her life that absolutely knocked me out. She challenges us to re-imagine this new phase of our lives; to recognize that no matter the number, I am still me and you are still you – and maybe even more so now than ever.
I leave you with the above thoughts to ponder, and invite you to share your beliefs around aging.
And here’s the link to Jane Fonda’s inspiring talk.