Kimm’s article on aging and learning to find joy in small things, illustrated beautifully the process of changing bodies and minds. And it has set me up perfectly to continue the discussion.
I am Kimm’s senior by exactly 20 years. At 68 I have a real awareness of aging and both its beautiful and ugly sides. And I won’t mince words. Some of it can be very ugly. The good news is that if you move through the aging process mindfully, its beauty far outweighs anything else.
As I have passed through my 50’s, and now almost all of my 60’s, I have found aging to be a fascinating part of living. I have noted the physical changes with acceptance, and the mental farts with humor. But the other day while meditating – something I do every day – I had a thought that quite disturbed me. I heard my mind say,” I hate this aging thing. And I am angry about it!”. Consequently, I have had to wrestle with this thought. I am not as okay with the aging process as I told myself I was.
The fact that my body now has limitations I never would have imagined it would, really bugs me. I had thought I could start training again to run at least 3 miles by the time I am 70, but now, with some pulmonary issues to deal with, that goal may be unrealistic. That makes me sad. I see doctors much more frequently than I used to, and take a pharmacy full of medications. I move slower, think slower, and sometimes don’t remember why I’ve walked into the bathroom. I used to remember everything. I have become fat – partly from meds, and partly just from middle aged spread – when I used to be quite thin. All these changes really do upset me a lot more than I believed they did. And I do get angry.
But the upside to aging, is that I feel more free than ever. I am not bothered as much by little things that might go amiss, and I don’t care what people think of me. I know myself very well and love who I have become. I am more sage and wise and feel that in my bones. When I can think, I like my thoughts and the way I process experiences and new information. And the best part is that my mortality does not frighten me. I will be content whenever the time comes, knowing that I died a good person, happy with my life.
Like Kimm, the little things are great sources of joy. Being licked awake by 2 frenetic puppies is the best way to wake up ever! My morning cup of coffee with Kimm is something I always look forward to. Afternoon beer and watching Harry Potter are as fulfilling as writing something pithy. And my meditations are a wonderful way to start the day. I am blessed beyond blessed. And I am Aware.
I can’t tell you the aging process is a picnic. Some of it is downright painful. Literally. But it is interesting if you can choose to see it that way. And it is an opportunity to really know yourself.
*Courtesy of Google Images