Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Aging is humbling. Since crossing the abyss between 49 and 50, I've had to make so many changes in my approach to life. More changes are no doubt ahead. I want to be healthy and robust in old age, not all shrivelled and confused. Know what I mean?
Last night I made a list of apres-55 guidelines for myself, just in case my behavior has anything to do with keeping me healthy and alert. What have I got to lose? I might as well try anyway, yes?
1. Receive Treatments
It could be as simple as manicures/pedicures, getting a good haircut, facial or other spa treatment. Treatments also include alternative health care like acupuncture, therapeutic massage, psychotherapy, chiropractic, etc. I like to maintain a balance between healing treatments and beauty treatments. Rarely does a week pass when I don't have an appointment for some kind of treatment. I believe in treatments.
2. Choose your Battles
Once upon a time it seemed important to fight for what's "right." I still believe in it, but I've discovered that fighting really wipes me out. After a terrible argument I feel like my adrenal glands are completely drained, lying forlornly on top of my kidneys, looking all grungy like old squeezed out sponges. At least this is how I imagine it. It takes me a long time to recover from a harrowing fight. Now I'm not saying I'll never argue again, oh no. Arguing brings up a lot of electrical energy which is occasionally a healthy thing. But too much of that energy is exhausting.
Is this worth fighting about? is a question I ask myself any time I notice I'm getting annoyed. Nine times out of ten, the answer is no.
3. Connect with Divine Light
The thirtiess and forties are excellent decades in which to fight inner demons from your past. Introspection with the aim of healing old wounds requires facing your least desirable traits, bringing mistakes you've made out into the light. It's very important work, very hard work. It's a life-long work, too. I'm not giving up on it completely, but these days I'm more interested in cultivating noble qualities like compassion and generosity than on rehashing what's wrong with me. If I lived to be 100, I could never cure myself of all my neuroses, so why not spend my remaining years polishing my innate nobility to a high gloss shine? Well?
4. Don't Sit Down
At this age, if you sit down on the couch and do nothing but watch TV, pretty soon you will not be able to walk up and down stairs. People over fifty should throw away their car keys or do something else that will make walking around compulsory. Massage therapy is actually a great profession for middle aged people, (for so many reasons, really). It's a vigorous, physical profession, just what people of my age need. We do not need to sit at desks all day.
5. Learn Something New Every Day
Old people in all cultures are the keepers of history. They are anchors to the past, wise ones who have seen it all and are available to offer advice and counsel. But if I'm dazed out with Alzheimer's or because I'm over medicated, I'm not going to be a very great adviser, am I? So I keep my brain engaged. Needless to say, life is more interesting with an engaged brain. Use it or lose it, fellow geezers.
6. Let Go
Don't hold grudges, stop feeling guilty, forget what was so great about the good old days, stop worrying about your weight ASAP. Life is short. Onwards & upwards. I mean it!