We have the opportunity to clearly see the path that’s darkened by our current fortune. Sounds a bit dramatic, I know. But life, for some of us, is rather dramatic. As we age, our opportunity doors begin to close. As we settle into an awareness of ourselves, finding peace, or not, we also know without a shadow of doubt, that when renewing our lives with new opportunities, we are meeting more of a challenge than at any other point in our lives.
In our culture (and I know that this is cultural values in action), we believe that all vitality, accomplishment, ambition rests in the hands of the young. We don’t appreciate the wisdom of our citizens as they age. We see their physical limitations, or at least, view their physical appearance as a limitation. We assume that all accomplishments should be firmly established prior to a ‘certain age’. We have great expectations for those who we deem too old for a new beginning.
And yet, now that I’ve arrived at the dawn of this new age, I’m clear on one thing. I see my former self as a learning opportunity and my new life as endless possibilities. Just the past week, two of my high school friends lost their battle with cancer. Nothing wakes a person up to living their best life than seeing others not have that opportunity. We live every moment of every day in vivid detail so that we can make the very most of what we want to accomplish.
We have two paths we can choose from as we age. We can choose to think of this as the “end” of our lives, settle into whatever notion of complacency there is and wait for the end to meet us. Or, we can see this as a new path, a new day, a new opportunity for growth with all the excitement of all of the other beginnings we’ve experienced. The media myth-trap that we’re all buying into is that we can ‘reverse the aging process’ or slow it down, or ‘look youthful’. The notion of spending the rest of my life trying to be a former me is no where near as appealing as embracing my new me with vitality, excitement, engagement in my curiosity and looking forward to being a new version of myself.
I believe positive psychology has an opportunity to change a paradigm in how we age.
I don’t see aging as anything other than a gift.’
It’s a gift not granted to my former friends, but one that holds profound opportunity for me to live my life to the fullest and celebrate who I am right here, now, today. The paradigm that we should feel bad about aging, or decaying (as the beauty industry would have us believe) is simply one I do not accept. a paradigm of thriving, celebrating, savoring, enjoying my time now as ‘the good life’ is the center of the only version of the universe that I for one, will allow.
Karen Henry, MA – positive psychology beyond the boardroom or classroom
About the author: Karen E.M. Henry is a transitions life coach, writer and speaker. She specializes in working with people who want to create positive changes and savor who they want to be. Her full bio can be found at: wings13326.wix.com/wings13326#!about-karen-e-m-henry-ma/c11k