As we start aging, for some of us it’s becomes natural to look back longingly at our younger years. We start remembering the “good ole days” and some of the things we used to do. Yes, we even think about the way we once looked and felt, the heads we used to turn, the hearts we used to break and the knees we once rendered weak. We often reminisce while asking questions like…
Remember when we were in our teenage years, and we thought someone in their 20’s and 30’s were old? Now we’re in our 40’s and 50’s and suddenly, to us, someone in their 60’s and 70’s are “fairly” young.
Remember when we were always young, proud and eager to proclaim our age? Now some of us are forever stuck on the verge of 50 or 60.
Remember when we could run around and play outside all day and never get tired? Now if we even manage to muster up the urge to walk around the block, halfway there, our knees and backs betray us every time.
Remember when we were strong willed, determined and full of energy? Now a fight between exercise and the couch, results in a win for the couch every time, and the victory always tastes better with a piece of cake or anything sweet.
Remember when turkey neck and muffin top were words we only used in association with food? Now they’re conspicuously and permanently hanging around our necks and waists.
Remember when our minds were sharp as a tack, witty and overflowing with creative ideas? Now we spend minutes at a time searching for phones resting in our hands and by our ears and glasses sitting right there on our faces.
Remember when we were always fresh faced and “perky”? Now with the undeniable gift of age and gravity, everything is crumpled and heading south.
For those of us living in the “remember phase”, sorry I may or may not have exaggerated a bit, but sorry I didn’t mean to depress you. For those of you still in the “honeymoon phase” of life, don’t laugh at us because one day soon, you too will be right here.
So how do we cope with the realization of our aging bodies and minds and move towards a stage where we accept all the changes, wrinkles, warts, and all? (oh, by the way those are literal warts.) I know some of us have a hard time dealing with aging and the mental and physical “aches and pains” that come along with it and believe me that’s okay. We’re all humans with different experiences and we all process things differently and in different time frames. Some of us need a longer time to get used to these changes. So never feel badly about feeling badly about getting older!
However, that being said, I believe it takes a gradual change in our mindset and our priorities. It’s okay to acknowledge that we’re having a hard time aging but self-pity and dwelling in the past will only make you feel worse. We can start the acceptance process by focusing less on how we once were, and instead slowly start embracing our newer selves and our different lifestyles, and accepting the fact that aging is something that we just cannot stop and still be around to enjoy it. We can change our priorities by worrying less about turning heads and focusing more on influencing the minds of the younger generation through good parenting, mentorship and nurturing.
There are some positive sides of aging that we ought to focus on. Think about all the things we have gained that we now have to share. Some of you have grandchildren, we have families that have grown, we have acquired a lifetime of friendships, we have experienced years of love and passion, we have made great memories, we have learnt some great life lessons, we have lots of stories to tell, yes, we have wisdom. So, the next time we are tempted to “remember when”, think of today and the time ahead and all the life we still have left to live and all the great wisdom we have acquired just waiting to be shared.