(Excerpt from Pain, Passion & Purpose )
In our youth-obsessed culture it can be difficult to embrace the changes that age brings. Many of us cling to the past – to a time when we most projected the world’s image of beauty and success. Unfortunately, trying to hold on to the past is like trying to carry water in your hands; it always slips through your fingers. Although we can’t stay 35 forever, we can maximize the benefits of our current age while bringing along the wisdom we’ve gained from the past. There’s a deeper, more profound happiness available to us with every year that passes. We can begin to embrace the process of aging gracefully by following these four steps:
Keep forward momentum – We’re meant to keep learning and growing. By continuing to challenge ourselves we prevent becoming stuck in the past. There’s no need to cling to previous accomplishments when we’re constantly creating new ones. Our goals don’t have to be lofty – but forward momentum offers us inner fulfillment and reminds us that were still vital individuals with much to offer the world.
Set the wheels in motion – Making progress in our lives doesn’t happen on its own, however. It’s up to each of us to take the steps necessary to keep our lives fresh and new. That means being proactive and taking the initiative to create change. With each new challenge conquered, we become more empowered going into the next one. Pretty soon, we learn to delight in new opportunities and live our lives with a sense of renewed enthusiasm and abandon.
Heal past hurts – Getting older also offers us the chance to resolve issues that have haunted us. As our lives begin to slow down a bit, we can place more of our on energies on healing these areas of our lives. The old adage “Time heals all wounds” may not be completely true, but it does offer us the gift of perspective. By finally conquering those old demons, we can reclaim our emotional freedom and redefine ourselves in a way that reflects our greatest authenticity.
Find balance – Growing with grace also means finding a balance of our whole identity – Mind, Body and Spirit. Early in our lives, we place most of our energies on mental pursuits. But as our lives become more established, that slows down and our bodies begin to scream out for some much-needed attention. In addition, we begin to feel the call of our Spirits speaking in louder and louder tones – reminding us that there’s more to life than the daily grind of duties that we’ve busied ourselves with for so long. By following these natural inclinations we often find a new, more complete sense of happiness, simply because we’ve been forced to acknowledge every aspect of our being. The result is a deeper sense of inner peace than we’ve ever experienced before.
But perhaps the greatest gift that aging gives us is the ability to finally feel comfortable in our own skin (even if that skin isn’t quite as toned as it used to be!) We come to realize that we’re more than just our jobs, social status and bank accounts. In fact, we’ve now lived long enough to have an inkling of our own unique offerings to this world. Those wondrous capabilities are our souls shining through. By allowing ourselves to become a reflection of all the great qualities we’ve honed over the years, we serve not only as an example to others, but also as a powerful instrument of change in creating a better world.
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Marci Wise is the author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2013 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.