The wonderful thing about reconnecting with people from way-back is that I notice changes that perhaps would otherwise pass me by. This time it was that ‘Age is an Attitude.’
‘Just remember that when you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.’ Arthur Schopenhauaer
Recently I met up with a friend who was a real ‘pocket-rocket’: One of those people who are like the Ever-ready battery and fizz with energy and vitality. You can understand my surprise when she repeatedly referred to herself as age-ing and being an ‘old fart!’
Initially I resisted making comment but that didn’t last long unsurprisingly which led us into interesting dialogue and resulted in her shedding a layer or two. I realized that part of it was that she’d led a very physical life and therefore was feeling the limitations of an older frame, so it was more about reinventing herself by way of interests and application to honour what is, and to adjust to something equally engaging, but less physically demanding. It was time for her to get ‘un-knotted’. Her reinvention I think will be creating a backyard that is not in reality just a ‘back yard’ but a space that give the perception of being more like a secret garden of endless dimension.
‘Do not go gentle into that good night but rage, rage against the dying of the light’ – Dylan Thomas
‘Age is an Attitude’ has become quite a cliché, and it is largely true, however….there is nothing uglier than denial and I find myself very conscious of being ‘age-appropriate’ in a number of contexts within my life from adjusting to matters both internal and external. Change in nutritional needs is an example of internal, and languaging is an example of external – we are all familiar with the ‘dirty old man’ and the ‘mutton-dressed lamb’ images. And I’m not just talking about the twilight years either; I’m talking about 30’s to teens; 40’s to 20’s; 50’s to 30’s and so on. What was appropriate and acceptable for our own generation, may not be so for the next and as they grow older, we need to be aware of this change in dynamic and adjust accordingly.
In youth we learn, in old age we understand – Marie von Ebener-Eschenbach
We also have to acknowledge that we may not have the endurance and/or energy of earlier times and adjust our priorities accordingly – which is no bad thing and perhaps a long-overdue ability so our lives to fit what is available from within ourselves – and it is different for everyone. Comparisons are a morale killer!
Be eccentric now. Don’t wait until old age to wear purple – Regina Brett
What we may lose in energy and endurance we make up for in patience, tolerance, wisdom and selection. So there is plenty to keep us focused and on-purpose.
The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age which means never losing your enthusiasm. Aldous Huxley
The adage that ‘age-ing is not for the feint-hearted’ I find absolutely true, but that does not preclude us from learning new things, re-inventing ourselves, discovering new interests, making new friends or realising our alter-ego.
The old believe everything, the middle aged suspect everything and the young know everything –Oscar Wilde
So my point about this is that please don’t think that age-ing applies just to those of us in our senior years, age-ing is a transition; it is about constant change, and the more we understand and appreciate this time-line, the more ably we can adjust and adapt to the varying needs and requirements made by each of the milestones that come with those changes.
Let’s be vigilant about how we transition and how we honour and celebrate these differences rather than either resenting or ‘writing-off’ those who are different because they bring different skills, attitudes, beliefs and values to the table. It is that richness of variety and experience which gives us the balance to provide the best and most holistic view for the betterment of whatever it is we find ourselves involved with – whether it is a family or a work dynamic.
What to notice:
Diversity is the key to our getting the best from the most; different generations bring a wealth of experience to the mix of youthful exuberance, innovation and initiative. Communities that are rich in the balance of young and old, bring a balance and understanding that provide both purpose and support to those in need: young parents, isolated elderly. This leads to greater stability and connection as well as helping to keep the old young and the young supported and loved.
When you face a dilemma and need an independent sounding board or an ‘unreasonable friend’ to clarify your situation and act as a catalyst to effect change, please check out my website www.outoftherut.co.nz, contact me on 021-732 230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org because I’d love to talk with you.
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