Aging– Challenges and Options
To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living. –Henri Frederic Ameil
We are all aging every day whether we go from 29 to 30 or 69 to70. How we decide to deal with the aging process determines whether we will feel anger and despair or whether we will decide to accept those changes which will inevitably occur as we age.
Challenges of Aging
There are many difficult challenges that confront us in aging. When we look in the mirror we begin to see a different person than we are accustomed to seeingdifferent skin, different hair. etc. We might notice a diminished ability in physical strength and stamina even if we keep up our regular physical routine. Sometimes we might develop some disabling disability which keeps us from doing what we have been accustomed to do. All of this can make us feel that we have less control of our lives and does take some time and some emotional adjustment to process and accept.
There are many different ways that people decide to deal with aging. Some people use denial. They pretend this is not happening and continue to act as if they are still young. Eventually the reality of their lives becomes impossible to ignore and they must ultimately face this painful truth. Other people just decide that aging is a reality and try to just accept what life has dealt them, and that they cannot do anything about that. They become resigned and can become depressed about what is happening to them. They feel that aging and diminished happiness are inevitable. There is also another adjustment to aging that I prefer and value which is to look at what is happening in our lives and see what options are still available to enhance and make our later years as good as they can be and continue to work to have as much happiness in our lives as possible.
How can we learn to examine and value the choices that that we still have that can help us to live happier and more productive lives as we age.
Exploring Options in Aging
Because our physical health might begin to change as we age, the things that we do and value now may no longer work well for us. Our eyesight may not be as sharp and we may not hear as well as previously. It often may feel as if our life choices are shrinking and our self-esteem and our feeling of well-being might begin to diminish. It is true that there will be many former activities which we can no longer do, but it is not true that our life options are fewer or diminishing. They have just changed.
We are fortunate to live in the age of the internet which brings the world into our homes and gives us many choices to continue to be a part of the world and to be active in a different way. We can continue to communicate with the outside world or to volunteer from home or find challenging hobbies or take classes or even start businesses if we want continue to make the effort to learn and grow. It is of course very important to guard our health and do all we can to remain physically active, but if that becomes more difficult as we age, we still can find many options to keep our lives happy and productive.
If we take care of our health, retain our self-esteem, continue to develop our mental capacities and participate in still possible activities which we find enjoyable, then aging will not become a burden but rather a rewarding challenge.