This article was previously published in the Aquarian newspaper and I have permission to use in through my own sources.
By Coralie Raia Darsey-Malloy
In youth we learn;
In age, we understand.
— Marie Von Ebner-Eschenbach
Retirement is a foreign concept because neither David nor I plan to retire. We know that it is only “work” when the enjoyment in the task is not there. The rewards we have in the work we do as life coaches, communicators, seminar leaders and public speakers is so rewarding there is no desire to retire. Over the years, we have presented course material to people in advanced years and they are a great example of how anyone can remain youthful as they age. We wrote and produced a variety of seminars for Creative Retirement Manitoba (CRM) for a number of years. Pariticpants there had a “youthiness’ energy and drive that was ageless and timeless. Interactions with them inspired the name of our course on “youthing versus aging.” These “youthers” had an impact on how we are choosing intend to live as we march through time.
One of the outstanding examples was a group of seniors in their late sixties and early seventies who decided to take a course in Tai Chi. Initially felt intimidated at the thought of moving their stiff, sore bodies in new ways. However, as daunting as initial stages were, they valiantly carried on. I recall members of that core group sharing how they were amazed that seven years later they were in better shape than when they began. They continue to provide inspiration for new members by getting on buses in the middle of winter and traveling to rural areas to teach others remain strong and healthy.
Another inspiring woman was a stylish woman gal we assumed was in her late fifties or early sixties. She was physically active, an avid reader with an inquiring mind. She was studying quantum physics–and made heads turn with her flair and style. As a fellow hat lover, I appreciate her collection of hats that she often combined with and pant boots with tasteful studs on her denim outfits. She did not give the impression of an older woman trying to look young, but rather she looked woman who had the confidence to choose clothes that made a statement.
It was a surprise to discover her true age during one of our classes. She was saying how indignant about a heel spur her doctor found. While expressing her frustration to participants in the class about how it was slowing her down, one of her friends responded by saying, “Well what do you expect at YOUR age of eighty-six.” In a calm voice her reply was, “Part of why I am shocked and upset is because, unlike many of you, I refuse to accept that aches, pains and even bone spurs have to become a reality within my aging process. I intend to have the damn thing removed and keep on being active until I decide to check out of here. So there! It is that attitude that has a bearing on youthful aging versus “getting old.”
Throughout our shared path David and I know for sure that time does not have to be toxic. We strive to maintain balance and moderation in all things and we’re stronger than in our youth. Granted, we are fortunate to come from a good gene pool and that according to research that helps. Having said that, I look back to my youth and earlier experiences and I marvel that my body is in as good a shape as it is. being were a more worthwhile goal than being thin. As I began putting my energy into healing my inner world and making peace with my body, I noticed that concerns with aging and outer appearances faded in significance. Through time, I began to see that who we are on the inside is far more important than any outer form. Once I wrapped my brain around that one, I was finally free to be me in ways that were not possible when I was younger. The choose not to buy into the bias of ageism and stereotypical thinking there is less emphasis on appearance and greater focus on how the body functions over outer appearances. Winkles and less than toned skin pale in comparison to illness and death.
There is another perspective on youthing versus aging a self-responsible and self-reliant approach to healthy living. Eating whole, natural foods, drinking purified water, supplementation, balancing personal and professional commitments, having time to rest, re-charge laughter, prayer and meditation are co-factors that support health and well-being. David and I strive to connect with like-minded others that enhance rather than drain energies. Trustworthy friends assist us in staying grounded through the difficulties in life. Whenever anyone makes healing, strength, balance and resiliency their primary goals, they thrive. They do not allow age to define who they are, how they live and even dress. Age brings wisdom and the confidence to be whom we are whether others approve or not. The way David and I feel about aging is that it is the best thing that happens to any of us when we accept it as just a number not a death sentence. How many times we have been around the sun does not have to determine whether we will achieve many of our unexplored potentials…only we decide that. I remember my Mom querying her peers as she wound down her life at Riverview Health Centre, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” As I contemplate the answer to that question, I have made a firm commitment not to let my years according to the calendar become more important than the age we feel.
The quote below is an eloquent summation by an active centenarian in Health News and Review, “So-called age is simply the deterioration of enthusiasm, faith to live, and the will to progress.”
Enthusiasm, faith and will power can be a prescription for longevity if we are willing to implement them. How about you? Are your fifties going to be fabulous, sixties sensational? Seventies spectacular? Eighties expansive? I think you get the idea. State your intent then make passions happen at any age and stage of life and each decade can be exciting journey rights until the last breath.