Aging gracefully is the main theme of my adult life. I had a session with a healer recently who said that we are alive for two reasons- to wake up/or not, and die. Waking up spiritually interests me but might be above my pay grade. I don’t get the sense that I have a date with enlightenment in my future. But working on dying, and the journey towards dying seems to be worth some effort.
What does it mean to age gracefully? I’m sure the phrase would have different connotations for different people but I use it in both the emotional and physical context. I was lucky enough to have my first child when I was 42. I shudder to think how my 25 year old self might have parented. The amount of patience and restraint required for the job is in short supply at 48 and would have been nonexistent in my twenties.
While I have mellowed emotionally I have also noticed, to put it kindly, a mellowing of my physical body. I used to make fun of an older friend who needed reading glasses and he would say, “just wait till you turn forty.”
It was as if some internal clock in my eyes flicked a switch and my 40th birthday found me in an optometrist’s office getting fitted for reading glasses of my own. The nature of the body is to deteriorate. We are dying from the minute we are born- “every day a little death”, to quote Stephen Sondheim (enjoy the video).
I read somewhere recently that the body is not designed to make it past 68; everything after that is gravy. So what can we do to stave off the impending decrepitude?
There are three essential factors-
- How you eat.
- How you sleep.
- How you exercise.
They are all equally important in no particular order. Most everyone knows these simple facts yet many of us disregard one if not all of them.
For me personally,
- I like sugar too much.
- I don’t get enough sleep (did I mention my children?)
- I exercise but it is a constant battle to get out of the chair and onto the mat.
Life is an adventure and I don’t want to miss out on the fun. I also want to live to 100. It is an enduring challenge.