By Pamina Mullins
Wine enthusiasts share a passion for wines that will “age.” Wines that will actually improve over time are a rarity, thus making them a prize for collectors. Longevity in wine is one indicator of greatness.
However, quite often when we reach mid-life we get the frightening feeling that everything (including us) is starting to fall apart. The urge to fulfill those dreams on your bucket list acquires a new sense of urgency; and clocks suddenly seem to be on turbo-time.
Everyone else can seem younger, sexier, smarter and more in demand.
Sometimes your expectations and priorities (along with certain body parts) seem to be shape shifting. After a lifetime of knowing who you are and where you’re going this can be disorienting. Resentment, frustration, stress and depression often set in.
Suddenly after never having given your age a thought, those numbers can start to influence everything you do, and unlike wine, your confidence and sense of self value may decrease.
Most of us worry to some degree about getting older.
We worry about how to stay fit and healthy. We worry whether we’re going to have enough energy to keep up with the ever increasing pace of life. We worry about whether our finances will stretch to accommodate the increased expenses that often go with age. We worry about the changes in our physical appearance, and whether we can keep our brains from atrophying. And we worry most of all about whether we’re still marketable
Are you allowing yourself to be convinced that you’re fast approaching your sell-by date?
Some well meaning people may try to comfort you by pointing out that you should be satisfied; content with what you’ve accomplished. They might even whisper that you’re being ungrateful, it’s time to slow down—or worse, you’re having a mid-life crisis.
But you’re becoming more aware each day of Newton’s law of inertia which states that an object or body in motion stays in motion—and that an object or body at rest, stays at rest, unless it is acted on by an external force!
Reality check #1 – From the time you are born, throughout your childhood, through your teens and adulthood you’ve experienced change.
You’re constantly challenged by a new school, college, university, work experience, home environment, friendships, relationships, relocation or raising a family. Upgrading your skills, and adapting to new and sometimes drastically different circumstances is taken for granted as part of the ever changing pattern. Life is a never-ending procession of new challenges like this, which you accept, often enjoy, take in your stride, and become conditioned to expect.
Reality Check #2 – So, why should this suddenly change?
Why when some specific numbers appear does it become normal to put yourself in ‘park’? Were Henry Ford when he created the Model T car at 45, Charles Darwin when he wrote “On the Origin of Species” at 50, Harland Sanders when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken at 62, or Grandma Moses when she began her prolific painting career at 78 having a mid-life crisis when they created a whole new reality for themselves?
Was Louise Hay who was 58 when she ventured into creating Hay House Publishing? Was Reid Hoffman when he started the career networking site LinkedIn? And what about Anne Abernathy who made her first Olympic Games appearance at the age of 34, and is the first female six-time Winter Olympian and the oldest Winter Olympian ever?
If so, I say, bring on the mid-life crisis!
Reality Check #3 – What the hell has age got to do with it?
You’re probably just ready for the next challenge. Rather than simply accepting society’s distorted expectations about age being a hazard of being human, why not question whether there is actually any truth in the assumption that you automatically slow down and deteriorate as you age?
Why waste all that experience, all those skills and wisdom; all that momentum?
Give me one good reason why, when you’ve been on the move all your life, accumulating value, you should suddenly accept the status quo, slow down or consider yourself obsolete.
Your midlife restlessness just means you’re smart—that you’re a growing, creative person who is ready for a change of direction. It just means you’re ready to recreate yourself again; ready for the next act. It means you’re ready to defy outdated norms.
It means that like fine wine, you’re nowhere near your sell-by date!
When you think about it, there are countless benefits to a prolonged stay on this planet. We get to formulate what works for us; dump that debilitating disease to please; perfect the art of saying “no” and build healthy boundaries.
One of the greatest gifts age grants me is a finely tuned crap alarm. I’ve long since come to terms with my own, which enables me to recognize it instantly in others. I’m no longer a slave to the yes impulse, to the chagrin of some of my colleagues; my hormones no longer hold me hostage. I am no longer intimidated by displays of bravado, arrogance or venomous criticism.
I know it’s just fear playing dress up.
These days I’m driven by my own expectations, instead of imposed ones. Consequently I have more honesty, integrity, clarity and perception. I’m free of all those tribal tattoos, not for sale to anyone and the tail no longer wags the dog.
The anti aging power of living your mission with finely honed navigational skills empowers you to negotiate life from the driver’s seat with confidence and clarity. You instinctively sense the potholes and multiple pile ups. The accumulated skills of a lifetime and well developed intuition enable you to pursue your dreams and expand your fear fences. You’re not afraid to look like a fool.
You know there’s no such thing as failure; that physically, emotionally and mentally you will always survive and that you’re infinitely valuable.
We age in direct proportion to the amount of unresolved baggage we carry around with us. Stress, anger, blame, insecurity, guilt, fear and criticism take their toll; they hasten the aging process very effectively.
You can choose to be a helpless, energy drained victim or a powerful energy source at any stage of your life. So stop counting the grey hairs and just keep moving—mentally, emotionally and physically.
You may not have any control over the number of years you inhabit this planet but you do have control over how valuable you become as you mature!