Aging happens to everybody-one day at a time. For many the dominant response to growing older is to deny the whole experience. And, in may ways, that is good, especially if denial means not buying into the stereotypes and myths that are commonly accepted about older people in our society. That is, that older people are crotchety, fretful, and generally impossible to deal with. We even relegate ourselves to the "can't work" pile, always "sick" pile, "totally useless" pile. These images are insidious and untrue . I, for one, rebel at those images. We do not have to accept the age boundaries set by others. We do not have to live by the standards set for us by someone else or even the ones we lived by in the past.
I know that if I'm to hold onto my own concept of who I am, my ego image, I have to be sure that the rain and sunshine come from within. I do not want to live to be an old woman looking back on life, and wishing that I had eaten more ice cream, gone barefoot in the rain more often, ridden more merry-go-rounds, danced until the wee hours of the morning, worn more purple or floppy hats, or said, "I love you," to those I should have said it to and didn't.
If we are going to experience a rebirth and smell the flowers, we have to begin by finding out where we are in this world-in relation to our family and friends and our jobs. Am I satisfied with my life? Are there things I want to change? The answers can be found within you. We all see the world differently through our own eyes.
You ask, "Where do I begin to find out where I fit into the world? I don't know whether or not I like who I am."
I could give you lots of information about what the experts say about aging-the physical, mental, and social implications of aging. This might give you a benchmark. But that's not what this column is all about. It's about what you think, say, and do.
It's about "plowing your own fields" (Looking inside yourself - who you are and what you want to be), sowing seeds (setting new priorities and values), rain and sunshine (giving yourself permission to be who you want to be; what you want to do). It's about spring and rebirth-about smelling the flowers (a new sense of fulfillment and self-worth).
Rebirth is not easy. It doesn't come without plowing the fields. It may not come without tears. You may even want to hide under the covers at times. Remember, "every seed destroys its container," or else there would be no flowers, fruits, vegetables, wheat or oats.
You, too, will have to shed your "container," get out of that comfortable groove. It may mean saying "no" more often to others, and "yes" to you. You might have to spend more time alone for awhile so that you can shed relationships that are draining your time and energy. You may need to be more accepting of being an "I" rather than a "we."
It could mean risks-making the first gesture toward patching up a longstanding feud with family members. You might have to get out of that easy chair, watch less television and exercise more. You may need to revamp your diet to include more protein, fruits, vegetables and grain, and eliminate cholesterol, salt or sugar. You may have stayed in that big old house too long. Is it time to move on? Whatever you choose, your house, an apartment, two rooms or a cave, make it your palace and fill it with love. It could be time to think of retirement. Before you retire, make sure you have something to get out of bed for each day.
Do those wrinkles on your forehead or that knot in your stomach say you take life too seriously? Maybe it's time to let go and have some good old-fashioned fun. Go dancing, ride the merry-go-round, take your shoes off and walk in the puddles after a rain, buy a sassy new dress or tie.
Say "yes" to life and all it has to offer. Experience a rebirth. Step back and take your precious time to smell the roses, in your own
special way. Make every day, your own day. Don't be a follower, do your own thing in 2007. You can do it, maybe your life will depend on it.
I have already started to step back and
smell those roses.Yesterday I took a
whole day for just me..Had my hair done,
spent some time at the library, did a little browsing/shopping, bought myself
a little silver chain with a beautiful
pearl on it. I had been thinking about it for about 3 months, but I felt it really wasn't a necessity for me. So
now it is around my neck, instead of at
the jewelry shop laying inside a glass case.
After I finished what I wanted to do I went home. My daughter called me and asked where I had been, since I am usually always at home, or never gone more than a couple of hours. I told her I had been out smelling the roses and just laughed..