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Could there be good news about aging?

“You’ve got the world by the tail: You’re talented, educated, ambitious, handsome and charming. Your future is limitless!” Is there any doubt that those words were said to a person much younger than 75?

In the lifetime that follows youth, limitations begin to beset us that erase many of the above energetic adjectives. A list of circumstances serves as a reminder of how those limitations infringe upon our lives. Our joints wear down, leading us to lean on a cane or curse at the mayonnaise bottle we can no longer open. The speed of our former reaction time falters, at times causing harmful falls. Breathing problems bring less energy; heart problems bring more medications. Need I go on? If there is good news about aging, how do we find it?

I believe a first step is to notice our limitations. Acknowledge that they are present, and then reframe them. Think of taking a picture out of its 33-year-old frame, putting it in a new frame and hanging it on a different wall.

Here are some examples. Say your reaction time is slower. This actually provides you with more space to think of a funny retort. Or suppose you’re seeing and/or hearing less. What an opportunity to be with your conscious self when you are meditating, to block out the world around you and imagine yourself surrounded only by blue sky

Limitations can be fodder for conversations about your depression. Imagine how your friends’ faces would change, light up even, if you were to announce to them: “I am no longer going to put energy, either conversational or mental, into that word!” It is said that depression often stems from dementia. If that is true, how would your world change if you gave a prayer of gratitude each time you had a senior moment? That’s a far cry from feeling you’re responsible for everything, right?

Being conscious of how we limit ourselves can bring about more self-nurturing, which leads to heightened kindness to ourselves. In the years that came before now, the emphasis was on doing.

In our aging process, can we take this precious time to notice our being? I believe we can. I believe we can notice what is now, rather than what should be or what used to be. We do have choices.

In my tai chi class our instructor, Joyce Spreyer, has posted this quote from Bruce Lee:

“If you always put limits on what you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits, only plateaus, and you must not stay there. You must go beyond them.”

Mary Lansing is a member of the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.




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