March 7, 2016 – The potential darkness of elder years comes on softly and slowly, without much fanfare. The insidious heaviness which seems to overtake one’s entire being begins almost imperceptibly. Heavy footsteps on the stairs; heavy breathing while doing easy chores; heavy thinking. Clarity of thought and the lightness of being seem to fade away. One begins to see how people allow themselves to get old. And one begins to rebel.
Today, my current age is 59 years and 5 months. Old? Young? Somewhat meaningless terms in the abstract. Compare this chronological age with a higher or lower number and we have a relative understanding of the age with respect to other ages. Compare the mindset at this age with the mindset at other ages and we are no longer talking about chronological age per se. There is no stopping the roll of chronological age; that clock ticks continually at the same rate. Our internal age – the age of our mindset – is far more fascinating because we can choose the mindset we want. The challenge is figuring out how to maintain the flexible thought processes (i.e., mindset) we developed as adults during our 20’s and 30’s.
I’ve been in the midst of this battle for over a year – the initial skirmishes go back two years. Awareness is much more recent.
Little, seemingly insignificant, events – forgetting things, losing focus, lowering the achievement bar, physical pain/discomfort. All so easy to dismiss. Until one notices the frequency of these events. Until these events begin to mark the everyday rather than the exceptional. Then it all seems to cascade down. Others begin to notice the changes and wonder.
Two months ago, I hit rock bottom. Lingering cold symptoms, foggy mental faculties, even mood swings. I felt as though my body didn’t fit Me. As though my essence didn’t reach my fingertips. I’ve spent a lifetime developing my physical awareness, and suddenly it seemed I had lost full control of my body. I felt lost.
It would be so simple, so easy, to merely give in to these changes. To explain them away as part of growing older (i.e., growing old!) on the order of “What can you do about it?” The inevitability of aging. All persuasive arguments presented for the most part by those older than I.
Persuasive, not compelling!
Fight these changes. Rebel against the common wisdom and create your own life course. As leaders, we guide others towards the creative mindset of choice. We have choices about everything. We can choose any mindset which appeals to us.
And so, I choose to rebel and regain all I’d lost through the complacency of aging. I will continue to age chronologically, that is the nature of Time. Yet every day, I will choose to tenaciously fight the old age mindset of lowered internal expectations.
What will you choose?
Consider the possibilities!
Adam J. Krim