Aging Gracefully

embrace with graceI had the realization this week that I can either choose to age gracefully or to fight it, kicking and screaming in disbelief at the onslaught of mental and physical betrayals that seem to come with age. I guess it’s now clear which one I’ve chosen thus far.

Here’s the deal. I’m exhausted a great deal of the time. I manage to fake my way through it, but it’s always my companion. I’ve worked with doctors, given more than my share of blood to figure it out and the explanation doesn’t lead to a fix. It’s a side effect of a bunch of minor conditions, none of which are life threatening, but together, they pack a mean punch to my energy level. I got to a point this week where I was mad about it.

Ok I was a little more than mad if I’m honest, maybe pissed. And I don’t get pissed easily. But getting there lead me to get in my head about it.

The more I thought about it, I realized that to some degree, the fact that I’m 50 not 30 plays a part in how I feel. Part of my desire to feel “normal,” whatever that is, comes from fighting against the natural process of aging. Though, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that I’m ready to pack it in and get a rocking chair on the porch by any stretch.

But by fighting it, by remaining frustrated (code word for angry), I hold a lot of negative energy inside of me. That leads to an increase in Cortisol, which, when I’m running from a lion is helpful, but having an increased level on a day to day basis leads to many of the conditions which result in the exhaustion I feel.

Fighting the exhaustion is a fight against myself. So is fighting the changes that come with aging. That’s not healthy, period.

It’s a choice. So much of our physical and mental state of being comes from what we tell ourselves it is. I can tell myself that being exhausted is the enemy and fight it, or I can accept it, gracefully. Accept that not having the energy I once did is not a bad thing, it’s just different.

I’ve never been this age before, so I don’t know what it’s supposed to feel like. What I’d like it to feel like is a continuation of strong, healthy, go conquer a mountain toughness. But that’s not where I am. Instead of fighting to get back there, I’m going to make a choice to slow down and look at what life presents me in this stage of life.

Relationships, that’s the first thing that comes to mind. Time to deepen relationships. Reflection and writing, creating, developing those parts of me that had no chance of coming out when I was busy ‘doing’ all the time.  It’s a different phase, not one to settle for but one to embrace. Thinking about my authentic journey, it’s a stage to look at with wonder. Enjoying the different experiences that come with slowing down a bit and looking at life and what living fully looks like at this point. That feels brave.

What are you fighting that is a fight against yourself today? I encourage you to consider what it would look like to embrace it instead of struggle. It could be that making a graceful shift will lead to discoveries you never would have imagined. It’s being authentic with where we are, in this moment. Will you be brave with me?

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