Fear Less to Age Well

When I was young it was hard to imagine that I would ever grow old. Despite the evidence of aging in my elders, a small part of me secretly wondered if somehow I might magically be spared, not death, but wrinkled skin, gray hair and sagging parts. I’ve always considered myself to be a realist, so that I had even entertained that fantasy for a moment makes me laugh. Of course, as I entered my fifties, I too was confronted with the inevitability of aging. More frequent consultations with the mirror consistently confirmed the harsh, yet essential truth and I soon realized that  A. this aging thing had been happening for some time and B. there is no escape from the loss of youth- for any of us.

The brevity of the human lifecycle is a mystery and, at times, the unknown future can seem frightening. Personally, I feel like I need a lot more time to get it together!  Yet I recognize that it’s that type of faulty “I haven’t figured it out or done enough ” thinking  that feeds the fear that takes me away from being present to life, from living with the mystery, and from the supportive energy of self appreciation.

Each one of us must come to terms with our temporal nature. I have learned that when  I become mired in regrets or fears that I’m on the wrong track and that a course correction is in order. I eventually turn toward the support my yoga practice provides. The conscious grounding of myself along with my pragmatic nature remind me that embracing, as opposed to fearing or fighting, the aging process is the wisest choice.

Sometimes asking reflective questions helps me to center and gain perspective.

I wonder:

  • How does one grow older gracefully?
  • How can aging actually make life richer, fuller, better?
  • What does embracing the entire process—as the spiritual path suggests—look like?

My reflections steer me toward the conclusion that aging well requires the same life balancing actions as metabolic improvement does plus the support of a holistic life philosophy that considers and honors the body, mind, and spirit.

Five aging well tips

1. Let go of fear and accept aging as an essential part of your life. Yoga wisdom teaches us not to identify with the temporary- the body. Celebrate your physicality and know that you are so much more.

2. Practice balance: Start by observing your healthy and not so healthy habits with compassion and acceptance. Make the intention to move toward the middle of  extremes over and over.

3. Take care of your skin from the inside out 

a.  Cleanse or detox once a year

b.  Sweat often

c.  Nourish your skin with essential fats & healthy proteins

d.  Restore with enough rest

4. Let go of whatever you are trying to control. I saw a representation of this the other day on an office wall. Two circles slightly overlapping. One represents what you can control. The other what really matters to you. Focus your energy on the small intersection of the two. Anything else is madness.

5. Live YOUR life fully: Celebrate your uniqueness and your humanity

Let go of the expectation that practicing the five above aging well strategies should be easy. Meet your challenges with curiosity not criticism. As the Budda says if you are wondering where you should be look down at your feet. Happy Aging.


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