Sharing this post from January 2016 with a few updates. It is still relevant, maybe even more so where our voices of diversity have been threatened. Not only do we need to boldly challenge what is being said in regards to how we age, we also need to challenge & evaluate our actions in our relationships and choose to love and be attentive to others' needs, thereby giving them a priority similar to what we give ourselves.
What age is the perfect age? How do you go about aging? …and who the heck defines that anyways? Like everyone else, I think a lot. My latest thinking is about the off-the-cuff remarks and quotes about aging I hear people say about themselves and the world around them. Many comments diverting their own importance, power, and relevance to the up and coming “younger” generation. Holy cats…yikes!!!
In thinking about aging, I panic. Don’t you love it when your brain does this frrrrr-eak out thing and a whole imaginary movie speeds through your head? Your body feels strange and your body chemistry reacts to something that's not even real. I freeze up and stand still with big wide open eyes. I'm sure I look real funny to anyone who notices me. My head movie speeds through my whole life from now until my funeral. Should I be realistic about aging? Is there a correct universal view of what aging should look and feel like? Should I follow that?!? What is it that I am supposed to get done here? Am I sharing my talents and loving people enough? I take a deep, deep breath. Whew… I’m not 99 or approaching death yet, so nobody can throw me into a social trash heap of unimportance.
Back in the day, I went to work with my dad when he was a custodian at a nursing home. I proudly hung up my dark green crocheted poncho in the nurses’ station and helped him clean. When he did things I couldn’t help him with, I went to the craft room and helped people with puzzles, painted pictures, and chatted with them.
With the wide open curiosity of a seven-year-old, I always explored the whole place. I pushed wheelchairs to help people get new scenery. I ate with them. I visited folks that were bed ridden. I helped them smile. I vividly remember smells of medicine, lysol, bad cafeteria food, illness, and sometimes death. There were sounds of beeping, low conversations, and a strange silence that made me feel queasy. I noticed alert people making their way. Others shuffled by in wheelchairs slobbering with a faint aroma of urine and old food. I thought how do people get here? What happened in their life? Why? Would this happen to me too? How can I help them? How can I cheer them up? ...Is this where I will end up? I often felt a head to toe shaking of sadness and panic as I saw no life spark in some people eyes. They looked dead even though their eyes were open and they were breathing. I asked my dad and other workers questions which they either couldn't answer or they gave me answers that felt like a pat on the head and a line of bullsh*t.
My mind still races with questions, worry, and terror. I blink rapidly hoping they’ll just go away. I try to chill out. If we are all lucky, we’ll live a long, full, healthy life...is it luck though? And how much of that is MY choice and mind set? I don’t know about you, I LOVE seeing people ahead of me being the most badass, progressive, fit, tenacious person they can be! It gives me courage, faith, and motivation. I admire the heck outa people that are hanging onto their maturing, artistic, thriving spirit in the middle of the noise of the world.
As you read this, is YOUR mind arguing for your limits and what others say about how you should age and what you should experience? Connect with your soul…what does it say?
I LOVED something I saw recently referring to aging as growing bolder. The addition of one letter makes this totally rad!! Growing BOLDER…rather than older. A-mazing! My inner champion (that part of me that doesn’t let me lie down & quit) is always rephrasing sh*t that I don’t like. My inner champion's voice says, "keep your relevance and importance! Do not give it away to someone who is younger OR older, has smoother skin, more money, education, power, status, and nope, don’t even give it away to someone with a better set of buns than you." ;) Do this by remembering you have equal value to others around you and SPEAK UP up for your value.
Be a heart & soul led human, regardless of what generation you were born in. Do not leave YOUR future in the hands of anyone. You, yes YOU, have a special gift, talent, way you see the world to add joy, invention, imagination to everyone in your world. Your life experience through the rough knocks of life, adventures, and celebrations make up your inside value. It breaks my heart when I hear people giving this value and power away in the words they speak about themselves.
I feel it's one of my soul’s mission to challenge pre-established, outdated ways of thinking and introduce the idea of possibility thinking and, of course, DOING. Nothing in life progresses without that part! Be willing to learn things that level up your kickass self! Be a person who will not release their relevance and importance to other people. In response to recent quotes and comments from “well meaning” folks… NO! I will not hand over the baton of my life energy, relevance or importance to anyone until I decide I am done on this planet.
Leading by example, young people need to know they can grow bolder, remain malleable, stay alert & healthy, and remain adventurous. Combining the vigor of youth and the wisdom of age/experience, we can work together creating value, opportunities, understanding, and awareness. To people that are older than me, picture me slapping the ground like coach Mickey from one of my favorite movies "Rocky" telling you to get up, get inspired, and get the heck back on that life horse! You are not done here! Grab hold of the self-value you have been built through sweat, tears, and love. Start expressing it and sharing it. Become a beacon of inspirational energy, mentor or activist.
Because I have been afraid of aging too (what others might say, what I will do, how I will be, unexpected life junk that shows up) I sat myself down yet again and listened to my own preachin’. Plain and simple, it is a choice to fear aging… and it is a choice to make the most of the precious life we get to live here. What a gift we can choose to be in this life by reducing the focus on age and focusing on the energy & light we bring! Cheers to kicking off 2017 in your life story <3 Please share with peeps you think could use a boost...or a kick in da pants to get going in life today.
P.S. Below are a couple people that have inspired my soul and mind :) Click on the quote box below to read more about Tao and to watch David Bowie's last music video before he passed away.
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Blog by Mary Riitano...
I'm a Montana actress on a journey sharing my heart and growth through blogging, stories, and poetry, I have faith you'll find empowerment and inspiration to create like a champion in your own life!
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