Does this terrify you?
No, it’s not the fear of speaking in public. Or the fear of spiders or snakes or heights or enclosed spaces.
It’s one of the most common fears.
The fear of aging.
I bumped into a client I hadn’t seen for a while the other day. He said that he and some friends had been talking about getting older and the changes they were experiencing in their bodies and how it’s affecting their lives. He said that he wished that someone would talk about the “whole aging thing”.
So I decided to start the discussion here.
What is it that we really fear when we’re afraid of getting older? Besides the concerns that we might have about wrinkles, less energy, forgetfulness, gaining weight, losing hair, etc., it’s the fear of loss of control.
We associate the passage of time with increasing helplessness. Youth is seen as a time of power and aliveness while being older (whatever that means for you) is seen as a time of powerlessness and passivity.
We have such a negative, narrow view of what it means to get older in this culture. Even the expression “Older but wiser” means “Oh well, at least there’s something positive about getting older”.
So many people see aging as loss: loss of energy, loss of attractiveness, loss of intelligence, loss of speed, loss of memory, loss of power, loss of possibility, loss of opportunity.
Often, without realizing it, we watch and are affected by how the important people in our lives handle things.
Do you look around and see the people that you know becoming more and more sedentary as they get older? Struggling to get around? Negative? Unhappy? Living with regret?
Who inspires you as you get older? Who are your role models for aging? Do you have know anyone who is aging with grace, joy, fun and the sheer delight of being alive?
Sir Winston Churchill was 77 years old when he took his second term of office as British Prime Minister. The renowned artist, Grandma Moses, didn’t start to paint until she was 78 years old.
Here are two short videos about a 96-year-old yoga teacher, Tao Porchon-Lynch, who teaches six yoga classes a week and also does ballroom dancing. Actually the second video is her performance with her 26-year-old ballroom dancing teacher on America’s Got Talent 2015. She took up ballroom dancing at 86 years of age.
Beyond inspiring. And filled with wisdom. They’re short and worth every minute. Look at what she can do with her body at 96. (She’s 97 years young now.) Oh, and by the way, she has had three hip replacements. But as she says, “I don’t let anything get the better of me.” And watch her skip offstage after their performance.
So what’s holding you back from living the life of your dreams?
With warmest regards,