“It’s a long life.” There are two basic ways of looking at that statement. One, life seems likes it’s getting longer and longer. Technology, nutrition and medical science continue to advance, pushing the average life span further out. It seems like a tough road to make it all the way. Or two, we have plenty of time to embark on as many journeys as it takes to live the life of our dreams. We have many chances to start over, new opportunities to reset our goals and more possibilities to change our legacy.
You may believe that you had a lousy childhood. As you become a parent you have the chance to be the parent you thought you should have had. Maybe you feel bad about the way you raised your kids. Now that your children are grown, you can make up for lost time by offering loving support in their choices as adults and when they become parents. Grandparenting is another chance to love unconditionally. Another opportunity to start over is after the kids are grown and out of the house. You can reconnect with your spouse with a new sense of appreciation. If you feel that life is passing you by, then it probably is! You can fret about lost opportunities, chastising yourself for living a life of little consequence. You could live each day going through the motions in a joyless fashion, thinking up excuses for why your life has turned out the way it has, or you can listen to the wake-up call! Jump on board “the passing life” and start living it! Make choices that move you into the direction of a more fulfilling life. You don’t need to wait for a milestone event such as a birth, a marriage, or even a death, to get you thinking about your legacy. Start thinking about it now! Someone once said, “The definition of old age is when regrets take the place of dreams!”
Let’s say you’ve reached a ripe old age, now what? Challenges may arise as you lose the ability to do the things you used to do when you were young. It takes a lot of humility to age gracefully. Don’t fall into the trap of getting discouraged and disheartened by the aging process. The true opportunity of “the golden years” is that it can be a time of enlightenment, appreciation and graceful being.
As you reach this stage in life, develop some new strategies for maintaining a positive outlook. The same principles of happiness exist in old age more vigorous days. Live by the “golden rule” and don’t take yourself so seriously. True growth comes in seeking out opportunities to brighten up the lives of others even as your own light fades. Rise above the challenges of aging by deflecting your conversations away from complaints. Wisdom lies more in listening to and supporting those around you than any words you might say.
Shine the light on others as you age and you will see the joy of living a long life.