I admit it. I am an aging Baby Boomer. I accept than I am aging and that I am not in my 20’s, nor 30’s, even my 40’s or 50’s. I am past 60 and more than beginning to show my age. Physically, I mean. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually I am still a puppy BUT… If you are a Baby Boomer, you know where I am going with this.
My hair is not the same color as it was in my 20’s. Nor is there as much hair as there was in those photos of me with shoulder length locks and the full dark beard that I recently posted on Facebook. Believe it or not, I weigh more than I did when I was in my early 20s. In my early 50s, I took to wearing reading glasses and now my bifocals are my constant companion. Even my hearing has been impacted by the time, activities, and the years since my youth. My doctor reminds me that I need certain regular unspeakable tests as a more than I would want, course of my annual physicals. Though I manage my stress and anxiety fairly well through regular relaxation, meditation, and exercise, I find the anxiety of aging creeping closer to the surface. The situation is not unique just to me.
I don’t have the youthful energy that I once had nor the ability to focus and concentrate. It seems to take me longer to learn certain tasks and yet I do not want to give up on learning new things. I am not sure whether I am just frustrated by the aging process or whether there is some deeper levels of anxiety and fears that I or someone like me, may need to address. For most of my life, I have a pattern of being oppositional and not truly fitting in with the age that has been prescribed for me. I still feel youthful, excited, and passionate about life and yet I don’t seem to have quite as much energy. So as I struggle with the current reality I know that I am not alone and that there are many people who are dealing with the same situation and would like to find a forum for us all to work together and to support each other as we deal with the consequences of aging.
I do not claim to have a magic diet or exercise program that can eliminate the impact of aging. I would like to be able to offer a process where each of us can minimize the impact of the anxiety of aging. There are people who struggle a great deal more than me with the discovery of wrinkles, lack of skin tone, the widening of the waistline, the reduction of hair, or even the loss of key body parts like teeth. I have been blessed with a relatively healthy body and yet I still feel the effects of the aging process as I celebrate my mid-60s. This may not be true for everyone, but I do not wish to go back and be a teenager or someone in my 20s again. I simply wish that my body did not behave as if it were a large sack of stones that I must drag around at certain times.
For me a passive life of sitting still does not resonate. I like to be active and energized by new and exciting things. I like to tell my stories of times past when I hiked over mountain passes far above timberline and yet most days I do not feel I have the energy to trudge up those trails the way I did in my 20s and 30s and 40s. Truth be known, I can still do many of the things that I tell stories about but in this day and age I would do them more slowly and probably less gracefully. Again, I do not find my situation unique to me and I would like to be a voice for many of us baby boomers who can still not believe that the insidious aging process offers us “better days”.
Perhaps what is needed is a new perspective and a new way of looking at my now worn life. People tell me that I should focus on the positive like what I can do and what my body is able to perform. And yet there are times when any limitation makes me boil. I also admit that I am far from being a patient person. I’ve said for years that there will be a time later in life when I engage in accepting the process of being patient. I have not found that time in life as of yet. I’m not jealous of people who have their youth or of people who are in better shape than I, I am only envious of my memories of what I once took for granted and now find difficult if not impossible to do.
My ranting in this blog is designed to be a point of discussion. I would like to build a process where there can be physical control of fear and anxiety and the wherewithal to find greater emotional acceptance to live with the challenges that we all must face. From using the techniques that I have taught for 40 years in stress management and from sports psychology, I know that there are ways that we can minimize the impact of the aging process at least on our mind and our spirit. If you have an interest in developing your own skills for dealing with the aging process please contribute to this blog with comments and continue to follow your passion and be a role model for all of us.
Thank you for your time and consideration. Blessings to you and all of us baby boomers.