Samantha was a relatively healthy woman with a full life. She did clerical work for an insurance company and got along well with her coworkers. She had a husband, grown children and grandchildren, and many friends. Samantha had hobbies and interests like baking, ceramics, and Tai Chi.
It was a fortunate, beautiful way to live. Yet, Samantha had trouble enjoying it. She worried constantly. She felt herself getting slower and her bones aching, and with each birthday, the fear increased.
Samantha was afraid of looking old. She examined her face for new wrinkles and slapped her flabby arms about in disgust. She had lost her parents and other relatives to heart attacks and cancer and various other disorders, and with each loss she feared her time was coming near.
When she visited her aunt in the nursing home, Samatha wondered when it would be her turn. She didn’t know if there was anything to look forward to.
Does any of this sound familiar? Are you wasting valuable time living in fear of getting old? Are you unable to enjoy so many of your blessings because of your preoccupation with your aging body?
Here are 4 easy steps to overcome your fear of getting old.
Gratitude will give you much peace. It is difficult to live in fear when your mind is occupied with great thankfulness. Literally count your blessings every day; from your loved ones to the beauty of the leaf that fell at your feet. Live in wonder of all life has given you and has yet to give.
The reverse bucket list is a wonderful trend adopted by aging women. Instead of the traditional bucket list of what you want to do before you die, you write a list of all of the things you have already done. Write the things you have enjoyed, accomplishments you are proud of and places you have been.
These do not need to be newsworthy things. If you taught a child to tie their shoes and it felt wonderful, include that. If you saw the most beautiful of sunsets one evening, put that on the list. Did you make it through a terrible experience and come out of it stronger? That is definitely a huge accomplishment to be proud of. The reverse bucket list is a delightful exercise in gratitude.
In Disney’s movie Coco, as per Mexican beliefs, there is a “final death” that occurs after the body dies. The “final death” is the moment the last memory of you fades.
As we age, we worry about the money and things we will leave to others after we depart this world. There is something much more important that we leave behind. Our true legacy lies in the memories we give people.
Treasure your healthy relationships. How do you want to be remembered? Make deposits in the memory bank for your loved ones to draw upon for a lifetime. There is great comfort in aging knowing that you will live on in fond memories much longer than your physical body will survive.
Think of things and experiences you want to give people after you are gone. Create personalized art, writings, scrapbooks, and other things for your loved ones to enjoy for years to come.
Plant a tree. They will think of you every time they look at it. Build a personalized bench or a jewelry box to make someone feel special and loved. Plan fun get-togethers and put aside time to do things with the people you care about.
What do you believe in? What do you stand for? Be honest with yourself so that you leave behind the true you. Build a legacy you are proud of. Volunteer, join a cause that inspires you and rings true in your heart. As you shape what you will leave behind in this world, it will feel much more fulfilling to live and a lot less scary when it is time to depart.
“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” —Mark Twain
Often, we spend so much time planning and worrying about the future that we don’t find the time to enjoy the now. If you knew today was your last day on earth, would you waste a second of time thinking about what other people thought of you?
Of course not. You would be consumed with enjoying the time you had the way you wanted to enjoy it.
You never know. Today could be your last day. Do not obsess about your health and what the future may hold. Avoid toxic people that put you in an awful state of mind.
Make sure to spend your days with people you love and doing things that you enjoy. See people and do things that seem to take you out of place and time. Do things that make you feel wonderful because life can be short.
Now hold up. Isn’t that the exact opposite of what I just said? How can you live every day like it is your last and live every day like you will live forever?
In a Schrodinger’s cat kind of way, it can be done. Because although this may be your last day on earth, it is still very possible you may live quite a bit longer. We are in the habit of saying life is short, but is it really? It is actually very long for a lot of people. It is all relative.
Let’s say you live past today and statistically speaking, taking your health and age into account, you have about 10 more years to live. So, you live your life appropriately for those 10 years, and as you near the 10-year mark, you think, “What is the point of eating healthy or saving money?”
So, you enjoy yourself. I mean really enjoy yourself and spend all of your money and eat whatever you want. But then, you just keep on living and living and living – 20 or even 30 more years – the way it seems the world’s life expectancy keeps getting longer and longer.
Now, wouldn’t it have been nice to have some money to take trips? And wouldn’t it have been nice to not have ruined your health to where you are spending most of your days in hospitals? If you knew you were going to live this much longer, you might have even learned a new trade or started that business you thought you were too old to venture into.
Now is the time to be honest with yourself. What do you really enjoy? What is truly important to you? Not what is important to other people or what is simply popular – find what you want to do with your time on earth and dare to plan and plan away.
Maybe it may feel silly at first. People may discourage you and ask if you really are too old to start whatever undertaking you are embarking on. You are not too old to plan and dream. Yes, you may not live to see your plans through, but that is true for even the young and healthy.
Hope and something to look forward to bring such peace and happiness. Do not deny yourself this as you age.
So, brush your teeth, exercise, eat healthy, take up those old hobbies you put aside or better yet start new hobbies or interests. Plan vacations and expeditions to see the people you love as if you had a million tomorrows.
So much contradictory advice but not really. It is all about balance and tranquility. Work hard and play hard do not contradict one another. They simply speak of budgeting time and perspective.
Fear is a feeling, an intense feeling. It can be replaced with other more satisfying feelings such as gratitude, hope, and ultimately – happiness. So, give thanks, build your legacy, enjoy the now and look forward to the future, and there will be little or no room for fear.
Is your fear of getting old serving you any purpose? Are you living your life true to yourself? Are you true to your desires and how you want to be remembered? Would it be beneficial to you to change your mindset and behavior to experience more balance in your life? Please share your thoughts.