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Aging: The Process of Getting Older

Aging: The Process of Getting Older

Greetings one and all…

I hope you are enjoying a lovely morning. I am knee-deep in my pre-dawn routine—sipping coffee, checking the headlines on the internet, listening to cable news, and tending to my herd of furry family members. A wonderful way to start the day! The morning also affords the opportunity to review my “to do” list and prioritize projects.

Over the past month, I have enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) the process of researching new resources for programs I plan to create and to present this year. Aging, the process of getting older, is the focus of my endeavors. Granted, most people are averse to addressing the issue of aging since we live in an age-denying society. Although counter cultural, programs and conversations about aging are needed to highlight the challenges as well as the opportunities of aging. Facts about aging, rather than fallacies, will ultimately serve us better.

Aging is more than skin deep

Aging entails various facets of our existence: physical, cognitive, spiritual, psychological, psychosocial, and financial. As I try to digest the details presented by a myriad of aging experts, I’m also aware that aging is an integrated, complex process. If one piece of “my puzzle” shifts, there is a ripple effect throughout the entirety of my being. A significant physical change can potentially transform my self perception, my fundamental beliefs, my relationships, and my financial solvency. Therefore, the process of aging is deserving of more than a superficial glance focused on the obvious (and disconcerting) alterations of the facade. Just like beauty, aging is more than skin deep!

Having read and reviewed numerous books, countless articles, and a slew of websites related to aging, I am feeling the effects of whiplash. Each expert presents his/her unique image of aging. The pictures of aging range from pretty to petrifying! As in most discussions, the extreme positions—positive and negative—fail to serve us well. Instead, we are better-served by acquiring a baseline of knowledge about the aging process, the pros as well as the cons. Then, we are wise to acknowledge the aspects of aging that are beyond our control. Once done, recognize what is within our control—our response/reaction to aging. How do we choose to experience and to understand the aging process? Consider your answer carefully. How you choose to age will ultimately determine whether you merely endure life or enthusiastically embrace it.

The bottomline regarding aging is this—if I am getting older, I am ALIVE! So, aging is inextricably linked to living. As such, I have the ability and the freedom to focus on any aspect of aging that I wish. I can choose despair over the incremental losses associated with aging. I can opt to rejoice in the blessings only experienced as a consequence of age. Or, I can work to acquire a comprehensive view and understanding of aging that offers a balanced perspective of aging.

Aging is a blessing and a burden

Aging is not either/or—either desirable or not. Instead, aging is both/and. Aging is both a blessing and a burden. Our challenge over the course of a lifetime is learning how to balance the blessings with the burdens. Consequently, being a student of life (of aging) is a lifelong vocation. Aging is not something to be mastered or conquered. Instead, there is always something to be learned. So, pay attention! Listen well. Be curious. Be present. Take one step at a time as the journey unfolds. By so doing, our chronological age is of lesser importance. Of greater importance is how we choose to experience the moment—regardless of our age. A good thing indeed.      

I look forward to the ongoing conversation. If you have specific questions or concerns related to your caregiving experience, I would love to hear from you. Until the next posting, I wish you and yours countless blessings…jane  

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