Aging is a Privilege

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Last time I checked, the only way to live a long life is to be on board with aging.

Are there downsides to getting older? Sure there are. Here are just a few that might be applicable at any given time:

  • the body and/or the mind might not function quite as efficiently as before;
  • our peers move on, whether by relocating because of downsizing or illness or relocating to the beyond (you know, heaven or elsewhere);
  • our loved ones (spouses, partners) experience advanced illness or pass on; and
  • society dismisses us as no longer relevant.

But what about the upsides of aging? Surely positive elements exist that can be celebrated and accentuated the longer we reside on this earth, such as:

  • enjoyment of our adult children and growing-up grandchildren, if such a family dynamic exists;
  • recognition of what’s truly important in life so that worrying about the small things is a practice not worthy of our time;
  • the decision to respectfully let our feelings and beliefs be known, without holding back, and not caring as much about whether someone agrees or disagrees with those feelings; and
  • finally having time to do this, that, and the other, because there is no longer such a thing as a weekend, and every day can be filled with whatever activity pleases us.

Regarding that last point, some may argue that because our bodies don’t function as efficiently as before, it doesn’t matter if we have all the time in the world if we can’t do what matters most to us! 

That’s a valid point if the only thing that matters to a person is maintaining an Olympic-quality fitness level. Look, my husband and I used to do amazingly difficult hikes as recently as three years ago and although I miss the forests wherein those hikes took place, I don’t miss the actual exercise part of those ventures because I still exercise: yoga, aerobics, weights, (using free online videos for all three options) and taking energetic walks in the neighborhood. I’m not competing with anyone but myself when I perform that smorgasbord of exercises. Regardless of what exercise I do and how I do it, I’m still lapping everyone else on the couch.

And come on, being physically active isn’t the only qualification for contributing to the world around us. I’m not talking about the global stage, but what about the little corner of the world wherein we reside? We have time and we have a lifetime of skill and wisdom that our corner of the universe needs. Whether we find those opportunities through a community organization, senior center, local school system or elsewhere, there is more need than these organizations have solutions!

You are relevant and that relevancy needs to be recognized first by you, and then society will get on board.

The only way to live a long life is to live the life you’ve been given. And as the saying goes, this ain’t no dress rehearsal. And remember, it’s never too late to try something new. If that means letting go of something else in order to start something new, then so be it. Get after it!

9 thoughts on “Aging is a Privilege

    Theresa Hupp said:
    October 8, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for this, Irene. We just cancelled a trip due to my husband’s health, and I’m feeling pretty down about it. I needed a reminder to be grateful for what I have. Even though I haven’t traveled out of state for two years, and this was to have been out first attempt.

    Liked by 1 person

      Irene Olson responded:
      October 8, 2021 at 2:53 pm

      Theresa, I am so sorry your planned trip was cancelled. Such a difficult decision to make when all the hype to go was no doubt in full swing. May your husband experience health and both of you enjoy goodness and light in the coming weeks and months.

      Like

    Book Club Mom said:
    October 4, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    I agree with you and Jill, Irene. After losing a sibling this summer, years too soon, I now look at things in a completely different way. If I get to grow old, I will be thankful for the years and I’ll deal with the rest.

    Liked by 1 person

      Irene Olson responded:
      October 4, 2021 at 5:48 pm

      I am SO very sorry about your loss. I cannot imagine such a loss in my life. Be well, stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

    Jill Weatherholt said:
    October 4, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    I completely agree with you, Irene! As someone who had a lot of health issues at a young age, I’ve embraced growing old. I’m thankful that now I can get out of bed and walk across the room. We never know when our life as we know it can change, no matter our age. I’ve always said, death doesn’t check I.D. Live each day and be thankful!

    Liked by 2 people

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