A – AGEING

ageingA – also for Arlee, who got us going with the A-Z – thank you Arlee!

Somehow ‘ageing’ (British English) is more direct – the word ‘age’ is undeniably there.

 Childhood, young adulthood, childbearing days are well and truly behind me. My adult sons now occupy that life stage I have left behind.

So, what lies ahead?

Am I prepared for this next stage into elder-hood as I feel the sands shifting beneath my feet? Do I need to be aware, or prepared in any way as I consider my position as a woman who is no longer young in a world that celebrates youth, beauty and glamour? Does what ‘the world’ admires mean anything to me? In what way am I subtly influenced by these outside factors?

I see the wrinkles around my eyes, my knees look different, my upper arms are not as firm as they used to be. I disguise my greying roots with hair colour as I know that a darker colour suits my skin tone. These are somewhat superficial concerns yet they are a reminder of time passing and my getting older. These are mostly physical and observable concerns, what I see in the mirror – when I look.

I know that exercise and healthy eating habits are especially important at this particular stage of my life. I know that loss of physical balance is inevitable as one ages and I experience this in my yoga classes. I do not maintain ‘the tree’ on one leg with ease. I admire those who hold these poses and I hope to get there. I am inspired by my mother who was a yoga teacher well into her old age. I am more aware of my breath and the value of breathing correctly. I know that brisk walking is beneficial for bones and balance.

But if I look deeper into the looking glass and try to see beyond the physical, I ask different and more probing questions about this issue of ageing – questions directed to my psyche.

Psyche means soul .. and it is this aspect of me that I wish to continue to explore. Which means for me going down, not up, down into the depths, fishing, seeking for soul, to find that which animates me. To connect to and be conscious of soul which resides in me and yearns for expression. To still be in awe of a sunrise or sunset, the beauty of a flower or stone, the smile of a child, the wisdom of an old person, the gift of friendship. To feel the pull of soul and to nourish it.

Of course, this is not the prerogative of ageing. But for me, as I age, I find that I am more aware of the value of my life and that of others. I am more grateful for all the many blessings that abound in abundance.

I see ageing as an alchemical process of body, mind and soul.

I see this mysterious alchemy as a way of becoming more of who I am. It is an inevitable process and I trust that my attitude towards this is one of humour and curiosity; and an openness that this transition has its own sweet pull and adventure into the unknown. I know that the attitude that I turn to the mirror will be the one reflected back at me.

Rumi: Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love.

33 Comments on A is for Ageing

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  2. This is a beautiful post. It is inspirational as I am at the age where “chasing youth” is the norm. In other words, the grey is coming in and I am torn between letting it be or embracing it and letting go. Thank you!

    • Hi Carina and thanks for your comment! deciding about ‘what to do with my hair’ is an ongoing conflict for me. Good luck whatever you do! It is not an overnight decision!

  3. Thanks for commenting Stephanie. Yes ageing is tough – and I feel for those who are unwell or physically unfit or have other ailments – and especially of they have no caring people around.

  4. Beautiful thoughts. Aging is tough, I don’t think anyone likes it, but it’s worth it to see the merits in celebrating longevity.

    • Thank you Shannon – sadly this is true that too many do not live long enough to value all that life has to offer, and that they left too soon for others to share in what they had to offer. A poignant reminder indeed when someone dies too young. Those stark reminders are painful – your sorrow is palpable.

  5. Wow Susan! You’re a fantastic writer, I really enjoyed this post because it’s something that’s starting to hit home and something that’s been on my mind recently. I will say Yoga seems to be a great way slow the ageing process.

    Thanks,
    Dan Miller

    • Hello Dan and thank you for your comment. Great that yoga is helpful to you! Yes, ageing does not have to gallop along – though sometimes it seems that it does! But yoga is of course a meditation in itself which can only be beneficial.
      I am about to go again to your blog which I looked at this morning – it looks wonderful! I loved your photographs and got goosebumps when I saw the praying mantis … will comment just now.
      Thank you again.

  6. Aging as you note is other than we may be led to believe. Why should we look like we did? Why do we not realize we may look, from the inside as well, better than we were? Beauty is skin deep but why does that skin have to be that of a twenty year old? Aging is soul work, for sure and what a privilege if we get to do it.
    Thank you, as always, for provoking the thoughtful reflection that indicates the soul at work.

    • Thank you Susan for your comment. It IS a privilege to be in a position to do soul work hard though it may be. It helps enormously to coming to one’s own authority and not that of the world.

  7. What a graceful way of putting the advertising trash to rest. There are so many negatives in the world, but this post is not one of them. Thank you sharing!

  8. Oh Susan, you wrote an inspiring post as I can so relate. I am the youngest of my group of friends and my hair color has gone white, where none of my other friends’ hair color has changed. In my case, the change in the color of my hair is due to family genes, but you know what… I LOVE the new color!! I am celebrating the NEW ME! So many people can not accept the aging process, but I realize we all try to avoid aging in our own way.

    When my doctor tells me to remember that I’m not 21 any more, I tell her “Denial Works!” Also, I keep a card on my bookcase that I read frequently. The card reads:
    “You don’t stop laughing because you get old…
    You get old because you stop laughing!”

    Finally, in probably the last third of my life, I want to ACCEPT ME FOR WHO I AM THE WAY I AM!! I still work to keep myself active and healthy. It is important for all of us to be responsible for our health no matter what the age.

    So thank you for your inspiring message.

  9. First, I love the image you’ve chosen, Susan, to head this post on aging.

    I talked to my aunt yesterday on the phone. She is 99 and in a nursing facility, yet still with her mental capacities intact, except for a few glitches here and there, like where she is going to live when she gets out. Later in the day, my brother, 68, and I, 71, discussed how we should be so fortunate to have such good care and mental capacities should be even live that long. To have lived a century is indeed to a venerable age.

    I dig deep into my psyche and my mind to root out the old stuff, old emotions, experiences, the habitual thinking thereof that blocks my progress towards enlightenment, as I also look “up”.

    I look at my body and dislike that I see some new blotch or wrinkle or sign of aging that wasn’t there last week. Yet, I find that my heart and mind, my inner spirit are stronger and wiser. And I feel good about that; I gain confidence. As our dear friend Beatrice says, the older we grow, the more we realize that after all, it’s the little things that are important — good music, a garden, and especially good friends.

    Thank you for expressing your profound thoughts, as always, Susan. You consistently make me think, and give me the courage to dig deep into that dark soil and pull out the weeds.

    –Samantha

    • Hello Samantha, thank you very much for your lovely comment. I also get reminded of soul stuff when I see that darned wrinkle I didn’t see last week – and experience dislike for it. But it reminds me to get over myself already, hard that though may be! – and look deeper beyond the ‘looking glass’.
      Your aunt is fortunate indeed! Too often the elderly are not fortunate, due to ill health and incapacity of much else. This we must remember and honour. It is one thing for me to write from a position of good health, another to remember that others are sadly not in a similar position.

  10. Hi my dear friend,
    I look forward to going this route with you. Exploring the soul is an exploration into the unknown that brings us into the center of our purpose.
    Thank you for an inspiring article.

    Ciao,
    Patricia

    • Hi dear Patricia and thank you for your comment,
      I too am looking forward to our soul-ful writings! I have just posted on yours on ‘Awareness’ but I think it is still awaiting approval, I loved your post thank you!
      Shalom,
      Susan

  11. I think that is the key. Not everyone is privileged enough to get to old age.
    I look at my dad (now 84) and he has a pretty good attitude towards aging , life and everything. That’s who I want to be. Sitting in my kitchen, watching old movies on TV while eating cookies. That’s my dad. Course I’ll be writing too.

    Looking forward to seeing what you do all month.

    Tim Brannan
    The Other Side and The Witch
    Red Sonja: She-Devil with a Sword
    The Freedom of Nonbelief

    • Thank you Timothy! How excellent to have a good role model in your father. may he continue to be content with the simple and important things in life …you too as you advance!

  12. I was reading in a magazine about how much time and money is put into keeping young and was appalled at the findings. It is as if the ageing process can be stopped or severely retarded and that just isn’t true! If you would like to treat yourself to a facial because you enjoy facials then by all means do but to waste time and money on the inevitable is just crazy to me. Soul searching and the process of growing and learning is where I am at too. In some cultures, albeit not my own, age is respected and revered – I am in those countries in my mind and don’t mind being invisible in my own. Carry on Susan! All the power to you. xx

    • Lesley, thank you so much for your comment. There seems to be sort of desperation to hold back the ageing process, without the acknowledgement of the gift that ageing may bring.

      I reckon those of us who choose soul over e.g. the emphasis on physical attributes are fortunate indeed. And as you say, have the facials etc for your own satisfaction – but when advertising makes you believe that this cream, this procedure, this treatment WILL make you feel better about yourself, then something is madly off centre!

      Thank you again!

  13. Yowie Susan. This is awesome. It sure makes you look at ageing differently. It’s definitely not a curse but an honoured tradition that too many do not get to experience.

    Val

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