Thoroughly unprepared we take the step into the afternoon of life; worse still, we take this step with the false assumption that our truths and ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the programme of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie. — Carl Jung, Stages of Life
Ron is 91 years old and Ken is 83. They are the oldest people I know. Both men have fought in wars and have injuries to prove it.
Yet both Ron and Ken defy the stereotype of age. They both walk up and down stairs with the assistance of their walking sticks. Both have a full head of grey hair and a twinkle in their eye. Sharp as a tack. Nothing about them is old and frail.
Once when I asked Ron the secret to being happy, healthy and vibrant at his age and why he wasn’t carrying the trauma of his war experience with him he said …
You’ve got to live your life; you can’t go around hating people. You’ve got to show compassion and love to everyone.
As I get older, sometimes I worry that my productive, vital years are behind me. Perhaps I only have ten more years before my body and my mind breaks down. But when I see Ron and Ken kicking off in old age, it inspires me.
Getting old is only a jail with contracting walls if you choose resignation — reacting to circumstances instead of acting with vision. When we reach the era of “no longer young” it is time to begin creating our future selves. It’s not a time to look back on what we were before and try to hang on to it, but a time to decide who we’d like to be from now on.
Midlife is not a time to mourn the loss of our youth, but a time to get started living at our peak. A time when experience and loss has taught us we deserve everything we’ve ever dreamed of, and it doesn’t matter what other people think.
Do you want the next ten, twenty, thirty years to be the same old thing day after day? Or do you want to start on your next big adventure?
There is stirring that begins when we get to our forties — usually frowned upon as some kind of mid-life crisis that threatens to embarrass us if we follow its lead. But it’s the energy of rebirth swirling in our souls. A creative force that invites us to begin again with all the tools we have gathered over the years.
Are you spending your energy trying to camouflage the wrinkles on your face and the thickening of your waist, or are you hurtling with excitement towards the next big adventure?
It’s your turn now. It’s not the beginning of the end, but the beginning of what’s next. It’s time to accept the limits of your body and embrace the limitless of your emotional, intellectual and spiritual potential.
Bring it on!
→ Inspired by Marianne Williamson, The Age of Miracles