Aging is a fact of life. It is continually happening for all of us, so long as we are lucky enough to be alive.
With aging come many changes. That they come is predictable. How they manifest for each of us – and how we deal with them – is as unique as we are.
And finding time to recognize and accommodate changes as we age, along with finding time to achieve true contentment as we grow to meet these changes and essential challenges, is a gift that we can always give ourselves.
But it doesn’t come naturally. No matter how much we may understand the concept intellectually, aging is often one of those sneaky surprises in our lives. You know that with each birthday… indeed, with each day … you grow older. However, some of the consequences of growing older can creep up on you, leaving you caught up short, without a plan, or even without the time required to make the necessary adjustments.
For example – does it seem, as you age, that projects ’suddenly’ take much longer to complete? Of course, the slowdown has actually been occurring gradually over some period of time. But your realization of the reality of slowing down can seem to come out of the blue.
The challenge in such a situation is to avoid three types of reactions:
First, avoid denial. It is tempting, when you first realize that it takes you longer to complete a task, to think this is a one-time occurrence and that if you simply focus or work harder, your original efficiency will return. It is important to open yourself to the reality that it probably won’t return. Your baseline has changed, and it will continue to.
Second, avoid becoming entrenched in anger and frustration. This is a natural initial response, but as you grow angrier and more frustrated, you also become slower and less accurate, creating a vicious cycle that makes you less efficient and effective in your day-to-day life.
Third, don’t remain mired in sadness. It is important to grieve the loss of your former level of efficiency. This allows you to open to living your new reality fully. By acknowledging and accepting the changes, you are better able to see your new options.
The difficulty that accompanies denial, chronic resentment, or despondency is that these responses limit your ability to make functional and appropriate choices.
When you take the course of acknowledging your feelings of loss and expressing them appropriately, they don’t eat at you and sap your energy. This balanced approach keeps you grounded and aware. No matter what your age, you can be agile in your responses to what life brings your way.
Openness, groundedness and agility enable you to maintain your clarity and problem-solve effectively. No matter what your age, you always have the option make choices that let you move forward and feel good about what you accomplish!© Copyright 2013 Paula Eder, Ph.D.