Growing older without freaking out!

walking home

I had the opportunity last week to participate in an international summit on “Aging Consciously”.

All I can say is “WOW” I’m so glad and grateful to be whatever age I am or get to be.  Aging is a privilege you know denied to many, and we have a responsibility to address the positive potential of aging.  This requires a certain amount creativity.elder

Admittedly, I had been freaking out about the road ahead as my fellow baby boomers and I inch toward age 70. But no longer folks, I’m almost excited about this period labeled as the “October through December” years.

Of course, It’s only early October in my world but it doesn’t hurt to do some reflection on what we hope to find as we move closer to Christmas.  Incidentally, my new friend, Robbie, and I are forming a walking club to discuss our ideas on aging successfully and anything else on our minds.  If you want to join sign up below.  We plan to walk together at least four days a week around our city and Mississippi State University while plotting how to make peace with all the elements of aging.

This is beside the point, but Robbie died (clinically) seven times about 15 years ago only to be revived.  She is one of the most spirit-filled people I know today.

One thing all the experts agreed upon is the absolute necessity to find a spiritual center.  Let’s face it, as we retire in growing numbers we are transitioning from the materialistic focus of our youth to a more contemplative, and hopefully, a more peaceful existance.

I discovered many thing including that there is a gaping hole between solitude and loneliness.  There’s no place for loneliness in creative aging, and really no excuse when you get right down to it.  We can treasure our solitude and maximize that time alone (the spaces in our lives) to grow our connection to a power greater than ourselves.  Ironically, this not very good Christian girl has gleaned some of my best ideas from a Jewish Rabbi.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi began the whole conscious aging movement twenty years ago.  I’m sorry I didn’t get on board earlier. ‘

Maybe the best part of growing older is accepting ourselves.  We realize we did the best we could in our youth and middle ages, and we made another huge discovery:  We’re becoming more tolerant of our failures and realize that our successes were all group efforts.  Nothing truly worthwhile happened all by ourselves.

Suddenly we realize that peace and joy trump excitement and material acquisitions every time.   As we get in touch with our spiritual selves, our physical selves respond just as positively.  Repeat that 10 times.

I know people who are aging courageously regardless of limitations they be facing due to declining health.  I have a very close friend who continues to be an inspiration regardless of her crippling disabilities.

Aging is still a gentle slope for my peers right now.  The real test will come when the incline becomes more steep and rugged.  My parents are a shining examples of that courage despite seemingly overwhelming health problems.   When I call Daddy and ask how he is doing, we always responds “Delicious!”  Oh gosh, I hope I got his genes.

We can still keep our dreams although they may be revised.  Instead of walking the entire Appalachian Trail, we may just do a couple of miles.  But we WILL do it.

Robbie and I will begin the Wabbly Walkers Club as soon as I recover from foot surgery.  I may be on crutches but we’re going to start slowly and the goal is to walk 2,000 miles, one mile at a time.  Join us if you want some stimulating conversation. We also have a subgroup who call themselves the Whiney Walkers.

Someday we may become the Wandering Walkers and actually bring along our walkers but they’ll be hot pink with streamers hanging from the handlebars.


7 thoughts on “Growing older without freaking out!

  1. Would love to join the Wabbly Walkers or maybe even the Whiney Walkers but I live too far! However, I only live a few miles from the Appalachian Trail and might could join you there. Anyway, enjoy! As I’ve said before, “ain’t too many shopping days til Christmas.”

  2. I want to join your WW walking group, (if it’s not too early or too late, or too hot or too cold! )

  3. There is a WP counterpart and we call ourselves “the Walky-talkies”. We’re not as regular as we used to be, but we walk and talk whenever we can!

  4. Emily,
    Tim and I will join you and the Wabbly Walkers…you may be in Starkville and we in McKinney, TX, but we will be there four days a week…and no whining on this end!! We think of you often and love you dearly.

    Tim and Dianne

  5. Tim, we have a new golf course for you to play in West Point….named Mossy Oaks – done by the folks who gave us Old Waverly, you must try to get up this way next time you are in Mississippi. Dianne, we will get in some trouble while he’s golfing,

  6. I am a Wabbly Walker, if you read my novel, “The Becoming”, you would learn about my affliction. I was born with club feet, with early treatment they were straighter out.
    So now, I walk with a stick but I still get around.
    Good article, Emily.
    Dave aka Writer Dave from England!

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