Aging Gratefully

Submitted a year ago
Created by
Leigh Ann Root

Pieces of our past can be priceless, if we see the value. They are masterpiece worthy.

I am one day away from becoming a 49er, not a football player, but the actual age. I’m about to embark on the last year of my 40’s. I say this with excitement, in the absence of fear. I’m willing to age. No clunking around, trying to façade myself but with the belief that aging can be amazing.

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I remember the last year of my 30’s, I vowed to exercise every day for at least 20 minutes. I was determined to close out my thirties strong, to enter in to the next decade even stronger. Little did I know, the next decade had a bit more in store for me than challenging my physical fitness.

As I begin to close out this current decade, I feel a huge shift in perspective and intention. A few days ago, I started asking myself what my goal would be for the next year. As I watched myself on a recent video, it came to me. While watching it, I wanted to turn away from my image and began internally criticizing myself. I was critiquing the camera angle, my appearance and even the sound of my voice. From this, my goal was born. Be nicer to me. Taking inventory of imperfections doesn’t add up to joy. Appreciation of life’s blemishes can be beautifully freeing and poignant.

We can be our own worst critics. It’s time to ‘pom-pom’ our way out of this way of thinking.

How we ‘frame up’ our lives, forms our degree of happiness. Our thoughts and attitudes contribute to contentment. So often, we seek approval and reassurance from the outside. The true path toward bliss, lies in the beholder.

In physical practice of yoga, when we move our bodies into different shapes, it’s about what it feels like, not what it looks like. What if we adopted this philosophy off the mat and into our everyday lives, living a life that we feel.

As we shape our lives, we get distracted by ideas of what our lives should look like. This begins the process of calculating our happiness from the outside in, instead of the inside out. A focus on the material, appearance and status can take center stage. This may cloud perspective and limit growth. We’re humans with emotions, we’re designed to feel. Too often, we try to numb this actuality.

Comparison, envy and fear are often contributors to insecurities and misery. They steal the happy. How do we shift, when we’re stuck looking out instead of in? How do we accept, celebrate, and sit comfortably in ourselves?

We start with a grateful heart. The same heart that has been broken, bruised and scarred. We adjust our thinking. We appreciate life’s experiences and we’re grateful for the roads that have appeared from the rubble. We notice when a new direction is necessary. We pay attention to what makes us feel good and what makes us feel bad. We do more of the first and less of the second. We get our faces out of our phones and follow our hearts into our validity.

I liken it to the scene out of the movie ‘Pretty Woman’, when Julia Roberts walks back to the store that denies her service because of the way she looked. We need to do the same; pick up our giant bags, that are full of our life’s experiences, lessons & wisdom and walk proudly away from things that don’t serve us.

I’ve started a day early, on my ‘be nice to self’ project. It goes something like this ~ I’m thankful for the lines that have been created around my eyes and my mouth, proof that I’ve enjoyed more than my fair share of the happy. I celebrate the two lines between my eyebrows, gifts from this last decade. My perplexed face imprinted those. The face that I overused during challenging times. If not for these times, I wouldn’t know what I’m made of, who I am and what belongs in my life. I’m most proud of these lines, they’re a result of questioning, contemplation and struggle. My biggest spiritual growth spurt, came from this time. These are badges not baggage.

If we do life, growing from and not running from these shapers, we carve out a tremendously rewarding life. Pieces of our past can be priceless, if we see the value. They are masterpiece worthy. Accepting of what is and what wasn’t, helps us to be hopeful of what will be. Sprinkling in a little forgiveness, helps. Then add some space, room for those times that we’re simply, in between.

Genuine joy is more attainable, when we take full ownership; mentally, spiritually and physically. No blame gaming and no excuse making. We stagnate when we finger point and give away our potential.

Life, as we know, is not fair. It’s a roller coaster of highs, lows and the beauty that is, the in between. When we do decide to be better than circumstances, we rise. As birthdays come and go, may we all be more real and less show.

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