Aging gracefully? What the hell is that, anyway? I’m sure it’s a phrase you’ve heard many times—often from so-called experts on aging, but just ask yourself what “aging gracefully” really means. I still don’t know. But I have to ask, “how does a phrase like that inform how a person thinks, acts, and chooses a lifestyle?” When I asked myself that question, I can’t come up with anything empowering on any level. The message I get from “aging gracefully” is, “how to allow myself to get old without complaining about it too much.” Or, “how to try to not look like I’m getting old.” Downright derogatory, if you ask me. And definitely not helpful.
The message I send is, “Hey, wake up! This is the best time of your life… if you’re willing to make the changes that requires. Let’s get out the door and kick some ass, throw some elbows, create something new, give some value, enjoy some wealth, have some fun, and be a blessing to those around you.” Those are the new choices that come with age. I’m going to call it “Aging Aggressively”.
What age allows—among many other changes—is an openness to doing what you want, to the exclusion of the expectations of others. Ironically, this buys you far more respect than the old alternative. If respect has been something that has been hard to come by in your life so far, this is the time to go grab some of it.
But I doubt that never happens “gracefully”; that only happens when you take charge of your life and loudly acknowledge how far you’ve come, and the wisdom that only experience can provide. If you still feel like you need to “find yourself”, this is also the time to do that. You won’t have to look very far because all that ever means is allowing your authentic self to emerge; it’s been right here all along. After that, it’s time to play the game of life. Get out on the field and see how many points you can score. Even if the answer turns out to be zero, at least you were on the field and not in the stands. This is how life should always be lived, but when we’re young we take it too seriously, thinking that our entire reason for being depends on how much other people respect our accomplishments, regardless of how we felt about them.
But those days are over, and it’s time to let your life be an expression of who you are. Wouldn’t you really rather that your life be about some variation on fun, creativity, great relationships, and compassion, rather than what you’ve already had?
I hope that there are some reading this who are under 50 because you’ll get a huge running head start at all of this. But you’ll need it, because my experience says that younger people are less open to anything but appearing successful. No matter, it’s all doable by anyone at any time, so your age at the outset is irrelevant. You’ll either have a longer time to absorb the change, or you’ll be more willing to make the change. Either way, you’ll get a new life out of the deal; a life on your terms.
In this quest for making the 2nd half of life the best half, it literally doesn’t matter where you’re starting from—retiring from a better than average run at corporate America, or never progressed past hand-to-mouth—if there is any emptiness or regret about your life up to this point, this is the time to erase it and start new. Don’t ever forget, you may very well have as many years left as you’ve already lived past adolescence, so it’s essentially a do-over. That’s why Sage Street is here; to provide you with a foundation for change, and a rejection of more of the same. What you do with that change is entirely up to you, but I can assure you that a fresh and different approach to life is all you’ve ever really needed to be completely fulfilled and free of regret.
Make sure I have your email and please ask questions on the contact form. We’re tackling a big subject here, but I’m up for it…. are you?