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The Gift Of Getting Older

I started in the marital arts at a very young age. While I was excited to learn karate, I was more drawn to the energy surrounding it. What do I mean by energy? There was a peace and quiet confidence to those I met who were involved in the martial arts. I couldn’t explain it at the time. All I knew is I wanted what they had.

Being involved in the arts, I was fortunate to have instructors, teachers and mentors who relied heavily on meditation. Over the course of the years I started meditation and getting deeper into philosophy. The art of thinking and the art of letting go. I can honestly say that mediation had saved my life on several occasions. And without going into specifics, I credit meditation for my longevity as a mental health worker. Spending 20 years as a crisis counselor, I did in fact see some pretty awful things. Pain and death became the daily experience. Then when working in the prison system as a chaplain, I encountered some of the worst traits that a human being could have. Meditation allowed me a vessel to empty the chamber so to speak, and start fresh again the next day.

So this morning on my daily run, I was meditating. For those who are unfamiliar of meditating, you can meditate anytime, anywhere. Today as I silenced the mind, I did stay with one particular thought. Just how amazing it is to get older. At 52, I feel as though I am in the best place in my life. There are certain realizations that have come to me with age. Not everyone has these same realizations, but for me, growing older offers freedom.

As I ran, the door of consciousness opened up. This is what I have learned as I have gotten older.

1. Yes there are physical limitations getting older. But, the real limitation I see people my age have his their attitude. Staying up beat in a negative situation almost always breeds a positive result. That so shall we think. So shall we create.

2. Money often complicates things. While I have enjoyed tremendous financial success, when I lost everything in my mid 30′s, I somehow grew to become happier. When the money is gone you learn a lot about yourself. Money provides options. It does not buy happiness.

3. While your sex drive begins to taper off, true intimacy settles in. Learning to connect through other deeper channels can really solidify a relationship. It becomes more spiritual and emotional. Having that soul level connection to mirror life back to you is priceless. To be open and trust this feedback is an opportunity for accelerated growth.

4. Profound sense of freedom. Knowing who you are and not comprising your belief system has become a thing of the past. Yes your circle may become smaller. But you will feel enriched, supported and loved by those who still remain.

I could go on and on about the beauty of the aging transformation, but it will be different for everyone. The body gives us signals. We should pay attention to them. I am speaking of behaviors that some engage in to appear and act like they’re 30 years younger. While we all want to be liked, self validation looks beautiful on you. And while I hate the phrase “act your age”. {Age is just a number.} Going to great lengths to be accepted is unappealing at any age. By all means dress the way you want to dress. Dance if you feel like dancing. But be you. Don’t run from your age. Embrace it. The profound lesson I have learned is that I do not need anyone’s permission to be happy. And for that reason alone, the price of aging is worth the ticket.

By dreading getting old, we are in fact going to feel old. I’m excited about this gift. Fear fades, love increases and getting to know and accept who I really am is magical. Don’t bring fear into your future. Wear your scares like badges, and no one can touch you.

Age. It’s a gift many are denied. Learn to be thankful and appreciate the ride.

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