Let’s talk about aging not just gracefully, but positively, in The Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz episode 130.
While we might find it easy to adopt a negative attitude toward aging as we move into our fifties, sixties, seventies, and beyond, there are many positive aspects to aging.
Embracing the rewards of aging can quite literally help keep us young in every way save the chronological. In this episode, I’ll list a few of the advantages and benefits to positive aging, and help you achieve the necessary shift of mind for this healthy perspective.
I’d love to hear what you think! Be sure to leave a comment with your own thoughts and questions!
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Transcript of The Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz #130
Hello everybody and welcome to The Possibility Podcast. I’m your host Mel Schwartz. I practice psychotherapy, marriage counseling, and I am the author of the book The Possibility Principle, the companion to this podcast. I hope to be your thought provocateur and I’ll be introducing you to new ways of thinking and a new game plan for life.
Hello everyone. We’re going to explore the topic around the concept of aging. What does the word aging typically imply historically? Well, it’s limiting. We age, we’re running out of youthful vitality. We’re running out of possibilities ordinarily. We’re winding down the clock, our biological clock.
The notion of aging is depressing. It’s narrowing. It speaks about a retreat from life. But there is a new vista of aging occurring and some of it has to do with the profound medical advances. As we come into certain ages, 60s, 70s, 80s, even 90s, people are medically fit. You can be physically fit. Last week I read about a 93 year old man who could get his heart rate up to 136 beats per minute almost instantly. He was just focused on rowing and lifting weights.
But here’s the good news. He didn’t begin this exercise regimen until he was 73. He’s a youthful 93.
The data, the research, the scientific breakthroughs about staying fit and healthy and conscious and sentient well into our 80s and 90s and arguably we’re moving towards centurions living well. This is all available to us, but not if we don’t open to a new mindset.
I’m speaking on this topic because I’m entering that place myself. It’s hard for me to believe that I am in my 70s. I think as though I’m in my 40s or 50s, I feel fitter and healthier than I have in 30 years. Yet I’m aware of my age, but I’m not acting that age. What we think and how we feel and how we act is what really tells us our age. We shouldn’t reduce ourselves to this notion of biological age. Our age is more a factor of how we think, how we feel and how we see.
So this notion of positive aging, of wellness requires a shift of mind. One of the advantages we have when we come into a certain age, hopefully it allows us to access wisdom. And what is wisdom? It’s about knowing how to live well. It’s about understanding what really matters, not getting caught up in the grind and the conveyor belt of conventionality and conformity and competing and just acquiring. We come to the place where we see that, well, maybe it was something we chose to go through or had to go through, but now it doesn’t matter.
What really matters? Peace of mind, close relationships and a reason for living. Curiosity is the key to aging. Well, curiosity is such an essential at any age, but curiosity provokes new learning. Every day waking up with something new to learn, to develop, to experience. These are the things that really matter, especially when we have completed taking care of many of the challenges and necessities that come with earlier in life, raising a family.
There is an integrity that is available to us when we reach a certain age. That integrity is being in harmony with our own self. Again, being at peace with yourself and choosing to be at peace with others. This leaves us with the ability for a gratifying life, meaning and purpose.
You know, earlier in life, we don’t seek meaning and purpose and it’s probably because we don’t have a philosophy for living well. You cannot live well without meaning and purpose in your life. So as we age and we are not distracted by so many of the things that we were earlier, the meaning and purpose may involve a spiritual reckoning, which is what is my life all about? And as I’ve mentioned before, the fear of death just is so decimating. Open up, talk about it, discuss it with friends, relatives, other people, come to your own spiritual awareness. What does it mean to you? Is it the end of your physical being? Is it the end of your being?
You know, asking those questions like, what would I do differently if I could live my life over? Well, the next moment is an ability to live your life differently. Tomorrow is an ability to live your life differently. You don’t need to be young. You just need to be present and to be curious and developing new relationships, new interests, having new experiences are not just for the young at heart.
You can still choose to live your life without regrets. You may not go jump out of a plane and parachute. You may not take on risky things physically, but you can take on risks emotionally and psychologically with positive aging. You know, one of the risks that people often don’t take is the conversations they’ve never had. Boy, how that constrains us. The conversations that you could have that you never did because you chose to play it safe. Choose not to play it safe.
What’s the risk? Have those conversations. Open up, ask new questions of yourself and of others. There are so many opportunities that await us with the concept of positive aging.
But first we have to shift the paradigm. If you’re feeling you’re aging physically and mentally, it is not too late. Stop. Try a new path. Devote yourself to eating well, to exercising, to stretching your mind. You know, stretch your mind with new thinking and new learning. Creates an absolutely new experience of life. And it’s never too late to develop new relationships. And those relationships don’t need to be with people of our own age. I’ve developed relationships with the young people who I go out and buy a cup of coffee from in the morning. The baristas, we start to chat. I ask them about their lives. They open up. I can start to mentor them. That gives me a meaning and a purpose.
Of course, my work provides enormous meaning and purpose for me, but for everybody listening, think about what would provide you with meaning and purpose. What path can you venture down that you’ve never explored before and never opened up to before? Take those risks. There is vitality and energy and stepping into new terrain, asking new questions, having new experiences and devoting yourself to your wellness, not to the self-limiting narrowing of aging. Choose differently and you can experience the great rewards of positive aging replete with wisdom, meaning, purpose, and integrity. Go for it and model that for all the younger people around you.
Let’s return to an earlier age. Let’s return to earlier epics in history when elderly people were revered. And you know what? I don’t like the word elderly either. Drop that language. Forget about age. Venture forth in life. Be positive about yourself and your experiences and harvest all the rewards that are available to you right now.
Go for it, my friends.
Until next time, positive aging to you, no matter what age you are. Be well and I look forward to seeing you soon. Bye for now.
I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Possibility Podcast. I welcome your feedback on this and any episode. Please send me an email at mel at melschwartz.com or leave a comment in the show notes for this episode at melschwartz.com. If you like what you’re hearing, please take a moment to rate and review the show at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Your reviews really help boost the visibility for the show, and it’s a great way for you to show your support. Finally, please make sure to subscribe to the Possibility Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, and that way you’ll never miss an episode. Thanks again, and please remember to always welcome uncertainty into your life and embrace new possibilities.