There’s a turning point when one day you’ll feel old. It could be your 65th birthday when you’re given the golden handshake and retire, or once you begin to feel the bones creaking, anticipating its consequences. There are some who claims that 50 is the new 40. The truth being that feeling old, is more a state of mind and body.
It’s not for the faint of heart, although an irregular heart beat may say otherwise. What’s known is that eating healthy, while exercising routinely, has proven to affect the longevity of life as one ages. What can’t be disputed, is that the clock forever ticks forward, this regardless of what you try.
Attempting to alter biology is futile, while some adamantly disagree, this by injecting Botox in their face. Anti-aging is a multi-billion dollar industry, as the baby boomers become obsessed with looking forever young.
The physical consequences when it comes to aging varies among individuals. How hard they lived or worked, may not be the issue. The real problem when it comes to aging, is our inability to accept it with grace.
Life Beyond Our Means
Centuries ago, life expectancy was around 40 years, while today, it’s around 85. During this time, the evolutionary assignment is to procreate to prolong the species. What most do instead, is just practice.
Our ancestors, deceased at a young age usually from natural causes, as well as from environmental disasters and illness, such as the plague, pneumonia, or infection.
In our modern world, medication such as antibiotics and vaccines have eliminated the majority of the plagues and fevers, which wiped out our predecessors.
Living Beyond Expectancy
Prolonging life, living far beyond the age that true evolutionary biology ever intended, brings a new host of issues.
Modern day issues such as menopause and high cholesterol weren’t that common in the past, this since most in the prehistoric age, were in constant fight-or-flight mode.
So our ancestors didn’t have issues with retirement such as old age homes. They didn’t have to deal with osteoporosis, or frequent urination at night. They never had the once I retire, “What do I do now?” questions.
Looking Forward To Retirement
Most work and save their entire lives, so they could look forward to their retirement. ”When I retire I will…” But what usually happens instead, is they develop a sense of uselessness, they fade emotionally while inviting health issues.
The reason is, that the brain that was once active, doesn’t like change. Going to work daily for 50 years, and then all of a sudden stopping, is too drastic of a jolt for the mind and the heart.
What compounds is anxiety that their life is coming to an end, which the brain takes as a threat, and activates all the triggers for stress regulation. Although life expectancy has increased, the primitive brain still follows the evolutionary mandates.
The Mind Goes First
The brain goes into alert mode, getting the message that it’s no longer useful. That it’s no longer relevant, that it’s becoming an outcast and isolated, which means it’s getting closer to demise.
What survival means to a social species like humans is being “included,” so the process of retirement, forces it to think it’s being separated from other humans, which results in stress, which invites health issues.
Even though the threat isn’t real, the brain doesn’t know any better, and on instinct, treats it as a real concern. It has difficulty distinguishing between what’s valid or not.
What The Brain Perceives
The battle of retirement begins, as perception is based on how or what we feel when it comes to ourselves, and how we see ourselves in the eyes of what others think of us.
For someone older, this when everyone is trying to look younger, living in a society which cherishes youth, the latter becomes a stark reality, which just activates stress.
What stress does is depletes the natural serotonin process, giving way to depression, while promoting other stress related illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and inflammatory conditions.
To Reflect On Life
What older age forces is looking back rather than looking forward. What the stressful mind then dwells on when it comes to reflection, are the choices one made in their life. Since stress is negative, what it ponders is, “Was I good person?”
Have I been a honorable and honest human, or have I fed off my ego. Did I make a difference, did my life even matter? The personal demons will first pounce and reveal their deepest fears, exposing all the bad deeds done.
Then like a guiding hand reaching out of the sky on Sunday morning, what’s granted is forgiveness, which allows the distraught to sleep like a baby.
It dissolves into a sea of hope, as regret washes over ones spirit, much like a crashing wave over their headboard, as the tides of gratitude becomes persistent until day breaks.
Just Let It Go
We all have regrets. Even the saints of the world will ponder on the choices they’ve made, wondering if they could of done things better, if they made the right decisions.
So just accept your life, because there’s no proof to the contrary. Let it go, because like bell bottom jeans and the 8-track tape, the past is over. It’s not coming back, so you can’t change it.
What’s important is that you’ve discovered yourself, that you found peace. What matters is that you’ve resolved your life, that you’re now up to speed and your mind is now living in the present.
So just love and accept who you are, as everyone is living a parallel life. Don’t allow aging to burden the joy, of a life well lived.