There is a lot of information circling around about the effects of ageing – it isn’t a mystery. – the key is in accepting it with grace. Realising the truth in what one elderly neighbour once said to me, that ‘getting old wasn’t for wimps.’ This from an indomitable woman who was undergoing hip replacement, had already had knee replacement and was battling the effects of Parkinson’s disease – no, this woman was no wimp.
But I have come to realise that ageing isn’t just about bionic joints, tena lady products and false teeth – there is a psychological and emotional element to it, that no one seems to talk about nor as with myself (or my friends) appear to be prepared for.
Recently I have been having an ongoing conversation with a dear friend – she has been struggling to raise a new online business and despite the fact she had appointed herself a business coach to help motivate and organise her – she was struggling. But not in all the usual business orientated ways – and this wasn’t something her coach had addressed with previous clients, in fact she was hard pressed to understand the issues my friend was battling. I however, felt deeply connected with my friends’ woes – I understood her issues first hand.
My friend is complaining about finding it hard to feel motivated because she feels at 55 she has far more yesterdays behind her than she has tomorrows to play with and whilst that might seem obvious numeric logic – the key is, it is that actual moment when your ever shortening future really becomes a reality to you, it’s like having a blinding wake up call.
Suddenly you wistfully look back over all those opportunities that slipped away, those wasted projects and the disgraceful wasted time you have squandered because it seemed that there was ‘always tomorrow’,
The fact is, that whilst women’s magazines can claim that 50 is the new 30 – once you get passed the big 5-0, you start to creep toward the bigger 6-0 and the door is wide open for reflection on what has been; regrets start to filter in and panic bubbles up that there is little room to manouvre in this shortened future line.
It isn’t that this becomes an enormous preoccupation, but it quietly nibbles at the edges of your consciousness – and it becomes something to dwell on. I should have done that differently or I ought not to have done that or why did I waste time.
What has struck me and my good friend is that whilst we are well aware of the mid life crisis – we weren’t expecting this emotional crisis that seems to have started as a gentle swell of uncertainty and become a tsunami of regrets and anxiety.
I personally have come to the conclusion that reviewing my past and regretting decisions is pretty pointless and have suggested my pal take the same view- a bit like a history book, the story can’t be rewritten.
In terms of my future, well yes I can’t deny the clock is ticking fast, and having grandiose plans and schemes like I did when I was 20, may well be a dream to far – I don’t like it, I would dearly love to wind my clock back, give myself a few extra precious years to play with – but that is silly. Better still is coming to terms with my life, making the most of my time now, enjoying the here and now.
A bit new agey perhaps, but there is no point in panicking life is suddenly too short, no point in over planning a future I can’t possibly deliver on – the key, is having joy in my here and now and live it to the max.