Aging is something we do every day without really giving it much thought until the moment we realize, oh my gosh, where have the years gone? We have this uncanny human ability to put aging outside of ourselves as though it only happens to other people. And then one day we realize we are older than we ever imagined we would be.
Some fears guide our denial and it is this we discuss at Mindful Ageing at Mountain Meadows. In a circle of many generations, we talk about our fears, our concerns, our experiences and reflections. One day, Karen expressed for me my own fear of aging through her experience. She clearly expressed her frustration with her new limited mobility and her feelings of uselessness and lack of purpose. “Sure I help out from time to time,” she said pointedly, “but it’s not like it was when I was able to really help other people when I was a trained Mentor.” So many Elders express a sense of diminishment as compared to their productive years of working, raising families and volunteering.
A long silence followed Karen’s expression of frustration and then a quiet, calm voice of another Elder said, “We forget that it’s not always what we do that matters to others. More often, it’s who we are. Without even knowing it, just by being you are, you can have a positive impact on someone. You may make that person’s day so much better or influence their life for the better and you will never know it. Just being who you are is all that matters.”
Yes. For me, the message is clear. Each day, I can practice being the best person I can be and appreciate the positive influence of others for being themselves. And as I grow older, I can enjoy even the smallest moments of authentic connection with others.
Karen received a new message that day. In the kindness of acknowledging her value to others just by being Karen, she learned that she matters to everyone around her. The accumulated years of experience being thoughtful to others now radiates from her to everyone she encounters.
You are cordially invited to join Theresa D-Litzenberger and Deb Pobst and local elders for Mindful Aging to hear their wisdom. Mindful Aging takes place at Mountain Meadows on April 17 and 24, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Click here to learn more.