Never think about your age! I learned that from a horse.
When I started riding lessons as an adult, the horse I rode most often was a Quarterhorse gelding by the name of Bug.
Bug and I got along quite well together and, as a result, my teacher usually paired me with him.
He was big, gentle and responded well to everything I asked him to do. Of course, as a beginning rider, I didn’t ask that much of him.
But I was still quite surprised when a few months into our relationship, I found out that Bug was 30 years old. That’s pretty old in horse years.
When I expressed my amazement to my riding teacher, she responded, “Well, the thing is, Bug doesn’t know he’s 30.”
What others think of your age is none of your business
So much of our self-perception is based on what others think we should be, do or have at whatever our chronological age is. That can be a lot of pressure.
For many years I refused to tell my age because I didn’t want people’s belief systems telling me I was a failure because I hadn’t achieved certain milestones by whatever age I was.
You’re as old as you feel. Period.
These days I don’t mind telling people my age because I enjoy the looks of surprise I get because I look much younger than my chronological years. [I’m 67].
Yes, I still color my hair, because I’ve vowed I won’t go grey until Bonnie Raitt does.
But I’ve never had “work” done. I’m vegan, exercise every day and live a healthy lifestyle– and all that belies my years.
If a problem starts to manifest, I nip it in the bud.
For example, arthritis in the knees? Here are the solutions:
- Yoga: research has shown that yoga improves joint health and reduces the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.
- Glucosamine helps keep the cartilage in joints healthy. Natural glucosamine levels drop as we age and there is evidence that glucosamine sulfate supplements help counteract this effect.
- Anti-inflammatory diet helps minimize arthritis pain. Foods to avoid include: fried and processed foods, sugars and refined carbs, dairy, alcohol and tobacco, processed table salt and preservatives, and corn oil. Foods to eat more of: fruits and vegetables. It’s not really a diet – it’s a lifestyle.
All the things my orthopedist told me I wouldn’t be able to do I am still able to do because of the above regimen.
As a healing practitioner, I’ve also done an enormous amount of work on healing my past emotional traumas. Continuing to carry them around also ages us. Get healing!
I refuse to let an arbitrary number slow me down. No one should.
Aging may be more cultural than biological
When Social Security was created in the U.S. in the 1930s, the legislation decreed 65 as the age of obsolescence.
That thought form still exists yet more and more people in their sixties, seventies and beyond are leading vibrant, healthy lives that contribute to the world around them.
How many stories have we heard of men being forced into retirement at 65 and dying a short time later because they felt their lives no longer held purpose? It’s just plain wrong.
Native American and other ancient cultures honor the elders, those who have lived and learned and can share their wisdom. Western culture does the opposite.
In some Native American nations, the equivalent of our Supreme Court is a counsel of women, led by the “oldest sensible woman.”
Our youth-obsessed culture, particularly here in the U.S., does a disservice to us all. It convinces otherwise intelligent people that they need plastic surgery and lipo-suction in order to feel valued.
In “Learning to Love Growing Old” on PsychologyToday.com, writer Jere Daniel says:
“The signs of denial and anxiety over aging permeate every aspect of our lives. We have no role models for growing old gracefully, only for postponing it. For example:
- “The vast dependence on plastic surgery specifically to hide the visual signs of aging is arguably the sharpest index of our anxiety. In just two decades, from the 1960s to the 1980s, the number of . . . wrinkle-removing face-lifts rose from 60,000 to an estimated 2 million a year at an annual cost of $10 billion.
- “The negative view of aging is disastrously reinforced by the media. Articles and advertising never show a mature model, even in displaying fashions designed for women over 50. A Newsweek cover of a sweating, gray-haired young man bears the cover line, “Oh God… I’m really turning 50.” Nursing home ads ask: “What shall we do about Mother?” By some sleight of mind, we not only come to accept these images, we come to expect them as truths.”
And I admit to falling for it, too. When I choose photos of people to accompany blog posts, I’m embarrassed to say I usually have gone for young 20-something women.
Two weeks ago I was searching for a photo to accompany my article on stretching. I almost went for a photo of a young woman, then I caught myself and said, “What in the world am I doing? Don’t buy into this.”
So I chose a photo of a vibrant, healthy grey haired woman doing yoga. You can see it at the top of this article today.
Whatever you believe is true
“If you believe it, it’s true. Period.”
This was said to me by an Arapaho elder many years ago. Nothing “new age” about that statement at all – it’s ancient wisdom.
Queens in the middle ages bought into the common belief that a woman couldn’t rule on her own and needed a husband to guide them. They believed it even though they were Queens! So they married.
The only exception was Elizabeth 1 who ruled England very successfully for 45 years without being married.
Many years ago, I was at a party and wandered into a room where friends were playing billiards. I had never played before so when asked if I wanted to join them, I said, “Sure, what do I do?” My friend told me which balls should go into which pockets and I picked up a cue and did just that!
My friends were stunned, but I was able to do it because I didn’t know it was supposed to be hard. I believed it must be easy so I just did what I was told!
Believe you’re young — because you are!
“Why do they say we’re over the hill? I don’t even know that that means and why it’s a bad thing. When I go hiking and I get over the hill, that means I’m past the hard part and there’s a snack in my future.” Ellen Degeneres, age 56
Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com