February 19

You can't help getting older,
but you don't have to get old.

George Burns


Today's Meditation:

Aging is one of the most sensitive topics of all, especially among the people who are doing it.  Some people deny the fact that they're aging, and they try to hold on to their youth in often ridiculous ways.  Others age without much grace, growing old very quickly, with a perspective on life and living that's more destructive than anything else.  Other people age gracefully, acknowledging the fact that they're getting older, but still holding on to the best things in life, enjoying them now as older people, without trying to hold on to the ways of youth now that they've discovered many of the benefits of aging.

I believe that the most important element of aging gracefully--and having fun while we do it--is acceptance of the fact that we all grow older.  As George says "You can't help getting older," so what good does denial do?  When we know we're going to age, we can keep our attitudes healthy and keep our enthusiasm for and joy of life alive and well.

I know people who are old who are enjoying their lives as never before--they don't feel the social pressures that they used to feel, they don't feel the need to impress anyone, and they feel free to do as they please--and they search out many things that please them, such as traveling, helping others, spending time with their grandchildren, and many other enjoyable, productive things.  No matter what their age, they certainly haven't grown old.

I also know older people who spend their time being grumpy and annoyed with the world, who constantly complain about their health and the ways that other people treat them, who feel sorry for themselves, or who spend their time being angry or having regrets about things that they did or didn't do in their past. They've certainly grown very old, no matter what their chronological age.

Which kind of person do I want to be?  It certainly is my choice.

Questions to consider:

To you, what's the difference between growing older and growing old?

Why do some people age gracefully without seeming to get old, while others grow old before their time?

What kinds of things can you do to help yourself grow older without growing old?

For further thought:

Age does not depend upon years, but upon
temperament and health.  Some people
are born old, and some never grow so.

Tryon Edwards


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