Nothing less useful than willful resistance to the realities of aging
May 9, 2023
There is beauty in every stage of life.
Well, look. We can’t stop the aging process, no matter how we try. It’s a natural process and if we’re lucky, we get to go all the way through it.
Oh, sure, we can nip and tuck and tighten and peel, but the fact is we will age. That is the fact. Resistance to the realities of aging gets us nowhere.
And along with aging comes certain…limitations. Limitations that we don’t like. And sometimes resist. If we’ve led an active life, we are used to doing things the way we’ve always done them. So when aging creeps up, it can be hard for some of us to cope with the changes that become necessary.
What do you mean, I can’t run 10 miles a day on my aging hips?
Why should I slow my pace to avoid joint stress, not to mention trips and falls?
What? I can’t walk two miles round trip to Trader Joe’s with heavy grocery bags any longer?
We may be 70. Or 80. or even 90. But in our mind, we’re younger. Much younger. That is true, isn’t it? I know it is for me.
And any adaptations to the new realities of aging can feel like losses. Like capitulating to age. And if we are stubbornly independent, we can be guilty of willful resistance to aging.
Well, aging is gonna happen (if we’re lucky), whether we capitulate or not. So I like to think of it as adapting to the new reality. Which is something we’ve had to do at every stage of our lives.We can still lead full lives. It’s just that now our options are different.
But that doesn’t mean we must become shut-ins. We just need to find new ways to do most of what we’ve always done.
For example, driving. Maybe, like many seniors, our night vision isn’t what it was. So–limit night driving. Don’t drive freeways at night. Or don’t drive at all–ask a friend to drive. Take public transportation if it is available.
Shopping and carrying bags might be another issue. Thank goodness for shopping and delivery services like Instacart and Shipt. We have so many options at our disposal today. Many stores offer their own delivery services, too. There’s no sin to making it easier on our aging selves. Heck, we started using Instacart during the pandemic and still use it periodically if we don’t have time to go to the store.
Exercise doesn’t have to be done at a pounding, driving pace. We can walk more slowly. Do gentle yoga. Ride a stationary bicycle. Do movements that put less stress on our bodies. We don’t have to do hot yoga or contort our bodies. We can do the many more gentle forms of exercise.
Finding new ways to do things we’re used to doing is not a loss, it’s simply an accommodation to our new reality. We can still lead very full lives.
And to be honest? I’d rather do that than not be here at all.
How about you? Have you found new ways to adapt to aging? Love to hear about it in the Comments below.
And I’m making my gorgeous candles!
For just a few weeks, so if you want one for yourself or a gift, come on over!
Adaptation is the key.
Thank you for your insights
Hi Patricia…yes, we really must adapt. I am facing that, myself.
I love walking and yoga. Very gentle, but very effective as we age.
And really good for body AND soul, both!
So true… I am one of those who are most likely fighting it.. like you said in my mind I am 25! :-P. But… I have slowed down… even for my 50’s. Thank you for the insight!
But you are still young, sweet cousin! And look even younger.
Adapt, adopt, become adept. I’m learning! Slowly.
From running to walking to aqua fit. You’re right. I’m just glad I’m still here!
Yes, those of us paying attention are THRILLED to still be here!
To me, it’s just a matter of moderation…. exercise in moderation; eat in moderation; work in moderation…drink in moderation. Oh, wait. Maybe you actually can drink more because, if you’re old enough to be retired, you don’t have to go to work the next day. Anyway, to my way of thinking you can do many of the things you’ve always done, just not as much. If you can feel gratitude for the things you CAN do, and not complain about what you CAN’T do, you’ll enjoy life more and be more peaceful.
It really is, Allia.
Yes and yes and yes… it’s not easy, but we CAN adapt. Or die.
or complain and complain! Resistance is futile.
My husband and I face this, too. No more night driving unless necessary. Takes us longer to get going in the morning. Stretching is necessar as are balance maintaining exercises. I do some. I wish my spouse did. But, with the slowing down, life also has a richness that it didn’t have when we were younger. We take the good and the bad and hope for more good than bad.
Exactly. We take it all because it’s life.
Just this morning my friend & I were commenting on what we used to get done in a day with kids, a spouse, FT employment. Now at 66, we don’t have the same responsibilities or the stamina & energy. I do a lot of resting between bouts of physical exertion usually 2 hrs at a time. And in the end, it all seems to get done. I’ve always said, we get old or we get dead.
I have come to appreciate the value of a daily nap.
Thank goodness!! Now I don’t feel like there’s something wrong with me! I had kids, worked full time, kept up with the house and now that I’m retired and have so much more time, I’m tired and get less done. My cat, however, loves that we have time to take naps!
Love us a good nap!
Loving the traction this one’s getting with readers.
I started running (really jogging) late in life, in my 40s, and was so pleased when I became able to do a 10K. Now my knees, hips, and back are acting up. I’m starting to get into a walking program now and doing chair yoga at the Y. I’m hoping to keep this body going as long as I can.
yes, as one of you all said, adapt or die!
I agree! I do whatever I can to age the best I can but the fact is, I’m aging. That said I am now embracing weight training (so important as we age), a healthier more non-inflammatory diet, eat more protein, drink less alcohol and walking as much as I can. There are things we can do to age better and I believe in pushing the limits.
I was forced into adapting by low back arthritis that hurts more the longer I walk and a left knee that’s going to need to be replaced at some point. But I keep walking at a minimum. Even if that means I have to sit for a minute or two to let my back adjust and then start again. I try to do standing and seated yoga poses as getting down on my knees is not an option right now.
Still, awareness of our surroundings is key. We’re in the process of packing for another move and there are boxes all around. I was looking at my phone and walking and tripped over a box that was sticking out and landed on my knees. Took me a day or two of ice and ibuprofen to recover from that.
Yes, the tripping hazard. OMGosh.
Walking is my go-to exercise and I do some balance exercises on YouTube with my roommates. I still feel young until my body reminds me I’m not.