We use the phrase “you are perfect just as you are” as a way to express appreciation for others. But it is wrong to think we are perfect. Perfection is an illusion, it has no definition, it is not an image fixed in time. The fact is we are always changing and evolving. Telling someone they are perfect just as they are belittles the self-reflection they need to continue seeking their most authentic self.
Some of us believe there is some plateau people reach at a certain age where we no longer have to continue on this evolutionary road to our highest selves. This is just not true, and this is the reason why I write so much about aging. Perhaps you might think I do this because I am projecting my hang-ups and fears as I continue to travel through the years, but it upsets me when I see someone giving in to a slow decay towards death when they stop following their natural evolutionary path.
What set me off this time were the quinquagenarians and sexagenarians at a party I attended. The main topics of conversation centered on the typical retirement subjects; diminishing 401(k)s, quality of health care, cruises and drinking. I am accustomed to hearing about these topics from crowds this age, but the one that captured my attention this time focused on the perceived need to buy ranch-style homes to avoid climbing stairs in one’s old age.
This idea about eliminating the physical things that may cause difficulties when we are older makes no sense. Following this logic, we should already be buying wheelchairs and walkers because we may need them someday. Next thing you know, someone will be promoting adult tricycles for older persons so they won’t need to keep their balance as they would have to do on a regular bike (in fact, I have already seen some).
Whatever it is you fear you create
To believe your future home should be without stairs because you fear being incapable of climbing them someday, is to set in motion your future inability to walk and go up the stairs. It is far better to buy the home you want convinced you will enjoy it for as long as you can. If you are fit and healthy today, why not trust you can remain that way until your last breath? Thinking this way may not assert your ability to walk in the future, but if you keep imagining yourself as old and decrepit, you will assuredly guarantee that outcome.
It makes me sad to see smart, vibrant and capable people give in to the belief their best is behind them when they retire. They are focusing on dying, not on living. What a waste!
Every moment is a gift that allows us to become more authentic
Every person was born with the capacity to develop higher powers and possibilities as time passes. Experience and knowledge imply that we have become grander than we were before. As we age, we can become a more beautiful expression of life.
When we deny for ourselves this God-given ability by believing we are too old, we become a cadaver that has not yet taken its last breath. It is discouraging to see how many people have bought into this cultural idea of having to ride into the sunset when they reach a certain age.
This is contrary to our nature’s desire to growth and further its knowledge. To deny this prematurely imprisons your soul and hurries your death. The same words my trainer uses about not using our muscles can apply to your soul,
“If you stop using it you lose it.”
Death is just another step in our evolution
How living things evolve and transition into new forms has become more obvious to me. For humans, our spirit does not age just because our body does. In fact, as long as you continue to learn and grow, you will maintain your spirit in a state of eternal youth. This is true whether you are ten years old or a hundred.
Anyone who has lived beyond their teens understands human life is a series of endings and beginnings. Living within your spirit allows you to understand how, as your old life goes out, a new one comes in. This cycle is so prevalent in the Universe I am convinced the same thing will happen when we reach our physical death. As our old life snuffs out, our spirit will transform into a new life. Whether that is a spiritual or physical life is for others to debate, I have no clue. But I trust death is not our spirit’s end.
Meanwhile, while you are still living, choose to live fully. You may not end up doing the things you did in a career but understand and accept you still possess a lot of life to contribute to a larger purpose.
Remember, paying gratitude for your life forward will bring you joy and contentment.