Growing older is a fact of life. We see it in our children as they change from babies to adulthood. Our face wrinkles and greying hair become the signs that the years are traveling past us, yet few of us give thought to the aging process while our lives fly by. If you remain unconscious to how you are aging, you may wake up someday and begrudge being older. But, if you stick to these five key things, you will discover that aging well is within your power.
Key No. 1. Measure success differently
Our society lauds different temporal successes like amount of someone’s wealth, status and power. It also glorifies physical beauty and strength. Pursuit of these things is behind many of the teachings and values our mentors taught us.
There is nothing wrong with being wealthy, powerful, beautiful, famous and strong, but these are fleeting phases of life. If your identity relies on these things to make you feel you have standing, then you will be distraught when they disappear. Pursuit of worldly measures leads to disappointment. This search can blind us with greed, arrogance, entitlement, jealousy and dissatisfaction. It is an endless chase because you will never possess enough of these things.
The following are the things I found that better measure my success and lead me to a more joyful life. These are; the level of gratitude you feel for what you have, the energy you invest in creating a greater good with others, the legacy of love and kindness you own and continue to share towards others, the ability to see beauty and value in everything and everyone, how you guide your life by the wisdom you gained. Measure your success by how much you have grown in doing these things.
Key No. 2. Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparing ourselves to others leads to a high level of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. No matter how hard you try, there will always be someone better at the sport you play, more influential in society, prettier or more handsome, richer, has more kids, a bigger house, a better car, and the list goes on.
It is easy to compare to others because the measurements can seem so obvious. But nothing is ever as it seems. Behind someone’s glorious facade may be much sadness. These traits we find so valuable may simply result from luck, inheritance, body type, or lineage.
The important thing to remember is that someone else’s life is not about you. They have their own lessons to learn and difficulties to overcome. If you insist on comparing, the only valuable comparison is to who you were before. Are you making progress from the past? Are you learning lessons and becoming wiser? Have you discovered your purpose? Are you living your passions?
Key No. 3. Don’t postpone joy
We were all taught to eat our vegetables before eating our dessert. This old belief promotes the idea we must do the unpleasant before doing what we like. But nothing could be more wrong. I know, for I lived my life thinking I needed to do what was on my “to do” list before playing, traveling or having fun. Joy never came because I was constantly adding items to my “to do” list. There were so many things on that list that I could have postponed. Instead, I made my life a dizzying tornado of activities that added no joy and fulfillment to my life.
The only life we can live is the one in the present moment. The past is behind you, and the future, never secured. To believe you must put off your joy until tomorrow because you have a job to do today is foolhardy. What if tomorrow never comes? The sudden loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna reminds us of how suddenly life can end.
To operate as the best person you can be, you need to quench your thirst from the things that give you joy. Doing so improves every other area of your life, because a fuller and happier you have more to give to your other pursuits. When you postpone joy, you become depleted. If you are feeling like an empty shell of a person, your best cure is to put energy today doing the things that bring you fun and pleasure.
Key No. 4. Invest in the people you know love you
Many people spend their lives seeking the approval of everyone around them not realizing there are some who don’t have their best interests in mind. A big part of aging successfully is to identify the toxic people that bring you down and remove yourself from them.
Just as important is recognizing those who love you and have your back. This is easy to do, for being around them always fills you with a sense of peace, understanding and acceptance. They never put you down or discourage you from pursuing your dreams. These are the people you want to grow old with.
Investing your energy with these individuals is of utmost importance to create a fulfilling life. Become for them the friend/family member that you would like to have.
Key No. 5. Love yourself
One thing is certain, if you don’t know how to love yourself, no one else will be able to do it for you. Living your life according to the first four keys mentioned in this article will go a long way in helping you love yourself, but they are not enough. Loving yourself must include your recognition that a Higher Power created you with an important purpose and value to give this world.
You are a treasure, a force to be reckoned with. The life path you have traveled so far has helped shape the person you are today. Like a beautiful rose, you may not be a bud anymore, but you are still blooming. It is time you let go of the insecurities about who you are not or who you failed to become and accept that you are who you were meant to be at this very moment. You are good enough; you are worthy of love. This belief begins with you.
Whether you are thirty or ninety, if you can live according to these five keys, you will be on the great path of aging successfully. You will transform your life.
Remember, paying gratitude for your life forward will reward you with great joy and serenity.