Aging is a natural part of life. Whether a newborn or a sexagenarian, you are growing older by the second. But aging does not have to be passive or unconscious, you can determine the quality of the way you age. It is a matter of mastering what life gives you in a way that fulfills you and simultaneously helps create a greater good.

Some believe aging effectively is done by copying what famous and successful people have done in their lives. But, following the formula of others can be disappointing because following in their footsteps does not assure success especially when their success is more attributed to being in the right place at the right time.

My life attests to that fact. Many people ask me about the steps I took to become the 44th Mayor of the city and County of Denver. My response always disappoints, for I don’t have a clue. Becoming the mayor of Denver was never something I sought after. It was not part of a twenty-year plan. I did not knowingly take daily steps leading to this outcome. Many random events came together to open the door that allowed me to step into the position. I certainly possessed the talents to do the job, but that is not what got me there, I was in the right place at the opportune time.

The point I am trying to make is that we only control our behavior. We can make plans to achieve goals, but many things have to fall into place. Tomorrow is promised to no one, so you can only do what is front of you today.

Live a conscious life

The trick to aging successfully depends on your ability to live a conscious life. The following tips will help you find more joy with every passing day. They help make aging a wonderful experience of becoming a better and wiser person. They will also transform you and allow your spirit to be reborn.

The list 

1) Gratitude is the foundation of a joyful life. I cannot emphasize this enough; gratitude for your life, just as it is will reward you with joy and contentment. This includes being grateful for everything that has happened to you and for the people who came into your life so far.

2) Focus on what you have, not on what you are missing.  Concentrating on the things you are missing in your life promotes a sense of deficiency. This turns into guilt, anger and blame. This lowers your vibration because it makes you feel inadequate. Focusing on what you have helps you to realize how much you are blessed. This is a better state of being than believing you are not enough.

3) Give people the benefit of a doubt. We suffer when we take things personally, but the fact is another’s action has nothing to do with you. Giving people the benefit of a doubt acknowledges that, like you, they are trying to figure out their lives.

4) Stay away from toxic people. Giving people the benefit of a doubt does not mean you must endure their abusive behavior. The benefit of a doubt you give them may simply be that you acknowledge you don’t live inside their skin and, therefore, do not know the traumas that caused them to become how they are. This does not mean you must subject yourself to their toxicity be they family members or friends.

5) Let go of the past. Although there is a benefit in learning from the lessons in your own history, there is no reason to believe history will repeat itself. Just because you failed at something before does not mean you will do so again. The one aspect you can count on more than others about life is that it is ever changing. Life does not favor success over failure or vice versa, both are equally assured. The past was never meant to be lived in the present. learn to let it go so you can meet every day confident you possess every skill needed to handle the challenges in front of you.

6) Work on your fitness and health. You don’t have to be a first-class athlete to work at staying fit and healthy. Remember, you were born with a body, mind and spirit connection. As we age, it is easy to maintain the mind and spirit and forget about the body, but it is just as important as the other two. Regular exercise and a healthy diet need to be a mainstay of your daily routine. This will enable you to live a full and active life until the day you die.

7) Stop self-medicating. There are many that see in using alcohol what many commercials promote; that it is the secret ingredient for every celebration. Many use drugs and narcotics to replicate the high they get from alcohol. Although these substances may be safer if used in moderation, many use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. If you rely on these things to numb feelings of loneliness, depression, grief, failure or anger, you are doing yourself a great disservice. Self-medicating cures nothing, it only postpones your ability to deal with problems. This delay often makes them worse. You may need help to overcome an addiction, but it will be well worth your effort to do so.

8) Look for lessons in every experience. Everything that has happened in your life, whether you judged them to be good or bad, has taught you something. Sometimes, these lessons help you improve. Other times, they may reveal something you were hiding from yourself. All of this is for your greater good. I have learned more from my failures than my triumphs because they revealed the things I needed to improve on. I often view successes as affirmations for my way of doing things, but so often there is no such lesson from winning, especially when sheer luck was involved.

9) Stop comparing yourself to others. Because we live in a society that values winning over loosing, we have learned to compare ourselves to others to determine our self-worth. Comparing to others reeks of suffering because we use the differences we see to promote our theory that we are not good enough. There are so many factors that determine human ability that they make comparisons an exercise in futility. For example, no matter how hard I train, I will never be as good a basketball player as LeBron James. He is 6’-9”, I am 6’-1”. He is strong as a bull; I am strong like a Chihuahua. He has natural gifts in basketball that I could never match. I am left to concluded, therefore, that his life is his journey while I have my own. The only useful comparison i can make is between who I am now and who I was. The best course of action is to seek opportunities for self-improvement.

10) Commit to a daily spiritual practice. Spirituality is not about religion; it is about having a connection to the Higher Source from which all things come and acknowledging we all live in an existence that is beyond the material world. Developing a daily spiritual practice just means taking time every day where you can stop the daily grind so you can communed with this Higher Being. There are many ways to do this. I meditate daily, but I know others who find this connection through yoga, a walk in the mountains and a quiet run early in the morning. Others find it in their religious practice. Whatever your preference may be, this practice is necessary to gain the serenity one needs to gain perspective in life.

Try these ten tips and I guarantee your life will change for the better.

Remember, paying gratitude for your life forward will reward you with much joy and contentment.

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash