HAVE SOME FUN WHILE AGING!
If you were born between 1945 and 1965 you will remember the refrain, “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.” We were the generation that created that myth, and we are the generation that can change it. Nowadays, if we are operating out of the same flawed paradigm and applying it to our lives today, we’d say, “Don’t trust anyone under fifty.” I really believe now that nothing could be further from the truth.
OUR CURRENT POLITICS OF WAR
Finding an answer to war - what do we need to do to realize we are operating out of a part of our brain that is millions of years old will never work in our current society? Violence will never solve any problem, and yet it is often the first avenue that we pursue. It is hard-wired into our brains. Our reptilian/mammalian brain is connected that way to save us from aggressive predators. The only trouble is that there are no more dinosaurs on the planet. But you can’t tell that to our brain stem. According to Dr. Paul MacLean, the triune brain stem is responsible for aggression, territorial and reproductive behavior. They are the primary triggers for all of our problems in life.
While it was helpful for our survival, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years ago, it ends up causing us untold grief, regret and pain when we let it control our body and minds. It will have us say and do things that, when we are not in our “right mind”, we should never say or do. Essentially we have outdated software in our brains. That is why we need to utilize tools like the Eight Steps, to reprogram our thinking so we can overcome these ancient triggers that create so many problems for us.
AGING AND MONEY
As it turns out, according to some economists, it is those of us well over 50, specifically the ‘baby boomers’ that are controlling the purse strings of the world’s economy these days. Apparently we are in charge of over eighty percent of wealth on the planet today. We still have a voracious appetite for spending and consuming, on either quality projects like philanthropy, art and culture, or consumer goods. Boomers just love cars, motorcycles, motor homes, vacation homes, travel, food, alcohol and gifts for those we love. But are the latter the only things we should be pursuing? If we believe they are the key to our happiness, it might be a good idea to analyze those beliefs without blindly accepting them as truth.
EGO ( Edge Good Or God Out)
If all you are doing is satisfying an insatiable urge to have more in order to appease your ego, then watch out, as you may not really be a happy camper. The question you might want ask yourself is what have you done lately to make a difference on the planet?
What about those of us who feel we aren’t in a position to help others or the planet? There are definitely those of us who haven’t planned for our futures as well as we should have. What will happen to us? Once again my mind that defaults to nasty lies starts up: “You will end up penniless, a pauper working a corner with a cup!”
If we keep our wits about us, this need not happen. Youth is fine for backbreaking and heavy slugging but, the intellect of those who are more mature, gifted with our wealth of experience, is worth its weight in gold. And we can all realize this with some simple steps and planning. If you can remember back when life was “groovy”, we didn’t have a care in the world. That is a great place to get back to. And it’s attainable.
THE TRUTH ABOUT BEING A BABY BOOMER AND AGING
What is the truth about being a ‘boomer’, becoming a Sage? Many of us still have a good sex drive. It is, however, much more emotional and psychological than physical. In many cases, it is based on true intimacy rather than raw, self-centered sexual satisfaction.
We can try new adventures or new occupations where we don’t have to feel shame or blame if we don’t bat a thousand. In his book, The Spirituality of Imperfection, Paul Kurtz points out that in baseball if you hit three hundred, you will be paid millions of dollars to join a major league baseball team. What that means is that 7 out of 10 times you will miss hitting the ball. Baseball is the only game in the world that recognizes errors as part of the process. We want to liberate ourselves from old beliefs, old self-defeating thinking that we acquired somewhere between the ages of 3 and 12. None of us are perfect, and every one of us makes mistakes – and that includes you and me!
Many of us have unresolved issues from our pasts and our childhoods. It is imperative that we let go of old, self-defeating thinking about our dreams or ideas that we had in our youth that no longer support us. It is important to age gracefully. Many of us had unhappy childhoods; unfortunately they’ve lasted fifty or sixty years. The good news is it’s never too late to have a happy childhood!
For example, holding onto the idea that I need to be liked by everyone is self-defeating. Not everyone will like us. As a matter of fact, what others think of me is none of my business. It’s more important to like ourselves, just the way we are and not worry about what others think of us, period.
The goal is to be mature (hopefully) adults who should strive to be role models of how it is to age gracefully and with purpose. This definitely does not mean trying to act like a teenager by dressing in the current style of young adults or tying to use their vernacular. My advice? It’s best to avoid playing any forms of emotional and psychological Russian roulette. It hardly suits our… well, ‘mature’ selves.
We all should all try to pursue some kind of physical fitness to add to our quality of life. Okay, I already mentioned sex, but what else can we include that’s reasonable for our aging bodies? I try to do aqua fit classes at least two days a week, but three is optimal. I also do 50 push-ups off my bathtub side three mornings a week. I walk everywhere I can. I make a point of leaving my car at home if I can. So exercise is good for mind, body and spirit. Trying to emulate the Y generation is not.
For many of us it is critical to our well being. I want to emphasize, I’m not necessarily talking about religion. I’ve personally been an agnostic a lot of my life. I had great faith when I was young and then I studied and educated myself beyond my level of comprehension. As a result, I lost my childhood faith. It didn’t make sense to me considering scientific and empirical evidence (or so I thought). If you have a traditional faith that works for you, then you are ahead of the game. For a lot of us though, our focus is on a faith in something greater than we are. It doesn’t matter if it’s your local hydro provider, the nearest electrical current or Einsteins theory of relativity. As long as it’s bigger & more powerful than you and it makes sense to you.
The truth is, faith does work. It helps us stay alive, healthy and happy. Research shows time and time again, when we have a community of like-minded people we can spend time with, we are always going to feel improved happiness. Perhaps your community is a power greater than itself that can easily help you connect to a sense of something bigger? As it turns out, isolation is aging’s worst malady. If there is one thing I’ve learned, if you want to enjoy and maybe even have some fun in your ‘golden’ years, avoid isolation like the plague.
David Brady has 30 years of experience as an award-winning writer, producer and director of feature film and international television productions. In June, 2015 he founded David Brady Communications and changed his focus on writing nonfiction books.