Graceful aging starts by leveling the playing field between emotional landmines and physical grievances. No matter how liberated we have become, aging – in the greater part of the world – is a curse; an established threat to quality of life.
While the passage of time is innately distressing and aging, certainly inescapable; there is absolutely no reason why the onslaught of maturity be connected with anguish, disability or intellectual decline. If you're reading this in the 21st century and do not belong somewhere in Hollywood, the good news is that aging is being redefined. It is no longer the dirty word associated with drastically retooled faces or relegation to invisibility. Rather it calls for acknowledging your advancing years and accepting the changes it inexorably brings on our faces and beginning-to-fall-apart bodies.
The blemishing youth, a lack of energy and the shrinking resources for adaptation does nothing but intensify disappointments. It would be evil to presume that the demon, called time will lapse furtively, without a trace. Challenges will arise in the shape of dreadful attitudes, all thanks to the crackdown on the cult of youth. But it is these attitudinal adjustments to the new limitations that will help you grow old with dignity, vitality, broadmindedness, and leniency … or in short, gracefully.
Having said that, take a look at your graying hair once more. Revel in the signs of good judgment and maturity. Take another look at your laugh lines and remind yourself of the times that made you smile. Finally, bring visibility to your new image. Promote personality and personal expression. There's no need to crawl under the rock and die yet. Embrace life's second act by adopting and communicating one or more of the following.
1. Reflect and record your concerns about the renewable resource called aging. Share your anxiety, apprehensions, unease and discoveries with someone you trust.
2. Dust your bookshelf and polish your reading skills to help you understand the aging process and the infinite wisdom that comes when you have learnt to grow old with dignity.
3. Recall and recount the role models in your life and the knowledge they have passed on to you.
4. Compose your legacy; tell how aging has treated you and what you predict for your future. Do indicate everything you would like the younger lot to know ahead of time about the spirituality of aging.
It is essential to reschedule and tidy up your personal life pattern of prayer, relaxation, social interaction, nutritional regime, work out and intellectual poise so that your advancing years do not become the cross of your lives. You will undeniably part with everything that you possessed in this life. Be more accepting; have a modest and repentant heart, believe in a merciful God so that your final expedition is disengaged from burden and anxiety. Be a visual proof of the fact that people are valued for their compassion as opposed to their youth. Let the inside and the outside match again.
To close, the Hasidic saying perfectly fits the bill here: "For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned, it is the season of the harvest."