August 24

Aging Mindfully (Personal side)

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Blog | No Comments

Artwork by Alexi Berry
Click on it and watch it age…

Since I have a day or two before the semester starts, I wanted to write a little more personally about aging. The topic has hit me hard lately (and by lately I mean the last two years). But in researching the article I saw something I wrote 3 years ago (to the month!) and I was already complaining.

In the last two years though, my age has become more evident. Labor Day weekend two years ago I pinched a nerve, and haven’t had feeling in part of my hand, along with a weaker grip and weaker arm generally, since. A younger girlfriend ended it with me, and age was a contributor. I’ve had abscessed teeth that had to be removed. Another tooth just broke off while driving, DRIVING! I’ve had basal cell (the least worrisome) skin cancer removed several times. I’ve continued working out and running only to feel weaker and slower (I was never fast, but still…). I had a foot injury that prevented pretty much anything for months, and seems directly related to just getting old.

Writing about aging mindfully is a lot easier than living it. I am trying though. As I joked in the PT post, I “feel” (and by feel I mean seem to imagine myself) much younger than I am. I’m sometimes shocked when I catch a glimpse of myself and I’m not 30. Interestingly, I had a client this week about my age say similarly. Like studies show, we imagine ourselves much younger than are after age 25 or so.

I know I’m slowing down. I know my memory isn’t what it was. In fact, my thought process period isn’t. I made my son read “Tribal Rite of the Stromberg’s” when I asked him twice in two minutes if he took his vitamins. I told him he needed to club me to death with his hockey stick when we got home. He didn’t agree.

There were things I left out of the PT post that I relate to. For one, Carl Jung stated:

Ordinarily we cling to our past and remain stuck in the illusion of youthfulness. Being old is highly unpopular. Nobody seems to consider that not being able to grow old is just as absurd as not being able to outgrow child’s size shoes. A still infantile man of thirty is surely to be deplored, but a youthful septuagenarian-isn’t that delightful? And yet both are perverse, lacking in style, psychological monstrosities.

As this quote indicates, Jung, someone I admire and consider genius, frowns upon behaving young as you grow old, and believes one should embrace their stages of life. It is similar to what Brooks wrote in his article. Too often we try to hold on to youth, rather than accepting our stage (which needn’t be so dreaded). Brooks identified Indian ashramas, and as I mentioned in the post, the latter ones are focused on building eulogy virtues, giving back, and nurturing the next generation.

In another book I read, I saved a quote to my desktop. It discusses the last stage of life, where the individual is actually considered legally dead (though not), can’t enter into contracts etcetera, cuts ties with family and society, and becomes a wondering recluse. Brooks left out this ashrama, lol. I don’t think I’m ready for that stage just yet (though sometimes I profess to be). But I find it intriguing. I tell people that’s how I want my life to end.

Regardless, aging is difficult. A workout partner of mine and I consistently joke about it, when sending workouts or explaining a latest injury inhibiting full participation. I’ve gotten better at realizing my age, being mindful of it at least, of late, if not accepting it. As I’ve said previously, everything is easier on paper. But it is about progress, not doing everything perfectly.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, August 24th, 2019 at 2:59 PM and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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