Dear Dr Brilliant Cliché
How should one deal with getting old? It’s not about mid-life crisis or emptied nest syndrome. A friend of mine is turning 50 years old. 1/2 of her life is over. It’s like reaching the peak in life. Her body is changing; she is not as pretty as she was when she was young. Basically, she is starting to have low self esteem. What is the positive outlook of aging besides getting senior citizen discounts? How can she deal with her self esteem?
First we must acknowledge that self awareness mixed with growing old and eventual death can really suck. Beside the fact that humans are edible to various carnivores, bacteria, and bugs it is one of life’s cruelest ironies.
Sidestepping the suck factor, there are a number of ways that humans deal with it. Distractions and healthy denial are two tools. She needs to have enough things in her life to keep her mind busy and distracted and to make her time meaningful to her. All things are relative. If she’s helping the starving melatonin saturated children in Africa she won’t waste the energy fretting about what she looks like. Your friend probably has way too much time on her hands to even worry about these things.
I asked a 15 year old client of mine the other day, “How’s life?” She said, “I am using it up.” She is waiting. Waiting for things to change to something or someone she claims she has never seen, thought about or tried to conjure.
Don’t forget to add great parking spots to your list of geriatric benefits.
Dr. Brilliant cliché
The Granny Doctor begs to differ about the “growing old sucks” thing. She has had a very different experience. The 50’s are when life starts! That is, if you are looking to be a person and not a bimbo draped on some bozo’s arm.
But let’s talk turkey. The thing that is the worst about growing old is the infirmity of the flesh. We lose our skin elasticity and become more susceptible to illness and disease. However, that is only if you let things run their “natural course”.
Granny is going to give you a little lesson right now. There is a principle of the universe that she believes should be taught in elementary school, along with the three R’s: The Law of Seven. A concept based on ancient sufi knowledge and re-explored by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky in the 19th and 20th centuries, it is illustrated most simply by the Octave. In music, in order to get from A to the octave above A, there will always be two spots at which the vibration of the notes slow down. These are the half steps in a major scale. In life, the same thing happens. When you try to get from one point to the next, the vibration of your intent will slow down at least twice. In order to continue in a straight line to your goal, it is up to you to supply the extra energy to bring the vibrations up to speed again. If you do not, you will veer just slightly from your course and start again. The vibration slow down will come again. Again, you will veer slightly. Before you know it, you have gone around in a circle or ended up way off your mark. This explains how the Catholic Church could begin an ecclesiastic reform that ended up instead as a witch hunt. And it explains why most people just can’t make things happen. When the vibrations slow down in their intent, they veer. Americans are most excellent at veering since they expect everything to be handed to them on a silver platter with no effort on their part.
Aging is nothing but the Law of Seven in action. The vibrations are slowing down as you go from birth to death. If you accept and submit to the slow down you will begin a downward spiral that leads to infirmity and a wheelchair. If you take it upon yourself to supply the extra energy, the vibrations will speed up again. This energy can come from many things- interests in life, new skills, charity, travel… The fact is, we are only as old as we allow ourselves to feel.
The Granny Doctor doesn’t look nearly as good as she did in her 20’s, but she wouldn’t exchange what she has learned and the experience and skills she has gathered for anything. When her joints started going, she added daily yoga to her routine. When her shape started changing, she honed her diet and developed a better exercise routine. She has managed to stay the same size she was in high school. Anyone can do this if they open their eyes and look around. For just about any liability of age, there is a routine you can superimpose to improve the condition. Plus, you should have a lot more time to explore your options than you did when you were younger!
You can’t stop age, and we will all die. But the quality of your life is not determined by your circumstances. As Dr. Cliché often says, we are all responsible for our own happiness. If you focus on the negative, your life will be negative. If you focus on supplying that extra energy, you will continue on your path.
Nobody expects you to look like a model when you are old. It takes a lot of pressure off. You are still perfectly capable of learning and doing new things. Revel in the dignity and clout of your age. In time, you will learn to love it. We are creatures of habit. You are in the habit of being young. Get into the habit of being an elder. You may be surprised at how great it can be.