At the end of April, I’ll be 65. No biggie. People turn 65 all the time. The past few months, I’ve noticed I’m a bit more tired, things ache more. I call my friends 65 and older and ask” Is this normal? Am I supposed to feel this way? ” and my favorite, “When did you notice you started feeling shitty?” Even Benny is riding this out with me, He’ll be 11. In doggie years, he’s a senior.
The text messages started rolling in,” Sign up for Medicare NOW”. Google must be reading my mind. Every ad on Facebook has silver haired people, dating, and buying retirement homes. The idea of retirement has people traveling, and enjoying a lifestyle without a care of financial stress. It’s a thing of a past, as more of us have to continue to work. Suffice to say, I was a bit down. I am still working, not as much,but I still love what I do. I have tons of experience, I have paid my dues and I still have something of value to offer. Wisdom does come with age and I’d much rather get paid for that. The questions and still fears arose, ” Will I still be relevant? ”
What if I become obsolete?” My dear friend and first ex husband ( I have collected two), assures me, “Laurel you are far too involved to ever become obsolete.” Will they trade me in for a younger model? Well, eventually yes.
To allay my fears, I turned to Ram Dass and his lecture on conscious aging. He talks about the ashramas, the stages of life. At 60 years old you leave your attachments and become a free being. It’s like entering a new ashram. He talks about slowly letting himself feel in to being a senior citizen. In western society we are treated as less than. He talks about his trip to India, and how a friend said he was looking older. In India, older is a sign of respect. It wasn’t the comment that bothered Ram Das, it was his Western conditioning. Something to notice.
A few days ago, a 40 something told me” age is just a number”. ” Sure”, I laughed as I rolled my eyes while swallowing my turmeric for my swollen and aching knee.
The other day I bought a new plant. A Bird of Paradise to be exact. It had some wear and tear. I got it for $5 dollars because it was torn. I felt like the plant, torn but still viable and beautiful. I took my new friend home with the promise to love and care for it. In my research I learned that it may take years for the plant to bloom. It may grow new shoots, but the flower, could take years, and maybe it blooms only once in a life time. That flower only comes with time. This is beginning to feel like the new ashram. Maybe I’m blooming.
One of the people I admire the most is Simon Jordan. He designed my website, and did my branding, always encouraging me to stay true to my self. Simon is the founder of 5 Things Clear, and One Planet One Place. This summer, Simon is swimming the English Channel. Simon wears many hats and this is his way of bringing awareness to the environment. He has begun a rigorous training schedule to make the swim. He is unstoppable. One thing that struck me was Simon’s training sessions with famous swimmers Beth French ( from the film Against the Tides, and Adam Walker, aka The Ocean Walker.
He is teaching Simon how to swim without injury.
Frankly, I was relieved for him when he posted that. What he is doing is unimaginable to me. But, there is a way to navigate these waters, whether it is the channel, or aging without suffering. We are going to have dings, be uncomfortable. Life is a marathon. Unfamiliar waters, sometimes choppy. Both training for the big swim ages and miles apart. He said to me this morning;
“Mind is everything in this challenge, I’m also having to adjust my body to being cold.” Ill take a cue from Simon and substitute the word cold for ” older”. Thanks for always cheering me on, I’ll be rooting for you too, across the pond.
With love, Laurel