Over the Thanksgiving weekend I opened a text message from a friend I hadn't seen in over 10 years. Attached to the message was a nice photo of him and his daughter, who was a baby when I last saw them. Part of his message read, "getting older." It was great to hear from him, but later I started thinking about his "getting older" comment. Was it a small lament about the passing years?
To have a good quality of life I think we must have a healthy attitude about ageing. The idea that we somehow are frozen in time and never change is unrealistic. We all change, we all age - and how we deal with these changes is important.
I think that part of accepting our age comes from being in the moment. In group clients often talk of what they did 20 years ago. They will refer nostalgically to when they were in the military or college. To me these reflections are at times an escape from the present – of not accepting where we are at the moment. We reflect upon when it seems we were healthier, happier or more functional – a time when life maybe had more meaning. But my response to these kinds of reflections is "what are you doing now?" To me, the healthy way to deal with aging is to live life to the maximum - today.
I have a relative who, when we talk about exercise, starts reciting how many push-ups he could do 25 years ago. Or how much weight he could lift in those years. But being a jerk, I ask him "how many push-ups can you do right now?"
What we used to do is a reflection from our past – but what am I doing right now?