Category: Aging

Stronger and Wiser

Stronger and Wiser

What caught my eye was a butterfly sweeping past the purple zinnia and on to the morning glories. It landed on a leaf, not a flower. I wondered why. Aren’t butterflies supposed to land on flowers, not leaves?

The thought stayed in my head a while longer, as I flipped open my phone to take a photo of the beautiful butterfly. It flew away and onto another zinnia. I couldn’t get close enough without disturbing this gentle creature.

I have spent years studying the call of the natural instincts of the human being. I sometimes spend hours imagining what people do when things happen to them. Give me a scenario and I will try to project what will happen. It’s like writing a story with a cast of characters in which you know all the histories of the characters. It’s fairly easy to know how they will react. Or is it?

Do we know when someone will snap? I went to see the movie “Bernie” last night. The main character is a funeral director. He gets involved with a very mean older lady who first takes him all over the world to travel with her, then manipulates him until he ends up murdering her. The entire town exonerates Bernie to the point the district attorney has to move Bernie’s murder trial because he feels like the DA won’t get a conviction in the hometown. How could an entire town love a person so much that they would deny the fact he had shot an old woman in the back 4 times and killed her? It’s a true story. Go figure.

Humans don’t act the way we expect. Not ever. When I was writing novels, I would prepare myself with the history of the character and provide situations for the characters, then let the characters lead me through the story. The fiction never expressed as I expected. The characters were so developed they would jump off the page and say, “I’m going to punch that bitch.” Or someone angry and mean would suddenly have a breakthrough moment and learn to forgive. Even in fiction predicting was impossible.

What is possible is to take something that has happened to a person and help that person through to the next step forward in his/her life. Thank God this is possible because action is required to move our lives forward. There is always something that will make a life move in a positive direction. I guess, that’s the most important thing to remember when you feel like you have had a bad time of it and are traveling into the negative.

Take a deep breath and begin to think of one thing that is positive in your life. Just one. The grass is green. My chair is comfortable. I like the show “The Big Bang Theory.” I enjoy riding my bike.

Anything that is positive. Then, I bet you can think of a few more positive things after that. Even in your worst pain, you can see that all around you, not much has changed in the way of the positive things in your life. You still have friends who love you, family, maybe a car that you like, a secret place that you like to visit and be quiet in, a favorite aerobics or yoga class. When heartache hits you, it doesn’t usually hit the entire world. It just hits you. So, you can look around and see that if you really want to, you can join back into the world whenever you’re ready, one step at a time. One moment at a time.

I remember a time in my life when I was just devastated from a breakup. I didn’t think that I could move past just doing what I had to do to get by: get up, work, go to sleep. That was it. Everything else was filled with emotional breakdowns and the why me’s!

Well, after about a month of that kind of behavior, friends trying to help me get out and get back into life, I just about got sick of myself being down. Then it was time to get on with it. I knew it was the right time. I stopped blaming the person or people who made me feel the way I did and start planning a future without them. Some people say that you may even get angry, and that would be a good sign. I take a long time to get angry. For me, in that situation it took 4 years to get angry at the guy who hurt me. And the outcome wasn’t pretty.

One thing I do know is that there are a lot of very good practitioners out there who can help you through your hard times. If you feel inclined, call one of us. Sometimes, it’s good to tell your story and get a good outsider’s point of view. Then, maybe even get a good plan to get back into your life in a healthier way.

All in all, nothing that happens to you is going to destroy you. In fact, the hardest things that have ever happened to me, have become the pearls of wisdom in my life. I think that if you look back into your life, you’ll feel the same. What doesn’t destroy you, makes you stronger and wiser.

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Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully

Almost every day someone says to me, “You are not fifty-one!”

And I say back, “How much do I owe you.” har har “I don’t feel fifty-one, either.” Every day I wake up and people keep getting older around me. And me, I keep looking the same in the mirror, except for a few gray hairs, which really I’ve had since my 20’s.

What’s the secret of feeling young and looking young? For me, I’m sure a lot of it is not having children and grand responsibilities. High anxiety jobs and rearing children can age the youngest of souls. I guess that’s why gay men stay young looking so long. lol

Also, I remember when I was in my twenties I began to care for my skin. I always used face and hand lotion and began getting facials in my thirties. I know that’s helped a lot.

As far as diet goes, I eat a very eclectic mix of healthy and some fun food, but mostly stay in a good balance of healthy food, never really depriving myself of anything I really want. I have been that way my entire life. I just balance everything with exercise.

Exercise has been the same as taking care of my skin. I’ve been a steady exerciser my whole life. The past twenty years I combine a bit of weight lifting with a lot of yoga, which is perfect for my body’s chemistry. There are even specific yoga moves to help keep the years from showing on your body and face. There is an entire series called “The Tibetan Series” that is known for its use to create agelessness. Bet you didn’t know that.

I’d be happy to show you that one, if you’re interested. But you do have to spin like a dervish at the beginning of the exercise.

I guess the last thing that makes me feel young is simply laughing a lot. I grew up with five brothers and sisters in a home that was very tense. We learned young that if we were going to survive, we were going to have to become comedians for each other. We used to play this game called, “Laugh time,” where we would sit in a circle and try to make each other laugh. If you were the one who laughed, you had to get up and be the comedian. So, sometimes we would act completely crazy.

My mother and I still laugh that hard sometimes. I thank God for laughter. I know it heals the soul and probably has been the single most helpful thing that has kept me feeling young.

Take some time today to laugh! And remember, if you feel young, you probably look young too.

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