Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aging Abundantly

Far too often I find myself brooding about the past or living in fear of the future. Perhaps it's the curse of mid-life. Looking back and looking ahead are now equidistant and tilting quickly toward the end of the rainbow. This precarious position can make us feel more frantic and yet is precisely what gives us our unique perspective. We understand the pitfalls even as we still face so many unknowns. I am convinced that if we are mindful as we enter this phase of our lives, we can use our vantage point to really make a difference.

The trick now is to take all of our mistakes, our pain, our regrets, and rather than wasting time trying to repair or understand them, use them instead as the substance with which to create our future. Rather than saying "what if", or "only if", or "why", in a futile attempt to erase the un-erasable, we instead used these very things as a springboard for aging abundantly, we might just discover the true joy of living.

Our unique experiences have given us everything we need to "pay it forward" and to turn the pain of the past into something meaningful. Did you suffer through 25 years of marriage only to end up in divorce? What did you learn that can help you help other women now? What is the uniqueness of your perspective and your pain? What is the vehicle with which you can turn that pain into joy?

Perhaps you feel as though you've wasted your life climbing a career ladder that seems meaningless now and you wish you'd spent more time with your children. How can you use that loss to give something back to the world and yourself, and make your regret someone's blessing?

The past is the past. The future is always uncertain. But we can make a difference in someone's life and in the process our own. Today we can choose to take only what is useful from the past, set aside our worries about tomorrow and use our unique vantage point to find joy and meaning in the now.


Maureen said...

I just love what you have said. Thank you for inspiring me to rethink my regrets. I will continue to think about what you have written in the essay throughout my day! Maureen (new friend from eHow)

Blindsquirrel said...

Your line about the career ladder rang true for me. How many times did I neglect my family's pesky needs when I was too busy with work? I like your idea of using our regrets to propel us forward to see what is truly valuable and lasting. As I age things become more clear to me too.

Quote of the Day

Martha Beck's Books

Aging Abundantly Tote Bag

Books by Wayne Dyer

Books by Sarah Ban Breathnach

M. Scott Peck

Peck's insight will help even more travelers find their way as they learn to delay gratification, accept responsibility, embrace reality and maintain flexibility.