We have all heard the platitude, “youth is wasted on the young.” At certain point in our life, if we are blessed enough to cross the threshold of 35 years old, the unstated norms begin to seep into our subconscious that we are, in fact, old; this is despite how we may feel. Or that by society’s standards, we are at the half way mark to retiring.
A few years ago, I was in a doctor’s office with a good friend of mine discussing the things I wanted accomplished by the time I was 30 years old when you are “unofficially old” but are almost put out to pasture (at least) by the advertising industry’s target market standards. A woman couldn’t help but overhear our conversation and said to us, “if you have already begun to think of yourself as old, what will you think of yourself when you are in your 80’s like me?” What she said to us was profound. It is impossible to avert the ways in which society begins to subtly and overtly shape our perspective on age – which is like the a boogie man pursuing you and gaining on you. Our looks, relevance, usefulness and capabilities will be called into question (in that exact order). Therein, lies a different “ism” we will experience at some point in our lives, should we get to live long. This “ism” will span all the ways we can categorize ourselves. Much like illness, aging is indiscriminate. And like death and taxes, aging is inevitable and we will have to deal with it in some regard. So why not start now?
Blessing or Curse?
Examining how we feel about aging is a good idea because it is important to develop our own perspective on a phase of life that we will eventually experience. When we were children, we thought about when we “grow up” but most of us as adults, do not give enough thought about when we “grow old” … retirement maybe something a lot of us think about and put money away toward that rite of passage, but we don’t really think about how we will fill out our day or what our roles and purposes will be. Why is this important? Having a role and purpose is crucial to filling out your day and we all need a reason to get up in the morning. Start the conversation with yourself and contemplate what that might look like for you. If you would like to have that conversation with me or if you are interested in exploring life mapping options, feel free to reach out.
It feels like our society is grounded as we address the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us must self quarantine at this time. All the things that fill out our day causing us to be “too busy” are suspended at the moment. Whilst this has never before occurred – at least not in my 4.1 decade life span, it’s hard to commit to any one emotion at any given time. Many of us are experiencing fear and anxiety as we recognize this is beyond our control.
What Can We Do?
Aside from following directions of self quarantining – staying home and practicing preventive measures like washing hands and clothes etc., we can really take advantage of this sabbatical by doing the things that we complained we never had time to do. Rather than firing up that Fire Stick or binge watching Netflix the entire time, we can choose to make memories with out loved one by spending real quality time with them. We can check in and catch up on what has been going on in each other’s lives. We can spring clean or read a book or two. Try to learn something new – a recipe or perhaps a language. YouTube has so many free tutorials. Take advantage!
Or, maybe, just maybe we can rest and relax … take naps and enjoy our surroundings. These are very simple every day luxuries most of us are not afforded normally. A nice hot bath or a long foot soak can do wonders for well being.
Something positive can come out of all this. Although we are being socially distant, we don’t have to be emotionally distant. Although we cannot go to our favorite places, it doesn’t mean that we cannot go places in our minds with a great book or have fun at home with the people we love. Grounding society can ground us, if we let it. Every now and again it’s good to take stock of who and what really matters to you. What matters gives you purpose – the reason why you run the rat race to begin with. We can get caught up in it, it’s easy to lose sight of why we are are doing it in the first place. We have an opportunity to ground ourselves – don’t waste it. Be Well.
Bad habits are the termites in our success. Bad habits can essentially weaken, or ultimately destroy our progress, success and generally rob us of peace, happiness and fulfillment. None of this is truly profound. We are all well aware of this. Yet, we continue on engaging in certain bad habits that essentially lead us away from our goals.
Bad habits are bondage. We are enslaved to them despite being conscious of the negative or fruitless impact they have on us. It could be a relationship we know we should end. It could be smoking, binge drinking, or worse. It could be excessive spending, eating, or staying up way too late. Whatever it is in our personal lives, we are fully aware that this behavior is simply not going to get us anywhere, positive at least. In order to change anything, it is imperative to change the way we think about it. When a bad habit influences the general outcome of our lives in a negative and damaging way, and we continue to engage in it – it is essentially not just a bad habit, but bondage. We are no longer freely making a decision, but are being self-destructive against our better judgment despite being well aware of the outcome; despite the pain and damage it causes every time, we are compelled to repeat this self- destructive pattern.
It can be easier to justify a bad habit when it isn’t overtly socially unacceptable like cigarette smoking, illicit drugs, or an abusive relationship; in which case, perhaps doing a quick mental check list can help you discern whether this bad habit is bondage.
Every time I do it, how does the outcome make me feel?
How does it affect my life and those around me?
Does it set me back in any way?
Am I ashamed of it?
Do I gain anything positive?
We all struggle in one area or another with a bad habit or two. As we get older and shoulder more responsibilities and have to contribute more in interpersonal relationships, these bad habits can get in the way of areas in our lives being successful and healthy. Are there any bad habits you struggle with?