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.