I don’t think that age is personal. I know it feels like it is ‘me’ that is getting older, but I don’t experience myself as older. If anything, I experience my ‘self’ as being ‘better’ than at any time I can remember over the past 66 years. I feel more ‘alive’, more engaged, more present and more satisfied than ever. It is true that my body can’t run, wrestle or climb as easily as in the past. I make love more often than in the best moments of my youth and, best of all, I am experienced enough to enjoy it more. While age is always relative, I can’t really think of anything about being my age that isn’t wonderful. Moreover, I am looking forward to every day being the best yet.
The truth is that I have won the lottery of life. I am happy.
So why don’t people speak as if getting older is the best news around? Why do people have so many strategies for resisting that they are aging and that, yes, eventually they will explore the great unknown? Are they trying to control the process of life or are they simply in denial?
Since we can’t control aging (in spite of all our efforts), we have the same choice we always have when we aren’t in control. We can either surrender or resist. Resistance leads to some variety of suffering based on the belief that reality ‘should be’ different than it is. Surrendering is not the same as ‘giving up’ or succumbing. It is choosing reality as it is—a surrender that leads to serenity.
So today, I am living fully and age is transparent, a non-conversation. I am not taking my age personally and I’m choosing to interpret others’ deference to my years as their appreciation for who I am (rather than as their response to how old I am). The point is that we have a choice in how we interpret life: the more we can cultivate acceptance of ourselves (including our age), the more we can create satisfaction in every moment.