My neighbor and good friend is moving to an apartment without stairs in another city where there’s a better environment for retirees and a more laid-back lifestyle. She tells me that she is ‘slowing down’. I am sure she is making the right decision for her—stairs have become difficult following hip surgery last year. And I am sure she knows that our choice of wording reveals
some of the bias hidden in our cultural predisposition to the
To be sure, we hear a lot of people declaring that they’re slowing down. Yet, I wonder what ‘slowing down’ really means? Is it a lack of physical energy? Is it a loss of interest in various activities that used to interest us? Is it lethargy? Is it boredom? Does ‘slowing down’ happen to us as some inevitable consequence of aging?
I believe our thinking and conversation pretty much defines our view of reality. And our view of reality pretty much defines our commitments and what we do, which in turn defines what we think and say about our reality—perpetuating either a vicious cycle or a self-fulfilling belief system. So if we say we are slowing down, then sure enough, we slow down.
I wonder what would happen if our expectation was that we were ‘speeding up’. Actually, I think it is closer to the truth: at least for me, time seems to be passing faster.
My point is that we have a choice about how we view our ‘reality’ and, therefore, how we relate to the future. If our expectation is that we will slow down, we will. My friend could have said (as I am sure she would have 30 years ago) that she was feeling the ‘blahs’ or just feeling disconnected—instead she chose a metaphor loaded with implications for growing older. “Oh, oh—I am slowing down. Time to move to a retirement setting.” The point I would like to share with everyone engaged in this conversation about transforming the paradigm in which we are aging is simply this:
The future is our choice.