Last week at the chiropractor we ventured into the topic of what age is too old and making changes no longer works.
Not surprisingly, this was a bit of a one-sided conversation.
Her practice is founded in the idea that at every age, health is developed and you can find ways to thrive in every decade of life.
My outlook is we should go out on top, like great athletes and hit TV shows.
Only “on top” is reached many decades down the road, all the while showing up and allowing our true selves shine through.
That elusive Fountain Of Youth we’d all like to bottle is sourced from being ever more full of ourselves in everything we do.
As with many great conversations, further ponderings were sparked on such things as the nature of transformation, our perceptions of age and the blurring speed of time passing.
We gain young eyes once again as we watch kids grow up. There’s an eager anticipation for each milestone to be reached in the progression through infancy, toddler, childhood, adolescence and young adult.
First smile, first steps, first words, first grade, first sleepover, first date, first car, first apartment and all the other firsts in between.
Certainly not a bed of roses in every moment, but remain by their side, offering encouragement to keep moving over hurdles and past failures until the next breakthrough is reached.
Then someday, somehow (and sometimes somewow) we become “adults.”
The end has begun.
Typical thinking views life as a linear function to slide across.
Or a hill to climb and slide down.
But our growth doesn’t end in some nebulous abyss of “adulthood” highlighted by a few benchmarks of marriage, kids, retirement, then death.
As young adults we were experts at being young. We knew the ropes and where we came from.
In becoming an adult we’re faced with not fully knowing all that lays ahead.
We’ve entered infancy again (albeit equipped with a few more abilities than our first passage through this stage).
Our focus returns to the basics of learning the skills to manage the responsibilities of being an adult.
Groceries, bank accounts, repairs, full time jobs, loan payments, saving, relationships and even raising babies suddenly lands squarely on our shoulders to manage.
Our progression through adulthood leads us once again through the stages towards being young adults again.
A level of comfortableness is reached in our day to day lives, making our way through transitions, encompassing what we’ve been through, and finding ways to manage what’s thrown our way from left field.
Suddenly we’re facing retirement or another situation causing a shift in our identity away from how we’ve come to know ourselves.
We’ve crossed into being seniors.
And learning the ropes of infancy again.
What becomes apparent is instead of aging from beginning to end as a line, we continually emerge in a spiral (see possible breakdown).
From this perspective we aren’t on a straight line to the end.
We’re continually emerging into our next greatest level … with a familiarity of what is to come and integrating where we’ve been into something even more.
The older we become, the more equipped we are to show up and bring more of who we are to what we are called to do.
Retirement is a concept of work, not of ourselves.
The Fountain Of Youth is more like a geyser springing upwards.
We have no choice but to go out on top because that’s where we’ll end up regardless.
The next logical step then, is taking a closer look into the signs of emerging.
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