AGING & THE WESTERN MIND©
How we think, what we believe, the environment we live, has been proven to determine the reality we experience. Scientists such as Dr Bruce Lipton & many others, have shown that how we spend our 20s, 30s & 40s, & the beliefs we held in those years, determines how we will spend the rest of our lives: either in sickness or health. Either in growth where we thrive, or with a need to protect ourselves, always looking to the next attack or someone/thing to blame & distrust.
The topic of aging is one I've been passionate about for as long as I can remember, partly because of working with the elderly during my nurses training after of high school & then later working in extended care as a nurse in Vancouver, Canada; but more so due to the fact that when I was about 10, my dad's sister-in-law became senile in her early 50s & I knew it was because she never left the house & never exercised her brain. However, the biggest impact came from something my dad said to me when I was 17 after we had been to visit his brother in a nursing home. My dad said, "I never want to end up like that. You work your guts out your whole life only to end up useless & in a place where others take care of you." My dad didn't end up in a nursing home, but what he clearly felt about getting old, becoming useless, worthless & decrepit stuck with me & I too felt determined to not end up like my aunt or uncle, & especially not like those I had nursed in extended care. People who seemed lifeless, with little or nothing to live for, alone with no family who ever came to visit them. They had been placed in extended care & forgotten about, it seemed. Many of them were also senile in their 50s, which didn't seem right. And when they could no longer feed themselves they simply starved to death. Is that really a respectful way to treat our elderly parents? Is that what we have to look forward to as we age? What happened in the West that we don't value our Elders, that we put them away, out of sight & out of mind rather than living in extended families communities, where we care for our aging parents as other cultures live? Is it a side effect of our ego driven culture, where everything is outside of me, I need more, more, more & have no time for what really matters in life, my family & the people I love & who love me?
There are experiments dating back to the early 1980s that show how beliefs can change one's perception of aging, but one of the best examples I read from one of Dr Deepak Chopra's books in the 1990s, which is an extraordinary example of possibility, & changed my beliefs about aging. Deepak talked about a tribe in the Andes who believed that the older they got the better they got. They had runners who took messages between villages. Those in their 20s & 30s were much slower & weaker than those in their 40s, but it was those in their 50s who were the strongest & fastest. The exact opposite to our Western belief system & reality. It's a beautiful example of why the Western belief that the older you get the more worthless & decrepit you get is purely a belief, & doesn't have to be our reality.
Just the mere fact that the English language is fixated on the word "old" is detrimental to our health. Why do we ask a child of 2 or 3 "How old are you?" That seed of "old" suggesting, 'less than, undesirable, worthless,' etc, has already been planted in that small child's mind. Other languages ask "what age are you?" or "how many years are you?" Wouldn't it be wonderful if that were also true in the English speaking world as well!
I can't remember who suggested that we choose the ‘ideal number’ we'd like to remain for the rest of our lives, but I chose 33, & when someone asks me "How old are you?" I immediately reply, truthfully, "33!" Now if someone were to ask me "what age are you?" they would get an entirely different response...! But that has never happened, so far.
I taught my sons from when they were tiny, that age is only a number & they could do anything they set their minds to. That anything is possible. They are in their 20s now & I often hear them telling others that "age is just a number..." along with sharing other limitless beliefs they learned in childhood.
My hope is that those who read this will contemplate age, aging & their own reality & make a commitment to, from this moment on, think young & healthy, & declare that you are Ageless & Timeless