01 Mar Are you Aging or Getting Old
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
-George Bernard Shaw
If we are going to talk about getting “old” we have to talk about thoughts. Thoughts are automatic. Our environment stimulates them and we listen to them as though they are the truth. Most of us don’t think, we have thoughts. And when we listen to them as though they are true, our thoughts have us. When we believe ourselves to be our thoughts then these thoughts determine our reality. So if you think you are old, then you are.
If you believe that at a certain age that you are “old” then when that age shows up you start operating as if you are because you believe the thoughts that you are old and you start looking for evidence to prove those thoughts right.
If you are living your life in the current moment, then this is all there is. And if there are aches and pains in this moment or your muscles aren’t as flexible as they once were, it doesn’t immediately become proof to you that you are getting old. There is a great song by Toby Keith called, “As Good as I Once Was.” There is a line in the chorus that says, “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.”
There is no reason that you can’t keep getting better at what you do. Age supports that. Your reasonable mind tells you all the good reasons why you should give up what you like to do because you are getting “older.” If you listen to your thoughts, they determine your life. You are not your thoughts.
Of course, in the case of professional athletes, there comes a time when their physical abilities will peak and then decline – but their sense of themselves doesn’t have to decline along with their physicality. If you consider yourself to be your productivity or your physical strength and that declines, then likely you will consider yourself to be less. You are still a perfect you, just the way you are.
If you are looking for evidence that you are getting “old” you will find it. We all age. That is one of the limitations of being human on planet earth. Or perhaps it is one of the privileges of being human on planet earth. Along with age can come wisdom, experience and mastery. If you resist the aging process however, then (First Principle) your life will become encased in a bubble of “how do I feel today” and you will likely focus on your aches and pains. If, however, you simply include how your body is moving and feeling (Third Principle), then your physical state is simply a fact in this moment, not pointing to old age, or any age at all.
Consider this: This year people returned from one or two weeks in Costa Rica as part of our immersion courses there and virtually everyone felt younger and more alive yet they were chronologically older than before they left. Hmmm. Perhaps looking at your life without judging what you see, true listening, communicating, honesty, surrounding yourself with people who have a commitment to what is possible may just be the fountain of youth.