My father lived to be 100. He might still be alive, if he hadn’t fallen and broken his hip while playing kickball with 10-year-olds at age 99.
To his final days, he lived life to the fullest, with joy and a ready smile and wink for younger women. His main struggle, in his last years, was accepting the changes in his body and mind.
Our society has become much too obsessed with the negative aspects of aging. We worship at the shrine of youth. Try telling a 20-year-old that death awaits us all – the response is likely to be a vacant smile and a distracted nod as the young whippersnapper careens off to the mall.
For young people, age seems an aberration, a disease, something unnatural and even inappropriate.
And, you know, viewed from their perspective, they’re perfectly right! It’s exhilarating to live for the moment. But it’s also ironic that while young people pretend to living in the “now,” they’re constantly anticipating the next big thrill – living in the future.
Being present and living in the moment is a skill that generally comes with great maturity – and it’s a vital key to inner happiness. But we cannot really live in the moment unless and until we are open and able to accept the inevitability of change.
A wise – old! – Greek sage named Heraclitues said, “We never step twice in the same river.” Everything in the created cosmos is in flux. Everything about us – our thoughts, feelings, and even our cells is ever-changing, moving, evolving, waxing and waning.
Rigid resistance to change is the cause of a great deal of unhappiness – it leads to depression, withdrawal, loneliness, resentment, bitterness, and worse.
True maturity has been defined as the ability to accept and adapt to our circumstances, including the people in our lives, exactly as they are. The ability to adapt gracefully to change brings positive, proactive, constructive feelings.
People with finely honed adaptation skills tend to have a healthier mindset with fewer symptoms of depression. They are able to embrace and enjoy all the seasons of their lives.
Accepting change is subtly different from adapting to change. Being comfortable with the unknown is extremely challenging. The key is to learn to let go – to accept that our lives are inevitably going to force us to let go of the old and welcome the new.
History – the world’s and our own – is the story of the battle between forces of light and darkness, of dynamic, positive forces, against rigidity, contraction, and despair. Change is life.
Viewed from the highest perspective, every change brings with it fresh opportunities, although we may not be able to recognize them in the moment.
Adapt and survive! Try to view the changes in your life as joyful challenges and opportunities to expand your heart into a greater awareness. Change was meant to make us strong and happy.
To learn more about Dr. Marcel’s work, click HERE.