From Age-ing to Sage-ing

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At 55, I am beginning to feel the tides turning a bit. While my younger days are in the rearview mirror, I still see a significant amount of road to travel yet, but it seems as if the velocity at which I am traveling through these years has kicked up a notch. I recently told my husband I don’t feel as if I spent enough time in my youth.

Each day became a blur in the years spent juggling a career, advancing my education, tending to my marriage and raising three boys. Recently, I have realized I need to take a look around a bit, do a life assessment of sorts, come to terms with where I am and determine how I want to navigate the remaining years of my life.

With September recognized as Healthy Aging® Month, I decided to calculate how many days I would have left on Earth if I live to be 100 years of age. As I write this article, I have 16,163 days with which to work. I’d better get busy! Care to join me?

If you think you’re too old to re-invent yourself, think again. Don’t get stuck in a mindset that you can’t start a new career or a business, engage in a new sport, pursue a new hobby, or make good use of that passport. Believe it or not, there are some exciting and positive benefits of growing older. This is the perfect time to focus on your physical, mental, social and financial well-being. In some circles, this is referred to as sage-ing, which is a new way of aging.

As we age, we don’t have to fall into the mindset that life has lost meaning and purpose for us. Through the idea of sage-ing, we can begin to look at life in a new way, harvesting the wisdom we have acquired over the years and then offering that wisdom to future generations as our legacy. We can also take the time to give back to others through selfless acts of service. As we give back with humility and grace, we begin to realize continued personal growth. This serves to strengthen human relationships while simultaneously benefiting the communities we serve. In other words, this is a great time to learn, discover, give back and be of service to others.

If you feel you have been hit with a lack of motivation and ambition, it’s time to reconsider what lies ahead of you. As we shift from one season of life to another, it’s natural to experience feelings of sadness, nostalgia and concerns for what is in store for us in the coming years. It can also be a time for rediscovering who we are. Ambition may be the primary fuel that propels the younger generations, but at this time in your life, you have room for something even better: emerging as a new soul. You can focus on who you are rather than on simply working or doing something for a purpose other than your own. Your purpose can be found in sharing who you are with others and what you know and have learned.

When we recognize the benefits of healthy aging, we are reminded it is the perfect time to take control of our health or to get started on something new. If you are behind on your routine health check-ups, get those scheduled. If you have always wanted to take swimming lessons, learn to play the piano or take a painting class, just do it! If you are lonely, invite a friend to lunch or do some volunteer work, especially if it involves working with younger people so you can keep up with current trends and technologies.

Just because you may be a certain age, you don’t have to act it. Recall how you felt when you were younger and remember those feelings. Stand taller; smile more. Walk with confidence and develop an upbeat mindset. This will move the needle of negativity about aging into a more positive direction and, as a result, will help you feel younger.

As time moves you through your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond, you may begin to discover the excitement in the simpler things in life: being with your grandchildren, reading a good book, exploring new avenues, rekindling old friendships and asking yourself what you truly want to do. Aging does not have to be a negative concept. Instead, consider it an invitation to a new way of life, one that is more fulfilling and exciting in unique and different ways. You may discover opportunities, talents and passions you never knew were possible for you. Aging is not about losing your youth; it is, as David Bowie said, “an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.” ■