Growing older takes its toll on people, but frankly, that’s mostly a matter of mindset. I was at dinner on Christmas Eve with a group of people where I was the youngest, at fifty. This was a vibrant group of active people who still do bike tours of Europe, write and edit books, travel the world, and take on big challenges like running half marathons with three weeks training.
Inspiration and life lessons are all around us if we pay attention. The lesson I took away was that it’s about defining the challenge in a way that makes it interesting and achievable to you.
I know I have to be pointed in the right direction. I have to be focused on the right things and I have to be looking in the right locations to find my goals. If I’m not starting my day with some positive direction, if I’m not ready to be teachable and listen to the good messages, then I’m probably going to have a day of wandering aimlessly.
We have so many negative things that just bombard us throughout the day, that if we don’t start with some defenses, it’s easy to just wallow in the muck and bemoan how bad everything is.
I’m not saying it’s easy to maintain an optimistic outlook, it’s not. But it is necessary.
We all have reasons to feel bad about ourselves, we have old hurts that we haven’t let go of, things like the first time we ask someone out and they reject us. These sorts of events determine the attractiveness of the next person we ask out, or if we ask someone out at all. But generally we don’t let them stop us, we move on.
We have older hurts from mom and dad, words they said in haste that we’ve never forgotten or the converse, those moments when a parent loses patience and says things they regret and will never forget. Things we need to let go of and move on from.
But what we need to do is clear the memory. Reprogram the computer in such a way that we are able to see a newer, bigger, brighter future, and set some definite goals that are achievable. It’s like climbing stairs, one at a time. And a flight of stairs is easy, try and do it all in one big leap…not so easy.
Now, there are a ton of ways to reprogram your computer these days. We have healers and therapists, emotions coaches, bodywork specialists who remove our hurts, Reiki masters and inspirational and motivational life coaches like me.
And then there are those stories of extraordinary lives that make you sit up and take notice, like Tao Porchon-Lynch. At 87, she fell and broke her hip. As a lifelong yoga instructor, she wanted to get back to it, but her doctors told her that she had to slow down, that her body couldn’t take that kind of workout anymore. Six years later, at age 93, she was on a trip to India and sent a picture to her doctors of herself, in full lotus position, levitating on her fingertips, in front of the Taj Mahal. Today, at 98, she’s not only still teaching a dozen yoga classes a week, and has written her autobiography, she’s also entering and WINNING dance competitions with her 23-year old dance partner.
I am inspired by anyone who can do a full lotus, let alone at 93, in India, after breaking her hip. Life is not about the challenges we face, those will come whether we want them to or not. Life is about how we take on the challenges, and what we set for ourselves as personal goals in spite of the challenges that we have no choice in facing.
It’s all a matter of attitude and focus and effort.
Set yourself a challenge and get to work on it. Find a partner to help you reach your goal, and you’ll find it is much easier to achieve. When you get discouraged, and you will, remember the 98-year old yogi, and then tell me what you can’t do.
Photo credit: Getty Images