Life is full of incredible paradoxes. For example, it’s important to know that your failures are not your fault. You did the best with the resources you had available to you at the time. But at the same time, it’s most useful to put the cause of everything that happens in our life inside ourself. This is the paradox of self-compassion vs self-accountability. Or emotion-focused vs solution-focused strategies.
Here’s another paradox, as we get older, we are supposedly in decline. And yet we have the opportunity to learn, grow and this keep getting better!
See the attached chart for example. These are the ages we peak at a range of activities, after which we are statistically speaking in decline.
Except these are only averages and the age at which you have a natural advantage.
If I were to age gracefully, as so many recommend, I would accept the statistics and allow myself to graciously decline over time.
Aging gracefully is for nuns and those who enjoy lawn bowls (damn crazy ‘sport’. I never could make sense of those lopsided balls).
I choose to age disgracefully.
I just refuse to let these expectations define me.
I’m 38 now, and I’m getting better every year.
I’m way better at remembering names now than when I was 22. Although I’ve had to work at it.
I eat better and treat my body way better than I did when I was younger.
I’ve never been married or run a marathon, yet. But there’s still plenty of time.
Thanks to personal development work I’m now more satisfied with life than ever before.
And thanks to climbing I’m now the strongest and fittest I’ve ever been.
I’m also the slimmest I’ve ever been. (Sure it helps that I wasn’t sporty as a youngster and was quite overweight most of my youth. It’s easy to keep posting an upward trend when your numbers started so poorly. But the numbers aren’t what’s important here.)
What’s important is the growth mindset.
The commitment to continual learning, expansion, and improvement.
And the refusal to go quietly into the night!
I choose to face the often bleak reality of what’s going on in the world equipped with my experience, my EQ, my energetic vibration and a freshly-ironed pair of big boy pants. But at the same time honour my inner-child who just wants to retain his innocence and sense of curiosity, adventure and play. Another great paradox.
And yes I know that I’m already enough, that I’m already perfectly imperfect and entirely lovable. But I am also driven to keep bettering myself. One of my favourite paradoxes to wrestle with.
Because ultimately, if you aren’t growing, you’re dieing. And I’m not ready to go out like that.
Those older than I are going to tell me I’m still young. I get that. Others may chuckle to themselves, and just sit back and wait to see how long it takes before I lose my fight and have to surrender to the universe and find a more graceful path.
I’m not against that. I definitely want to age like a fine wine in a cool cellar not like a stubby cracked open and left in the sun. But I refuse to become complacent, or disengage, and just let age take me. I refuse to be a statistic and let that limit me. I refuse to be at affect. This I will not be graceful about.
I choose to age disgracefully. Who’s with me??
Let’s Peter Pan this sh*t all the way to age 120!