Choose How You Age

Most of the weakness and frailty we blame on aging is not due to getting older but to inactivity.”

~Dottie Billington

When I read the quote above earlier this week in Dottie’s book titled, “Life is an Attitude: How to Grow Forever Better”, it leapt off the page at me, because I’ve also heard complaints from people recently about the negative impacts of aging.  These complaints have come in the form of a frustrated resignation that this deterioration is an inevitable part of aging.  I disagree.

Every day we get to choose to either be sedentary or to carve out time in the day to move our bodies.  If we choose one day not to move about or exercise, that single day really won’t have an impact on us.  However, if we decide day after day not to move or exercise, the compounding of those days over month, years, and decades, will certainly have negative impacts on our physical ability as we age. 

Likewise, if we choose to exercise and move every day, the compounding effects of those decisions over months, years, and decades, will have a positive impact on our physical ability in the years to come.

By exercising our bodies (and our minds!) we’re telling ourselves that we need our bodies and minds to be in peak shape, because we plan on using them.  Here’s the cool think, when we train our minds and bodies to be ready for use… they respond!

What encourages me most to reject the assumption that we deteriorate as we get older, is that I’ve seen too much evidence to the contrary in the lives of folks that have been around a lot longer than I have.

I encourage you to reject the false assumption that aging is a downward spiral and that after a certain age, you’re washed.  That statement is only true if you choose to believe it.

So how have you decided that you’re going to age?

Advertisement

Make the Most of the Next 12 Months  

Several years ago I got a birthday card from my co-workers.  It was a nice card filled with kind words of birthday cheer.  Of all the notes written, there was one encouraging message that really stood out.  It simply read, “Make the most of the next 12 months, for you will never be this age again!”

I’d never thought of birthdays like that.  Sure, I know how the calendar works, but I‘d never really considered that we get the privilege of being a certain age for only 12 months.  This encouraging note reminded me that I get to decide how I want to spend the next 12 months of my lives.

It’s easy to think of birthdays as a reminder that we’re getting older, but my co-worker’s wise words continue to remind me that we have a role to play in what we do with the days between our birthdays.  We can choose to become “old” by complaining that we’re getting old, or we can choose to be grateful for the days we have and get about the business of living them well.  It’s absolutely up to us.