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Ready or Not, Here I Come!
As the big milestone of turning sixty approaches, I'm feeling more anticipatory excitement than I have at any transition before this. It may seem odd to some that becoming older would be something to anticipate with anything resembling joy, but for me, this is exactly what I'm feeling!
I must confess that turning fifty, forty and even thirty were not nearly so easily, or joyfully approached. But I think much of that had to do with where I was in my life at the time.
Today I'm feeling more optimistic, happier and certainly healthier than at any time in my life prior to this. That, I suppose, is part of why I am able to approach my inevitable aging with this feeling of joy—and not dread.
Perhaps you are facing a milestone birthday, or maybe you are just finding yourself less than thrilled with the life you are living today? Read along with me and see how you might find ways to see the positive in your life and have a bit more optimism in facing the future.
One of the things that I have learned is to see the good in every situation. I've learned that nothing in and of itself is really good or bad. It is how we interpret and deal with all that we experience—not the experiences themselves—that are positive or negative.
We cannot control how people will treat us, but we certainly can control how we respond! Truly, much of our lives are beyond our control, and it is in that knowing this that the magic can really begin. If we are able to recognize our inability to control certain aspects of life, we become free of that energy of always trying to steer this thing called life!
I'm not suggesting that you get out of the driver's seat, sit in the back, and let life just take you over. But, realizing that you have only so much control in so much of the daily minutiae of life is a liberation!
Part of my ability to embrace my aging comes from this ability to recognize that I can't control everything, so I've learned to let go and trust a bit more. For instance, there is no way I can change the reality of turning older, so I have two choices: I can embrace this truth or I can be depressed and unhappy about it. Being depressed about it won't change it; I'll still have a birthday and I'll still keep getting older. By accepting that I am this age and there is nothing to do but get older, I can find the joy that is to be found in aging.
What joy you ask can possibly come from being older?! Well, read along and see!
Loving Your Life at Any Age
When I was much younger I didn't really know what made me happy, though I usually knew what made me unhappy! The distinction may seem minimal but it really is quite a big deal to learn how to be happy!
When we focus only on what we don't like or what makes us unhappy we are pretty stuck in that place of lack. But when we think about all that is good, all that we appreciate we then vibrate at a higher frequency! The frequency of positive energy, and of gratitude.
It really is easy to find something to like about being older. It just takes a positive focus. What we focus on is what we will manifest, so we must always try to focus on the positive in life. In this way, we will manifest more of the same. If you have a negative belief about aging, then you're likely to experience aging in a negative light. However, if you can muster the sense of excitement for all that is waiting just around the corner, aging can be a delightful time! Let's look at life through the decades, starting with the first 10 years.
Life is pretty simple for the person age birth to ten years old. Of course, for the first two years, we are pretty much entirely dependent on another for everything; food, water, shelter and more. And hopefully, we are blessed enough that when we cry out for something to have it taken care of. At this time in life, most unhappiness comes from being told "no" and is short lived. By the end of this decade we may find ourselves at times wishing or longing for the day we can be independent of our parents and "do what we want" but it's a pretty idyllic time of life.
The second decade is harder for some than others. For me, it was a pretty unhappy decade; I didn't really fit in with any group at school so I ended up being a loner. I learned to find self-esteem in some negative ways. Some kids really revel in this decade and become high achievers and move from High School to College with ease. The biggest struggle in this decade is to learn to be independent and to be somewhat self-sufficient. A lot of youth will be eager for the milestone of 21, which has long signaled the sanctioned age to legally consume alcohol and to feel more official and "adult".
The twenties are a decade of self-discovery. One learns to truly become a free agent and a self-supporting person. In our current times, the ability to move out and live away from parents is taking a lot longer due to a tight economy, the cost of education and a lot of other social constraints. This is a decade to make mistakes and learn from them. A lot of people begin to settle down with a mate, and even more in this decade will have children; though not like forty years ago when I was in this age group. I was a parent by this time as were probably 75% of my friends. Today, many people are waiting until their thirties and even forties to take on the task of parenting.
I recall turning thirty and the angst I felt was much less about becoming thirty than leaving the era behind of my twenties. It just felt like such a big leap to me at the time.
In retrospect, my thirties was one of my best decades! I think because by the middle of the decade I had nearly adult children and I also had met the love of my life. It was a happy time; I became a homeowner for the first time and was working as a nurse and making decent money. I also was able to really start traveling in earnest, and took my first trip out of the country!
The thirties for many is a time to really cement what it is to be an adult. This is a time a lot of people are settling in to a career, or maybe seeking a second career. Maybe marrying for the first time, or possibly having divorced and trying marriage yet again. It is a time many begin the process of parenthood or consider if they are going to have children at all.
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Its a time many people begin having enough discretionary income to start traveling more and maybe experimenting with lifestyle choices, like diet, exercise and spirituality. I think this is a pretty stable decade for a lot of people.
The forties can be challenging for many. Just the experience of going from thirty-nine to forty can be very traumatic for many. For me, I was very happy and did not experience turning forty in a negative light. I see this decade as a continuation of the thirties; perhaps deepening into some of the lifestyle choices that were made the earlier decade.
The Later Years Can Be the Best Years!
For many, the decade of the forties is a very happy time, and I was no exception. I married the love of my life and I did a lot more traveling, including a trip to Europe at the tail end of my forties. I continued to thrive in my job as a nurse and was able to continue my education and go further in my career at this time as well.
I had a few personal challenges that made this a more difficult decade than it might otherwise have been, but I grew so much from it all and look back with gratitude at all of those experiences.
Turning fifty was a bit more challenging for me than turning forty only because of some health concerns I was having at that time. But the fifties ended up being a pretty good decade for me overall. I had some struggles and challenges, but I also had some amazing things that happened.
This decade finds many becoming grandparents for the first time, which was true for me! Becoming a grandmother is one of the happiest things to ever happen to me. I also experienced living as an ex-pat for several years; retiring from a 30-year career and finding a new purpose in life.
I think in many ways, the fifties echo the twenties in that sense of creating a life that works. After two or three decades of raising a family, creating a career and making a home, one can often start to find a bit of time for more of what make them happy and give their life meaning.
For me, the fifties has been a time of spiritual discovery which itself has led to so much greater happiness and the lessons that are making me find joy in getting older. Let me share some of that with you so that as you face the next birthday it might be with a bit more joy!
Always Believe Something Wonderful Is About to Happen!
One of the lessons I've learned is to be hopeful. This may sound simple, but it is not always so easy. I have learned that when I anticipate something in a positive, open manner, I'm rarely disappointed and often joyfully surprised! Yet, if I anticipate something assuming the worst, and with dread, often what comes next is unpleasant and disappointing.
Another lesson is to simply be grateful. Again, this sounds very simple and this is actually not difficult at all! I recommend making it a daily practice to express gratitude. When we express gratitude it has a vibrational impact that is very high and it causes positive endorphins to be released and it moves us into a receptive state.
Simply put, the more I express gratitude, the more I find to be grateful for! I began a practice of using a gratitude jar two years ago. On January 1st, and throughout the year, I write on a small slip of paper whatever I am grateful for and date it and put it in the jar. On the next new year, I can sit and read each and every slip and recall all the many things I had to be grateful for in the past year. This single practice has brought me more joy than any other activity I've pursued! It's a game changer, and I hope that you can add this to your daily practice.
Meditation and mindfulness are both very powerful tools as well. During meditation, one can calm and quiet their mind and be in a receptive state to connect with positive energy. It can shift you from depressed and lethargic to energized and hopeful.
I also like to practice yoga, but that is more a personal preference. I think part of my joy as I get older is in being very fit and very healthy. I would say that I'm healthier on the brink of turning sixty than I was at turning sixteen! That may sound like an overstatement, but it is the absolute truth!
At sixteen I was overweight, depressed, lonely and very unsure about who I was or what life was supposed to be. I had little hope and not much energy; physically or mentally.
Today, at nearly sixty, I am at an ideal weight for my age and height, I feel physically strong and healthy; I'm limber and fit and I am happier than ever before. Turning sixty feels so exciting to me as it feels like anything can happen, and it all can be good! I know that this is an age when many start to experience a decline in health, and of course, I have no guarantees that my health will hold out.
But I'm not worried about having a guarantee, and I believe that I am going to be healthy and fit as long as I live.
On the brink of this new decade, I consider all the places that I am going to travel to, all the friends I can enjoy time with, all the new friends I can make and the family that I love. I feel that everything I could possibly hope for is possible! That alone makes it possible to get up every day, even on those challenging days and do my best.
The sky really is the limit in terms of my wish list as I believe that it is all within my grasp. One motto I live by is "If you can see it, you can be it!" So, visualize the best possible life for yourself and see what happens! It just might start shifting you closer to the life you desire. I hope if you have any concerns about your life today, or worries about getting older that this article has been helpful to you.
One thing is certain; you will get older! How you choose to deal with that is up to you.
Martha Montour (author) from Phoenix, Arizona on July 14, 2017:
Dear Chitranganda Sharan, Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I am excited to join you in the sixties very soon!
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 14, 2017:
An excellent motivational hub and I found it so relatable too!
This is because I entered sixty just two months ago and I am just loving it. Whatever age we may be in , we must enjoy it and create new opportunities for ourselves and others around us.
Thanks for sharing this wonderful and insightful hub!
Martha Montour (author) from Phoenix, Arizona on July 13, 2017:
Dear Ava, Thank you for reading and for your very thoughtful comments! In writing my little articles, it is always stuff that is up for me personally but that I think is a common theme for others too. I always hope to shed some light, or give some hope and so thank you for sharing that you are feeling a bit different or better for having read my work. Of course you are the wonderful YOU due to ALL the experiences; even those bad ones.
Ava on July 13, 2017:
This is a lovely piece of writing and it's given me a lot to think about. Whilst I'm lucky to never have stressed about getting older and was fine about celebrating 30, 40 and recently 50th birthdays - I've never stopped and thought what the theme of each decade was. My approach to life now makes it easier to be more forgiving and accepting of my past (painful) experiences. This blog has made me think that I could do with spending som time journaling a more generous reflection on what each decade was for me, and did for me. After all - I am the 'better' person I am now only because of the journey I've taken to get here. Thank you for writing this. x
Martha Montour (author) from Phoenix, Arizona on July 12, 2017:
Dear Dora, Thank you for reading and as always for taking the time to comment. Its nice to see you again!
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 11, 2017:
"Cheerful. Grateful. Hopeful." This is my mantra as I approach 70. I love your attitude and you have given great suggestions to the aging. Best to you going forward.
Martha Montour (author) from Phoenix, Arizona on July 11, 2017:
Thank you Jody for reading and for commenting. I think there is so much to be happy about in the next Act of our lives!
Jody Lee on July 11, 2017:
Another masterpiece. I love your perspective of the decades of our lives. I enjoy the 60's. To me it's a beginning. Looking forward to the next phase, retirement, travel and family.