You’ve heard it before: Only two things in this world are certain. Meaning, Death and Taxes. Actually, there’s another: Ageing. So that makes three certain things all of us are up against.
Though taxes are a sure thing, we can decide not to pay them. However, we can’t choose not to face the unpleasant consequences of that decision. Death is in the cards for all of us, but most of us don’t make the call when our final hand will be played. Ageing is a certainty, so we can’t decide not to do it. It’s happening as we speak. And we can’t do anything about it. Or can we?
Although ageing is inevitable, you can decide to age well. I made that decision on my 40thbirthday, one of the best days of my life. My 50thbirthday was even better. And my 60th birthday, better still. My 70th birthday is only 2.5 years away. Can’t wait!
Turning 40 . . . 50 . . . 60 are milestones unlike any other. Just ask those who’ve been there. Most will tell you that turning 40 is a big deal; turning 43 isn’t. Turning 50 is huge; turning 56 isn’t. Turning 59 is pretty big because you’re almost 60, which can’t possibly be true. After all, you’re just a large kid, which is why you get balloons on your milestone birthdays. However, they’re black. And they’re signed by someone named “Over the Hill.” Not only that, helpful friends place clacking dentures on your desk. With glee, they replace your office chair with a wheelchair that, like you, has travelled oh, so many miles.
Later that day, relatives gather at your home and toast your very long life. The ceremonial birthday cake is presented, candles blazing like a 5-alarm fire. You open the “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better” birthday cards . . . ha ha! . . . all signifying a warm welcome to the Over the Hill Club from those who are already there.
The much-younger-than-you in the room observe the festivities from their own planet. After all, 40 is a world away; 50 is what it must mean to be dead. You watch the young’uns watching you and wondering what it’s like to be that old. Would they stop wearing jeans? Start wearing polyester expando pants? Stop wearing cool, black leather boots? Start wearing brown orthopedic shoes with those short, thick heels? Would they, too, perm their hair and wear it like a helmet on their shrunken heads? Never!
“Although ageing is inevitable, you can decide to age well. I made that decision on my 40th birthday, one of the best days of my life. My 50th birthday was even better. And my 60th birthday, better still. My 70th birthday is only 2.5 years away. Can’t wait!”
You want to take the much-younger-than-you aside and tell them you’re on a roll. That you’re making a comeback the likes of which they’ll never, ever, see again.That your years are a gift to your spirit and theirs, if they’re listening. That you look forward to being older than everyone else thinks you are. That you finally found the courage to be all you’re meant to be. That your lips speak bolder truths than they did back then and it feels so, SO good! That, thanks to your years, you can see around life’s corners. That you throw caution to the wind, open all your car windows and let your hair blow around. That you enjoy eating life and savouring its smells. That the mistakes you’ve made left lesions in your heart and yet, you’re still here. That your life stands for something. That you . . . YOU! . . . are now the master of big and little, joyous and painful lessons learned.
You want all this to be true. But you’re not there yet. So you grin and nod and laugh along with the merry jokesters. And you acknowledge, only to yourself, that it can be really lonely out here, on the road to the rest of your life. Just look around. You’re surrounded by aliens on sensory overload. Wired in every conceivable and inconceivable way, they share their inner and outer selves on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Vine, Instagram, and Flickr. What in their world is next? How about Bickr, featuring uncensored putdowns, knockdowns, turndowns, meltdowns, and breakdowns? Whatever it is, generations not likely yours will create it, embrace it, and conquer it. These young, on-the-move soldiers are confident, courageous, bold, unwavering believers that they can—they WILL!—change the world. Or at least their part of it.
On the other hand, they’re dreamers, just like you. They want to do well, just like you. They want to look their best, just like you. They want to feel good, just like you. They want to leave a meaningful legacy, just like you. Above all, they want to be the very best they can be. Just. Like. You.
You and they have a lot in common after all. Like you, they aren’t yet where they want to be, they have goals that they haven’t reached, they could be healthier than they really are, they could feel better than they usually do, and they could do better than they’re actually doing.
There’s something far more significant that you and they have in common, which is where attitude enters the picture. You have yours. They have theirs. You don’t control theirs. They don’t control yours.
Your attitude is all yours. You, and you alone, own it. It became yours on your birthday, however many years ago that may have been. No matter how different we all are . . . how young or old, rich or poor, fit or fat . . . we are totally responsible for own attitudes.
Although some find it convenient and quite useful to avoid personal responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings, and reactions to what’s happening around them, this approach to life simply doesn’t work. At least, not in the long run. And it’s the long run that counts. That’s where pride of ownership, or lack thereof, greets you in the mirror every morning of your life . . . the pride of ownership that comes from accepting responsibility for your own attitude, thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions to what’s happening in your world. This includes ageing.
It’s the pride of ownership that comes from accepting and believing that to age well is a personal decision . . . your decision. Your attitude. Your responsibility. Your choice.
You can choose black to colour your world on your 40th, 50th, or 60th-and-beyond birthdays. It’s your choice to paint your midlife canvas with dark skies, rainclouds, and a barren landscape. It is you who can decide to place yourself at the mercy of the Age gods and hope, pray, that they don’t repay you for your crimes against your brain and body with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoarthritis—the list goes on.
Or you can look at your midlife . . . let’s call it NewLife . . . in another, better way . . . a more colourful, more hopeful, more positive place to be. A land where sunshine and blue skies prevail. A welcoming world where, now that here, you have the unique opportunity to shine, to model the behaviours others think themselves incapable of and are quite unwilling to try. Your NewLife world will be what you make it. It’s your decision, your attitude, your responsibility, your choice.
In your NewLife world, you can create the enviable lifestyle that enhances your self-esteem in ways you never imagined, fortifies your self-confidence, allows you to take on the challenges and the risks you’ve been wishing you were strong enough and brave enough to face, and elevates you to that special place you will have earned the right to be: Personal Peak Performance.
You are the leader of your own over-40, over-50, over-60-and-beyond world. You’re the decision-maker, the artist, the creator of all things possible. Thus, you can schedule your own trip to Personal Peak Performance. But first, you must plan the journey, or you’ll end up where you don’t want to be. And that’s where you are now.
When you reach Personal Peak Performance, you’ll be brimming with health, energy, and vitality. You’ll feel better than you ever thought possible. You’ll look years younger than your birth certificate says you are. And you’ll turn heads, be the object of envy among your same-age friends, amaze your family with your positive energy and youthful appearance, and gladly engage others in the game of Guess My Age . . . a game you wouldn’t have dared to play just a year ago.
The planning process is key, the follow-through even more important. When you choose the path to Personal Peak Performance, you will find yourself in a special place you will never, ever want to leave. It’s a marvelous place to be, better than any vacation you’ve ever taken, better than any life change you’ve ever wished for. You’ll be at the top of your NewLife game. Life will be much better, and far easier, for you then.
Why? Because it’s easier, much easier, to manoeuvre your way through the world with a positive attitude, energy to burn, and complete confidence that you can handle whatever comes your way than it is to trudge along, crashing and burning, blaming others, cursing the weather, and asking the question whose answer will never satisfy you: Why me?