Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis
I recently came across a new thought concerning the issue of aging. A sociologist described the fear of aging as the fear of “not mattering anymore.” His research with hundreds of Seniors revealed this prevalent mindset that the older one gets, the less important one becomes. It sounds so sad to me, and everything in me rejects that thought, but I’ve been mulling it over ever since. When you think about it, the need to be loved and valued is a core necessity of life. From infancy on, we are on a continual journey to find a sense of worth. Our culture seems to support the idea that feelings of worthiness will come from things like education, careers, wealth, social status, etc. If that were true, the obvious conclusion would be that you would lose your feelings of worthiness or value if you no longer operate in those areas. Consequently, you would probably feel like you didn’t matter anymore. That is simply not true.
The aging process may create some limitations, but at the same time, it bears the fruit of wisdom and experience. It is not just about being physically active, but it is time to focus on mental and spiritual growth. My favorite author, C. S Lewis, says, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Another wise man said, “It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old; they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams!” That is why it is so crucial that Seniors are in an environment where they are encouraged to stay active and continue to make plans for the future. Whether in a community or surrounded by family and friends, a thriving environment is a key to successful aging.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo Emerson