Aging Gracefully

No matter what we do, what we don’t do, what we see, hear, believe or want – one thing remains unchanged about life. Time passes and we get older. We can age gracefully or we can wither away. This year as I reflect on another 29th birthday — hey no judgement! 29 was a good year, so I plan to remain 29!  I think about what I have accomplished thus far and what my dreams are for the future. Taking some time each year to reflect on outcomes (goals), accomplishments, and new challenges to embark upon, offers an opportunity to evaluate the commitments you have made to yourself and others and evaluate the results. If the results are not what you had planned or hoped for, chart a new course and continue or develop a new outcome plan.

For example, while in school for my Master’s degree, I wanted to finish in 2 years, but financial obligations required full-time work, so it took longer. The additional time combined with the job market created some new career paths I had not considered. I decided to go into Vocational Counseling versus traditional Mental Health.

We may ask ourselves, what do I want? Am I moving toward what I want? If not, what specific actions can I take to create momentum towards that outcome? Set realistic and challenging outcomes, set specific time limits, and develop review periods and reward systems. For example, I want to maintain a healthy, strong body. I exercise regularly, but I still want to become lighter and more agile. My actions? Add weight training twice per week, eat vegetables at 2 meals per day and eat home cooked meals. Each week I weigh in and when my short-term goal has been met, I do something nice for myself.

As we get older we gain more than wrinkles, we gain wisdom and perspective. We begin to understand that some aspects of life require significant sacrifice to yield an outcome that can add substantial value to your life long-term. That could mean working 2 jobs to pay down debt or save for a home, spending less time with loved ones to work on school or your career, or living with less to stay home longer with your children.

I’m in a good place. I’m happy, I feel blessed every day. I’m thankful for what has come to pass and for what the future holds.

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