“I have come to believe less and less that biology is destiny. It is not primarily our physical selves that limit us but rather our mindset about our physical limits.” Ellen J. Langer, Ph.D.
I’ve had my share of disagreements with those who consider themselves old (even some in their 30’s and 40’s?) and insist that I’m old, they’re old, old is old and the idea of living a youthful life stops around the time we enter our 40’s.
I disagree. I believe that mostly we choose.
Take, for example . . .
- The 90-year-old grandmother who “. . . still lives in her house with stairs and garden, takes care of everything herself (including finances and the garden), is able to walk everywhere, or take buses and trains.”
- Or Charles Euster, who at 87 decided to transform his “pancake butt” into a tight little number, joined a body building club, and wound up winning several titles in weight lifting, rowing and even chalked up a 200M world record.
- And then there’s the study (“Counter Clockwise”) done by Ellen J. Langer, renowned psychologist, Harvard professor, and researcher, on the subject of mindfulness and aging? Langer took a group of elderly gentlemen, recreated an environment that replicated their lives 20 years earlier and placed them in it for two weeks. By the end of the study, a group of mostly doddering, creaky old guys were involved in every activity put in front of them and all showed improvements in every biological function: height, weight, gait, grip, metabolism – every one of them.
There are lessons here for all of us. Yes, we’re all going to age – I’ll give you that. How we decide to go about it is a whole different matter.
When you adopt a mindset that doesn’t assume that age ushers in limitations, disintegration, and feebleness; when you stop assuming that you’re “to old” for certain activities, and back that up with some life-supporting habits and a little gumption on your part; that’s when you start to slow the pace of your internal biological clock.
All of the latest research and science is moving in this direction, uncovering the true nature of our bodies and the important role that we play in either keeping them strong and vital, or allowing them to decline and age prematurely.
We now know that we are not programmed to age at a certain rate. Some of our destiny is coded into our DNA. Most is a function of choice and lifestyle. It is completely possible to sustain a strong, healthy, vital existence long into our older years. It takes a little action on our part.
Changing our lives and our patterns is not easy. The key is to do something, anything to shift you gently out of old patterns into new ones that support growth, strength, expansion and timeless living.
Love to hear your thoughts! Connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org