In a novel I was reading, it said the old men grumbled because it made them feel alive. I wondered if that were true. What do we do to feel alive and are there better ways to feel so than by grumbling?
What do you do when you don’t feel valuable?
The hardest thing about aging is that you don’t feel valuable. You no longer have a job that defines you. You may not be able to get out to volunteer. It’s easy to sit around and feel useless. Do you still feel valuable? Or is that missing from your life?
What do you do when you don’t feel heard?
When you feel you are no longer important, or that no one pays attention to what you say, there may a tendency to exert yourself. You fuss about not having things your way. You criticize others. You probably even gossip in order to feel involved and part of a group. What do you do when you don’t feel heard?
What do you do to feel needed?
Whatever stage of life we’re at, we all want to feel we’re needed, that we are here for a purpose and that our purpose counts. The only way you’re going to figure out where you are needed and how you are needed is to go exploring. See what feels good, notice were you make a difference and do more of that. What do you do that makes you feel needed?
Back to grumbling in order to feel alive
There are two things you can do if things are not going the way you’d like—change yourself or leave. You notice I didn’t say change the circumstances. Change yourself—your attitude, your belief, your sense of self-worth. That is how you change a circumstance.
What you focus on you attract. If you look for the negative aspects of the people around you, that’s all you’ll see. If you focus on what you don’t like about your environment, that’s all you’ll notice. See how that works? Any experience can all be changed in a heartbeat, when you change your own viewpoint. Look for the positive and you will find it.
What makes you feel alive?
I’m pretty isolated, even though I live in a senior community. A few years ago I realized I did not want to change myself to fit in here because I have a lot more things I want to accomplish. Reaching out to others and making a difference are not part of the culture here. I had to go find a new tribe. I found my connections online when I founded the Deeper Song Community.
What makes me feel alive? Writing. It makes me think and explore. It allows me to be curious and inquisitive. And I write alone. I love philosophical discussions but haven’t found too many people to share those with. There have been rewarding Skype calls, though.
What else can I do to make me feel more alive? That’s totally up to me. I have to find the way. I love the clouds here in the mid-west. Maybe I spend more time simply watching them. And my cats offer connection—I’ve begun to spend more focused time petting them, rather than absentmindedly petting them while I’m reading.
Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe feeling alive is as simple as mindfulness, fully emerging myself in whatever I’m doing—eating, cooking, clearing, walking. If I become more conscious of each moment of my life, I’ll notice its fullness, its richness, its rhythm.
And I’ll feel more alive.
What about you? What makes you feel alive?
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