The worst words you can say to yourself are “I’ve always done it that way.” It’s a killer. It stops your imagination. It stops awareness. It stops personal growth. Is that what you really want?
What unconditional positions are holding you back?
A neighbor said she found it hard to cook for one. I suggested she make a big pot of something to cover several meals and she said, “I never eat leftovers.” What happened to a soup getting better the second day as the flavors blend? What happened to being able to freeze individual portions of healthy food for yourself? Her unconditional position left absolutely no room for change.
Another neighbor said, “We learned how to eat as children. There is nothing we need to learn now.” As children, there were not genetically modified foods or pesticide riddled crops to the degree there are now. There is always something new to learn because life changes.
Look carefully at the unconditional positions you hold dear. Are you willing to reexamine and rethink your beliefs in order to move forward from where you are?
What has changed about your life that requires adjustment?
How has your financial position evolved? How does that affect your spending habits? How has your health and stamina changed? How has that affected your activity? How have your relationships evolved? Who is in your life that is supportive and who do you need to stop allowing around you? Life changes, circumstances change. That means we need to change. We need to be willing to adjust our response to the circumstances that show up in our life. There is always something new to learn and explore. Never consider yourself too old to change.
What belief can you release?
Look carefully at the underlying beliefs that hold you in place. What do you think you can still accomplish? Have your goals gotten smaller? Give yourself permission to think big again. What do you think is possible? Look for the beliefs you hold that are keeping you stuck in place.
Stay strong in your difference
I am surrounded by people who think that to age is to deteriorate. That’s not my belief. I find support and encouragement in my belief on the internet. Although I have been a vegetarian for 40 years I am now a vegan. It meant I gave up dairy (I was eating yogurt every day), cheese (I had just discovered Parmigiano-Reggiano) and butter (I did find a great substitute). I tried to bake without eggs and had odd outcomes. I learned that my taste buds can be changed in eight days and soon found that most things I ate elsewhere were too salty or too sweet. I cut back on sugar. I could no longer bring myself to dump a lot of sugar into a bowl and plan to eat the resulting cookies over a three-day period. I gathered concepts, recipes, and encouragement from my like-minded fellow plant-based eaters online. I’m changing and I’m have a great time exploring the new possibilities.
Vegans are only about 14% of the population so this personal choice sets me apart from the people in my community. The fact that I am a metaphysician studying Taoism makes me even less aligned with my present community, but these are my choices. It is my path to explore, my results to achieve. As you make your personal choices celebrate your uniqueness and stay strong in your difference?
How do want this next part of your life to be?
When I was in business, I had plans, steps to take and goals to achieve. In retirement, I get to design this next part of my life and I need a focus. This current cycle of my life is about introspection and figuring out how I can continue to feel relevant in my life as it unfolds today. I need some qualities by which to measure my progress. I have two objectives: one is to deepen my spirituality and the other is to feel relevant. I want to feel I am contributing to others. I measure the success of my days though my expressions of serenity, mindfulness and letting life and circumstance unfold. It’s a tranquil way of life and I’m learning as I go. I have found a relevant way to participate. How do you picture this next part of your life? How will you stay productive? What do you want to accomplish? What is the focus of this next cycle of your life?
How are you willing to change?
Why are people unwilling to change? Are they too lazy, too uninspired, too complacent? Or are they no longer aware they have a choice? Where is the fire, the curiosity, the desire to keep learning? If you’ve lost that, how do you get it back?
Change is made one moment at a time
One choice in any given moment can make a difference. What happens if you stop yourself from a negative comment? How will that change the outcome of your conversation? What happens if you learn to listen to what the people are saying behind their words? What insights will you gain? How will your response change? In an instant, you can decide to change. Maybe you choose a carrot instead of a cookie, walk an extra half block, or give the next person you see a compliment. In an instant, you can create change by the way you think, and the way you act.
Change is an attitude
You are surrounded by change. You are immersed in change. Every moment is an opportunity to make a different choice, act in a different manner, or turn in a different direction. Being old is not an excuse for being opinionated, rude, or unresponsive. It certainly is not an excuse to refuse to change and grow. Old is an opportunity to reflect, to deepen your spiritual connection, and to try to live a kinder life than you had the time or consciousness to live before. Don’t use age as an excuse. Cherish it as an opportunity to change.
To Sing a Deeper Song Consider
04–How to Redefine Yourself and the 30 Year Plan (podcast, 20 minutes)
11-Do You Need a New Tribe? (podcast, 20 minutes)