“This aging thing is just no fun” is a common sentiment shared by many of the 8,000-plus boomers who are turning 65 each and every day.
Serving as a reminder that we are not alone, frank discussions are interesting and often revealing. I had one such conversation with Kathy, a patient of mine in her mid-sixties. While enjoying the relaxing benefits of her acupuncture session, we chatted about the aging process that she and her contemporary “Baby boomers” are experiencing.
Acupuncture causes a real shift in emotions and stress levels while treatment is taking place, due to the rebalancing of Qi, blood and oxygen as they flow through the Meridians. At the same time, the Endocrine system benefits and hormone levels become adjusted within the central nervous system. Most often, any nagging dull pain is diminished after a treatment.
Kathy was lamenting the changes her body is going through, along with the new lines and wrinkles. We spoke about her negative perception of her changing body and changing appearance, along with new aches and discomfort that seemed to greet her on a daily basis.
While Kathy and her husband are close in age, his gray hair and signs of aging are perceived as far more acceptable – even attractive -- in the social circle of life. This doesn’t help Kathy
with her feelings.
With so many “ Baby boomers “ approaching middle age, I am having the ‘aging conversation’ more frequently with my patients and in the community at large.
In addition to being a wonderful time of coming into one’s wisdom, depth of experience, strength and resiliency, aging also comes with its own set of changes and challenges not previously on our radar.
In addition to the real physical challenges everyone will experience to some extent, there is generally a sense of loss -- Loss of youth, brain function, hearing, vitality, sleep, and physical stamina, as well as less sexual desire, and sometimes functioning.
It helps to remember that none of us are alone in this natural and unavoidable occurrence.
Keeping a sense of humor about the many changes that are happening can be a powerful way to reframe with what can be a humbling and scary experience for some of us. Inevitably, we experience a huge loss of control, and for many of us surrender can be difficult. Surrender, in this sense, represents coming to peace with the tides of change, all the while moving forward with grace and strength into those tides.
Realizing that nothing stays the same, and that some things actually get better as they change, is another helpful strategy for staying in the moment during this process.
The good news -- 60 really is the new 40.
When I was growing up in the 1960s and found out that my grandparents were sixty, they seemed and looked so old. Times have definitely changed for the better in regard to aging in our society. There have never been so many positive ways to educate, enlighten and adopt the many documented discoveries.
Practice self-love, moment to moment. Include daily gratitude, affirmation, exercise, walks in nature, massage, meditation, acupuncture, communication, physical intimacy, orgasm, rest, healthy organic food, fun, music, art, and laughter. Together with empowered life style choices, these things will all enhance your experience.
If you are not feeling your strongest self, physically, mentally or emotionally, or even if you are feeling strong and healthy, there has never been a better time than now to begin taking the necessary steps to begin, or continue, a wellness program.
Injury, illness, weight gain, physical limitations will all benefit, and in most cases, will begin to improve from your newfound desire to “start right where you are”.
Getting into a program with the understanding that your body’s needs are changing can light a fire of acceptance, love and empowerment.
If need be, begin your transformation slowly, so you won’t feel overwhelmed. Be kind to yourself and take it a day-at-a-time.
The most important thing is to begin.