• RICK

How Does One Age Authentically?

My 44-year-old son recently texted this question to me: “How does one authentically age?” After all, I’ve named my company Authentic Ageing Workshops, so it was a legit question.

I wasn’t sure a 44-year-old could see it from the same perspective as a 70 year old, but I answered him this way –

Sean, the idea is to be honest and genuine with yourself. I see too much avoidance and denial from seniors about a natural part of life. The ancient Chinese understood: "Man fools himself. He prays for a long life and fears an old age." BOOM!

But, with three young boys to raise, a marriage to care for, plus work, and all that is going on in the world, he doesn’t have time to think about much else. So, I don’t fault him for his lack of insight or understanding.

If you put yourself in his shoes, or his wife’s shoes, it makes sense. I know I didn’t give much thought to becoming a senior when I was in the midst of career building, living making, and family raising.

And, that’s probably why there aren’t many guides, Sherpas, or gurus to lead us into our future. We are all too busy to notice that time is slipping by at the speed of life.

Being authentic with anything in life takes some effort. It requires that we examine the circumstances and tell ourselves the brutal truth about every situation. And that’s sometimes very hard to do. Our ego tends to protect us from the truth because the truth, however essential, can be uncomfortable to handle.

Consider the person who knows they have a medical issue but refuses to seek help thinking it will get better. Or, how about the gal or guy who stays in a rough relationship telling themselves they will be able to fix the other person. Or, even the senior who denies the fact that they are growing older and declines to take the ageing process seriously. Each are heading for unnecessary mental stress and pain.

Wikipedia says: “authenticity is the degree to which a person’s actions are congruent with his or her beliefs and desires, despite external pressures to conformity.” An authentic you is true to your own ingrained nature and deeply held beliefs. This is not always easily accomplished and maintained, yet essential for facing ageing honestly.

You and I know instinctively when we are lying to ourselves. There’s a momentary feeling of upset, an alarm that, rather than ignoring, we would be better served by addressing it head on. With authenticity one becomes personally responsible and mentally free.

So, the next time that little buzzer goes off in your head or heart, don’t ignore it! Be mindful! Your inner self is trying to tell you to pay attention, saying, “This is important! Listen up!”

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