Changing Seasons of Life
Aging and life, in general, are like the changing landscapes of the four seasons. When I was younger, I viewed old age as the winter of our lives, but now I know better. Sometimes the harshest seasons of our lives come when we are younger. Here’s a look through my perspective at the “seasonal changes” people experience in a few areas as they age:
- The roller coaster of emotions gives way to emotional stability.
Youthfulness can be full of emotional swings as hormones kick in and start affecting our bodies and emotions. People of the opposite sex that we were afraid we’d get “cooties” from in grade school start appealing to us instead. As we enter adolescence, our bodies and emotions change in mysterious ways. With those physical changes, our feelings can make us feel like we’re on a roller coaster – up and down, round and round until we’re dizzy along with everyone around us. These emotions level off as we age through maturity and some physical changes. Because of these things, we enjoy more emotional stability as we age if our mental health is in good condition.
- The suppleness of youth is replaced by wrinkles of wisdom.
What was once new and baby soft becomes weathered over time and shows up in the lines that crease our faces. Those lines are like the trails left by the wagon wheels of pioneers, proof that we have made a passage through this life. Some of them are created from stress and exposure to the harsh elements of the world we live in. The ones I like the most are those that are carved from all those moments that made us laugh until we cried. Remember them? All of them leave their trace on the landscape of our faces.
- The love of strangers’ reactions shifts to the attraction of real, deep friendship.
When we’re young and turning the heads of strangers, it’s affirming to know we are attractive. As shallow as it might be, attention like that can be flattering. However, it is as fleeting as it is superficial as the years pass us by. We begin to turn heads less as we age and appreciate the companionship of friends who accept us as we are. The physical changes are preparing and encouraging us to put less emphasis on our physical being and more on our spiritual nature. Deep, enduring relationships become like the comfortable worn and ragged clothing we prefer over the attention-grabbing, figure-flattering material of our youth.
- The excitement of first experiences changes to the comfort of knowledge.
How can we not be excited when the whole world is before us, and everything is new? Do you remember your first date when you were self-conscious about every little thing? Despite the excitement “firsts” bring, there is a comfort that comes with the knowledge that experience instills in us. We no longer have to learn what not to do in order to know what is best. Wisdom has a calming effect on us that eludes us in the realm of “firsts.” It only comes with time, aging, and experience, and it is glorious to lean into the comfort it bestows.
- Achievements and ambition are replaced by the ability to be still.
The search for who we are and what we are capable of can create an energy that is hard to stop. We will live lives full of ambition and drive. We will set goals and climb to reach them. We stop briefly to sleep, but we get up and go again. Climbing, always climbing, to the next level. Eventually, that ambition and drive give way to an ability to be still and peaceful. We come to know we are good enough just as we are. We understand we are worthy of being loved unconditionally. We don’t have to prove to ourselves or anyone else that intrinsic worth. We can be still and be filled with contentment.
“Aging is not a problem.
Aging is a process that allows you to
surrender the things that matter least
so you can take hold of what matters most.”
– Dr. Bill Thomas
- Posted in: Emotional ♦ Physical ♦ Positive Aging ♦ Spiritual ♦ Vocational
I wish I’d had more of the “ability to be still” when I was younger. As Pascal said: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”. Maybe not All of them, but a lot of them…