Aging Gracefully,  SURVIVAL & HEALING

My Fear of Aging and How Do I Accept Change?

Throughout my life I have always feared change. I guess FEAR is not the right word. I should say I have avoided change to the best of my ability. I get comfortable in my life and when there are disruptions or hurdles to cross, it throws me off. These changes knock me out of my comfort zone. I know I am not alone. Surely most of us go through these times. I have a fear of aging.

In the later years of life I prided myself on how I jumped right into the fire and dealt with the hurdles or lessons of life and came out on the other side a better person.

This next chapter of my life, despite being exciting and adventurous and filled with love, scares the heck out of me. I am aging. My parents are aging. And I am not handling it well. This fear of aging stays hidden mostly. But every once in awhile I release it.

Fear Sets In

I have had aches and pains in this body that I never had before now. No matter how many times I get to the gym or stretch my muscles, the pains still continue to roll in, like the tide against the shore. Never ceasing. Never totally going away. They will ebb and then flow again when I least expect it.

But on top of trying to get my crazy hip pain and sciatica to go away, and fighting with the weight gain in places I have never seen it before, I realize that these issues are nothing compared to my biggest fears. FEAR of aging and getting too old to take care of myself. Fear of the final season of my life. But, not only that, I am worried about my parents.

I start panicking about losing them as well as how I am going to face my own final journey on this earth. These worries cause anxiety, something I have never experienced before in such full force.

My Parents

I find myself having panic attacks and have to make myself stop and breathe. These are my parents! These two people have been my rocks, my role models, always there for me no matter what! And they are facing fears and challenges of their own that frighten me. It frightens me to think of what must be going through their minds every day.

***** Okay, here comes another anxiety moment just typing these words.

How horrible that must feel! My sweet, strong, beautiful Mother who lived her life as a dancer, a mother, a wife, a model and was always there for me whenever I called crying about a relationship or a fight with my kids. She was always the one! She IS my person!

And my Dad who has always been the ROCK of the family worries about my Mom as well as his own health, every single day. He worked so hard his entire life, throwing himself into “Corporate America”, playing tennis and golf and taking care of his family. He deserves to rest and enjoy each day, not worry about what the next day will bring.

There Are Seasons

My spiritual belief has always been that this is not all there is and that as with all of nature, there are seasons. This comforts me when I am starting to sink into fear and sadness.

My grandchildren are the Spring! They are seeing the world for the first time. I am in awe of them and how everything they see and touch is exciting to them.

Then there are my own children who have entered the Summer of their lives, full of life and passion and trying to make their own way in this crazy adult world.

Roger and I are in the early Autumn stage, where the pace is slightly slower and the colors are just beginning to change. And I see my parents in the later Autumn stages.

Thinking of life in terms of seasons, helps me.

Winter Isn’t Final

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This later Autumn time is what causes me the most panic. The circle of life moves no matter what. My brain knows this. I DON’T LIKE WINTER. I don’t like the emptiness and the finality of winter. And yet I need to keep reminding myself that WINTER ISN’T FINAL. Life moves in this continuous circle.

Just as we are feeling as though the finality and starkness of winter will never end…. we start seeing earth come back to life. Over night the buds will show on the trees and the lilies will pop their heads out of the cold, thawing ground. And life begins again.

Breathing Through the Fear

Now, it’s time to gather up all of the lessons I have learned throughout my 60 years of life, try to remember all of the workshops and meditations and ideas that have come from past gurus, and breathe through this fear that keeps arising.

There is nothing that I can do about this thing called life, and aging! All the anxiety in the world won’t change the inevitable. We get older, we get wiser, we pass this wisdom on to our children and grandchildren. We strive to leave our mark on this world and then we move on to the next realm, the next journey of our souls. I will try to keep reminding myself that we are a soul in this earthly body, and that once the body has been shed, the soul can soar!

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