FREAKED OUT ABOUT AGING

Posted By Tina Dubin, Ph.D. on August 21, 2013 at 6:33pm | General, Tina's Musings
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I’m assuming I’m not the only one who experiences a “Yikes!” as we age through the 50’s, 60’s and beyond.  I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts, anxieties and strategies here.  Feel free to do the same.

 

So, I broke my ankle don April 8th (2010) – just walking into the office.

I had been asking myself for years now – particularly after age 60 – what this stage of life is about.  I’ve always been interested in stages of life and in longitudinal studies of how people change or stay the same over time.  But I’ve been focused on this stage of life a lot – because I’ve been a bit freaked out.

I’ve read about how “later life” naturally involves a sense of generativity, the desire to leave a legacy; maybe being able to wear purple or a red hat.  Perhaps it’s just a gradual transition with a lot to get used to, but I’ve wondered a lot about where to put my energy now.

I created a group for women over 50 called “Now What?!” where we pondered the dilemma of how to find something with meaning, direction and purpose, but without the pressure and “have-to’s” we’ve had all lifelong.

With my broken ankle, the universe answered my questions – at least for a while – about what I’m supposed to be doing now; what I should be learning.  After the fall, it was clear that the answer was that I need to learn how:  To get up and down the stairs; to stretch patience and to slow down; and to have that be alright; to commend myself for the little things that I could do again – like paint my toenails; to allow and to really take in all the caring and help that others offered; and to try to be grateful enough.

These are good lessons for life in general:  slow down; be patient with yourself; give yourself time to heal and to learn; be grateful for what’s good in your life and to those who care.

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I found a quote I really liked from Thomas Moore’s book “Dark Nights of the Soul”.  He’s very good at talking about what we gain, learn and uniquely experience from life’s more intense journeys.  (He also wrote “Care of the Soul”).

Here he describes the understanding, perspective and self-knowledge that comes with the passage of many years.

“It’s difficult to let go of youth, because that release requires an acknowledgement of death.  Time weathers and ages a person naturally, the way temperature and winds weather a barn.  {With age} reflection deepens, thoughts embrace a larger sense of time, and the events of a long lifetime get distilled into a sense of one’s essential nature.

Aging brings out the flavors of a personality.  The individual emerges over time, the way fruit matures and ripens.  The sadness of growing old is part of becoming an individual.  Melancholy thoughts carve out an interior space where wisdom can take up residence.”

 

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Posted by Tina Dubin, Ph.D.

I received my doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas in 1977. I completed my post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin Counseling Center. Since then, I have been a research associate at the Institute of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Texas, a founding associate of Family Eldercare, and have been in private practice with my husband, Dr. William Dubin, at Psychological ARTS since 1980.

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