We all have a choice in how to perceive another year gone by.
My mom always used to say, “Age is just a number. You’re as old as you feel.” She was definitely young at heart. One of my favorite yoga teachers, Seane Corn, addresses the importance of aging with authenticity by refusing to allow her image to be photo-shopped on magazine covers. My husband’s Aunt Ceal is 103 years old and still gives the firmest, warmest bear hugs out of the whole family. On the flip side, I know many leaders in the “29 Forever” club, and women that refuse to reveal their real age.
Living under 30 sometimes felt like a free pass– a time to make mistakes, learn new things, try out different jobs, hobbies and lifestyles. It all seemed reversible, or forgivable, because I was still so young. However, in the past few years, I’ve noticed that people are expecting more of me– more wisdom, maturity, accountability. And I find I’m expecting more of myself– taking charge of my physical and financial health. Sometimes it’s hard to see if this pressure is self-imposed or truly coming from outside of myself. Our culture seems to encourage a specific agenda in the shift to adulthood, to the point that many of us unconsciously push this same agenda on ourselves.
For example, around 25-35 years old, many people start seriously thinking about settling into a career, marrying, buying a home and having kids. Many people who are not interested in any of these things, feel family or societal pressure to embrace this standard version of “adulting” because it’s what their parents did. A few will stop and think about this cycle and decide that it’s not for them. However, it seems that even if one consciously chooses not to follow this path, life choices still seem to get heavier as we get older because we are inevitably getting closer and closer to facing our own mortality. So it makes sense that some personalities will embrace and conquer the shift into their own version of adulthood, if anything, for a sense of safety and security.
And some will run, sprinting, in the other direction back to childhood– a simpler time when people expected less from them– fun, carefree times, a time when death wasn’t a daily part of conversation and having new and exciting experiences dominated our days. Unfortunately, this way of functioning usually doesn’t last long if we want a roof over our heads and food to eat.
Maybe the best solution is to strike a balance. And what better place to learn the intricate buy xenical how much balance of work and play than on a yoga mat?
We work hard to master a pose, we fall out of a pose, we play in a pose, we rest well at the end. Everything we do on the mat is a reflection of what we do in life. We know we will continue to experience ups and downs both on and off the mat, regardless of our age and experience, so simply accepting that truth can take a lot of the pressure off. What if we weren’t expected to “have it all together” by a certain age? What if we could honor the fact that we are all children at heart and doing our best to navigate a challenging world? Then, each year could be a new adventure, an opportunity to learn and grow into the person we want to be, rather than a list of standard accomplishments to check off.
Yogic philosophy even offers guidance on how to approach our collective fear of death. I’d argue that all of our fears in some way or another stem from this ultimate fear of death. So what does yoga suggest? Surrender. Live your life with kindness, grace and compassion, do what you can to love every being you have the privilege of intermingling with for the short time that you have here and then surrender the rest (Savasana!). If we can practice surrendering control long before we must face the ultimate surrender of death, maybe it won’t be so hard when our time comes. Yoga even says that when the body expires, the soul continues on. Death is just another opportunity for growth and transformation for the soul.
I started practicing yoga 10 years ago this month. My life has felt very full and rewarding since I discovered yoga. The physical practice helps me feel young in my body and the philosophical practice reminds me of the same thing my mother used to say- I am as young as I feel. I’ve learned that I can create opportunities at any age by simply being present, listening carefully and meditating on my intentions. I don’t have to ignore that aging is happening because with more time in this body and mind, I have the opportunity to become a more empowered soul– dreaming, creating and growing with each passing birthday.
What do you do to stay “young at heart?” What are your favorite activities that make you feel like a kid again? Do you have any fun birthday rituals? Share your answers in the comments section of this post!
Thank you for reading! ~ Megan
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