As we all experience the natural process of aging, sometimes without even realizing it, we work towards preparing for the future close of our lives. At times, it is an uneasy feeling to think that someday, you will no longer be present for family gatherings, meeting a new grandchild, or simply holding the hand of the one you love. But we all face and confront this stage of life and sometimes, without even thinking directly about it, we are preparing.
No matter how we try, in time, our physical capacities gradually diminish. Unfortunately, our minds can have moments of confusion and life feels different. Long term dreams are shortened due to the reality that we no longer have a long life to live. This sounds sad and not worth talking about, but we all have to face this progression as the years pass. And those of us living with chronic pain, at times, have to face this difficult transition much sooner than those fortunate enough to maintain good health in their later years. But we still have a life to live despite the inevitable changes coming our way.
So, what can we do to lighten the load all this brings into our lives?
- Let’s try to stay as happy as possible by surrounding ourselves with activities which do make you feel happy
- Let’s try to stay away from negativity. Instead, try to focus more on the good in life – so sometimes even consider turning off that TV when the news becomes overly negative and upsetting
- But let’s remember some are luckier than others so let’s reach out and pay it forward help those less fortunate – simple gestures go a long way
- Let’s try to address health issues as they arise instead of ignoring things that might have a solution for correction
- Let’s learn to accept those things we cannot control relative to our health and still see the light in life
- Let’s accept that all have to face losses in life and this is not a competition – one’s loss should not be compared to another’s
- Let’s try to eat well but have fun cheating once in a while 🙂
- Let’s try to remember to take necessary medications
- Let’s be aware of what can and can’t metabolize in our bodies and not randomly take medications or foods that aren’t compatible. If you are not sure – try the Genenlex Drug Sensitivity testing for meds and the MRT blood test for food sensitivities.
- Let’s try not to judge others ways but instead appreciate them for who they are
- Let’s be confident enough with our bodies to know when we want to consider medicating, testing, surgical corrections vs when we don’t see the point anymore – it is our body to make those difficult decisions about
- Let’s not forget the good in the life we have been living, accept those things that we can’t do anymore but find comfort in the past memories.
- Let’s remember we all face closure to that finish line and we need to allow others to talk about these transitions without judgment – for one shoe does not fit all!
- As traumatic as all this can feel at times to be aging and finding yourself now the elders in the family, let’s draw on the strength and courage others have shown before us – it just happens to be getting closer to our time
- There is tremendous peace in finding a way to forgive those that have wronged you – this takes tremendous work but can leave you feeling very free when you accomplish it.
- We need to move our bodies – no matter how restricted you become, there are ways to accomplish this that might require a lot of creativity.
- Keep your mind sharp – try sudoku puzzles, scrambled words, reading a paper, magazines, online reading.
- Stay connected – keep up interest in the lives of others around you
Aging is not a fun process and if you are like me, I find few people really talk with us about preparing for it. It feels almost shocking to find yourself the oldest in the family, reaching towards that finish line. So, what do you want to be remembered for? Should we add aging gracefully to our list? Those of us that are parents continue to be setting examples to our families as they watch our life. For instance, my parents spent many years upon retiring, giving back to society – reading books for students for recording for the blind, delivering meals for Meals on Wheels, tutoring among other things. I was so proud to watch them choose to take the time to care about others and dedicate themselves to helping others. But in time, they had to be placed in elderly housing and began the downward process, eventually having life come to a closure. It was hard to watch and also know that someday it would be my turn, and yours. So, let’s make the best of the time we have and feel good about who we are by taking good care of ourselves and reaching out to help our fellow man. Our purpose is not over!
May life be kind to you,
Ellen Lenox Smith
Author of: It Hurts Like Hell!: I Live With Pain– And Have a Good Life, Anyway, and My Life as a Service Dog!
The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report.
May life be kind to you,