50 Again!? The Art Of Growing Old Disgracefully….

A recent birthday card from a so-called friend....

A recent birthday card from a so-called friend….

 

“‘You are coming to my 50th of course?” asked my friend Tim.

I was having a meal at his place the other night.

“I wouldn’t miss it!”

I’ve been to a few of Tim’s 50th’s. They’re always a fun weekend. Maybe there was one of them where he actually turned 50 but I’m not sure…

The older I get the more noticeable it becomes that we all age differently and that the biggest difference is not about the wrinkles, grey hair or saggy bits we start to get. Instead it all boils down to how we see ourselves and the story we tell ourselves about ageing.

I’ve met young people who are “old.” Not in that wise “old-soul” spiritual sense but in a life-weary let’s-just-get-this-over-and-done-with sense. They have a picture of life and their duties and obligations in it and they put their head down and simply get on with the job of ploughing through it just like they’re supposed to. Ageing becomes a series of tick-the-boxes milestones. You feel worn out just talking to them and can’t believe it when you find out they’re only 22…

At the other end I’ve met a host of 90+ers who are younger than me. You know the ones who run around having all kinds of adventures and learning new things and when they tell you their age in numbers it’s almost impossible to believe. My 101 year-old Great Aunt whips her car through city traffic with a confidence that I’ll never have. Her Dad died in his sleep at 88…after a night out dancing.

 

So, what is it that creates such a vast difference.

What is it that makes us “old” or “young”? Continue reading

The Ultimate Personal Challenge Is Not What You Think…

 

(Source:Google Images)

(Source:Google Images)

 

 

If I were to tell a story of personal challenge I might choose to talk about those things I’ve ticked off the bucket list.

I’d tell you about flying a powered hang-glider or zipping down the world’s longest zip-wire.

I’d talk about diving with the great white sharks or the time I backpacked through China and ate something that may or may not have still been alive…

I might recount how I free-fell over a waterfall whilst white water rafting or rode thousands of kilometres on a motorbike…

 

But I won’t.

 

I wont because the most difficult personal challenge of all is not only about adventure sports or dangerous animals. It has to do with a simple choice – the choice to be yourself.

 

We live in a world tied up in knots. A world where we arrive full of hope only to become quickly enmeshed in a tangle of societal pressures and the expectations of others.

We are born pegs of all different shapes and sizes who soon learn that we’re supposed to fit neatly into the rows and rows of uniform round holes laid out before us. “Life” becomes a constant quest to knock off our corners and rough edges, to sand ourselves down, smooth ourselves out and make ourselves “fit”.

It is a desire to belong, a need for acceptance that motivates us.

 

It takes courage to be different. To step out of the mold and stand alone. It can be a scary experience standing vulnerable and exposed, being frowned upon for making the place look untidy with your non-conformity, sometimes looking longingly at the comfortable space you’ve vacated, knowing how easy it would be to slip back in and pretend….

 

Being yourself requires having space around you.

It requires being with yourself, knowing yourself, accepting yourself.

It requires stillness, honesty and the willingness to face the unknown.

It involves risk and the ability to embrace failure.

It requires letting go of worrying about the opinions of others or the shoulds or supposed to’s of life.

But most of all it requires the courage to make the choice.

The choice to be the person you were meant to be.

 

That is the ultimate personal challenge….

 

You may enjoy this story of personal challenge and adventure about my fear of heights :)

https://open.abc.net.au/contributions/bird-plane-or-supergirl-32pw4yg/in/contributors/telene+clarke