Column

How old am I?

By Ellen Wood
For The Taos News
Posted 11/14/18

On Nov. 18, I will celebrate 82 years on earth. Is my body slowing down? Sure. I don't run up and down the stairs as fast as I used to, but I'm very agile and healthy and I don't have any chronic …

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Column

How old am I?

Posted

On Nov. 18, I will celebrate 82 years on earth.

Is my body slowing down? Sure. I don't run up and down the stairs as fast as I used to, but I'm very agile and healthy and I don't have any chronic aches or pains. I attribute that to my "grow younger" mind/body/spirit practices, especially meditation and the ancient physical movements, The Five Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation.

Is my skin sagging and wrinkled? Yep. A facelift helped with that when I was younger but it's not appropriate now.

My memory? A hundred times better than when I was in my mid-60s experiencing early Alzheimer's symptoms, but it does take a bit longer this year than last to find the right word or remember what I had for dinner two nights ago. I still walk purposefully into a room and then forget when I went in there for, but that's happened all my life. For me, it's focus, not old age.

Am I having fun living? Yes! But it's a different phase now. I'm more mindful that death can come knocking any day. Of course, that could have happened at any age, like it did earlier this year to my young friend Brett, but the finish line looms large and I'm preparing now for how I go out.

My mind/body/spirit daily practices are front and center: I don't want to whimper on my deathbed that I didn't have enough time to be nice to people or pray, or that I was unable to meditate every day or respond rather than react to stressful situations. (Gulp. I failed that just yesterday when I got my eighth telemarketing call, but at least I was aware that I was failing while it happened).

Awareness is my primary job - being present in each moment. Noticing how blessed I am. Marveling at the sunsets. Feeling in my bones that these bones are only temporary but my soul will continue.

So would I say that I am now "growing old gracefully"? Good heavens, no! The words "growing old" associate aging with progressive deterioration of mind and body, and what we say and think programs our biology. Neuroscientists, cell biologists and other experts in the field of epigenetics have proven that human consciousness affects what happens in all our cells. Disintegrating to dust will happen anyway, but at a slower pace if we don't give our cells instructions to pack it in - out loud or silently as thoughts.

At a few days from 82, I may be tying up loose ends, putting my affairs in order, simplifying my life, donating tons of "stuff" to Artesano's Thrift Shop, but I'm also ready at a moment's notice to go dancing or stay up all night writing when my muse is on a roll.

Ellen Wood of Questa is an inspirational speaker, columnist and award-winning author. Contact her at ellen@howtogrowyounger.com.

The version of this column in Spanish is here.

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