Inevitable?

So, last night I was on the phone with my friend, and we suddenly realized we’d been talking about this ache and that ache, and about not doing things because we felt too exhausted before we’d even started. In fact, that’s what kicked this conversation off: how Mr W. and I had planned to drive down the Rhine Valley to visit an art exhibition a good half hour away. And how we’d detoured to the nearest cashpoint in a neighbouring village, where shops and businesses were having a verkaufsoffener Sonntag (Sunday opening – in Germany, the shops are normally closed on Sundays) and the streets were lined with little stalls and heaving with folk enjoying the festival atmosphere. And how, after walking around for a while in the heat and humidity of the day, talking to people we knew and finally getting back to the car, we’d felt so wiped we’d driven straight back home and abandoned all thoughts of further excursions, although some hours later, Mr W. took his bike for a spin. Me, I stayed home, feeling disgruntled, nursing my painful shoulder and bemoaning the temporary absence of yoga in my life (I damaged my rotator cuff). Then my friend said, well, that’s what growing old is like – everything starts to wear out, everything hurts, and you end up doing less and less.

Which perked me right up. NO WAY!!!

I’m in my sixties now. I love what I do, where I live, who I’m with, my families and friends in both my countries, Germany and England. I love my life more than ever before. I have a zillion things I want to learn and/or do, books to write, places to see, people to connect with, ideas to follow up on. Overall, I feel so much stronger, so much more centred and much more ‘me’ than ever before, even though the past few years have been mega stressful emotionally. And yes, physically I’m not quite as strong as I used to be. But here’s the thing: every single cell that makes up my body is renewed within seven years. So how come I keep creating cells that aren’t as healthy, as bursting with energy as they could be? What’s that all about? Why am I recreating and even increasing my worn-out-ness? What blueprint are my cells working to? And who designed that blueprint? And can I change it?

We all more or less accept that ageing in a certain way is inevitable: things wear out and we grow weaker and more prone to illnesses, one of which will eventually see us out. But how does that square with the seven-year thing? Can we influence the kind of cells we recreate? I mean, do our years have to pile up around us like walls that imprison us? Why can’t they be a tower, a bridge, a mountain from which we can see more, understand more, contribute more? What’s with all the ‘inevitable decline’? What if we grow weaker because we don’t bother to exercise anymore or just generally move less, because, you know what they say: As you get older, you slow up? What if we grow weaker because that’s what we expect to happen? What if all this inevitable-decline business is a load of bull we all buy into, as a society, without even questioning it?

Don’t look at me – I have no answers. I’m still trying to figure out how to do yoga without screwing my shoulder up even further. All I have is a lot of questions, and the same feeling that what I’m being told just isn’t right, which got me into so much trouble at school in my far-away youth. But I intend to find out. Bruce Lipton, for example, has some interesting ideas…

In the meantime, I’ll do my best to incorporate the following in my daily life: feed my body good, nourishing food without obvious toxins (not counting the occasional Banana Split without which life just ain’t worth living), keep it hydrated and exercised and off harmful chemicals as much as possible. Keep my mind optimistic and curious, quit worrying about what I can’t change and instead concentrate on what I can do, right here, right now. Follow my intuition. Give others the benefit of the doubt instead of judging them harshly. Walk into each day with joy, openness and what the Buddhists call ‘loving kindness’ instead of that dread mixture of fear, worry and helplessness that used to be my ‘normal’ (happily, not anymore). Laugh often and from the heart. Hug people, accept them and me, as we are. Dare to live with an open heart. Dare. Will that tell my cells to renew themselves more healthily? Will it tell them to make more energy? I don’t know. But it sure feels a lot better than just accepting that grim ‘inevitable decline’ myth and watching myself grind to a halt! And no, I don’t want to live forever. I’d just rather not feel half-dead while I’m still alive…

Image by Sofie Zbořilová from Pixabay