Keep Evolving As You Age

Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, described the curve of a lifetime, as divided in half. The first half symbolizes friendships, love, marriage and children; while the second half is a time for finding the deeper meaning of life. In short, YOU have to find your own path in the second innings of your life. No one can do this for you – not your spouse, children or friends. It’s all about the PATH, the footsteps of your human experience leading to your ‘inner-life’. Then, with no attachment, you move through the last passage of life, without much anxiety or fear or how the world perceives you.

Jung explained that you must evolve as you age – discover a goal, something, anything that excites you. Then do it with your spouse, a neighbour or a friend. It could be a book-club, a music-group (if you are mobile), your travel buddies or simply writing. As the NIKE advert says, ‘Just Do It!’

Shrinking away from people is unhealthy, it robs the purpose of the second half of your life. Rewind to your childhood – remember what made you happy? THAT is your goal, your purpose, something that makes you jump out of bed every morning and greet the day. Develop that goal. We are all born as an unrealized potential with a thousand possibilities open to us. We can choose to be born again anytime and accept the challenges of the selves we haven’t met and we have yet to meet, by fully becoming, developing and evolving to a richer life. Richer – not in terms of money, but fulfilment.

Each stage of our lives calls for us to make personal adjustments, to engage and re-engage with our changing world, to acquire or discard things that create our place in that changing world. But personal evolution calls upon us to evolve, regenerate, uncover, develop our own unique selves, birthday after birthday, no matter what our age. In fact, to evolve as we age, is to make each day a birthday!

The world around us creates an impression that being young is being whole, and being old is being impaired or broken. This is because we identify too much with the body rather than the consciousness it contains. As Joseph Campbell asks, “Am I the bulb that carries the light, or am I the light of which the bulb is a vehicle?” Light up your life daily and don’t let anyone dim your light!

Till recently, most people dreaded ageing because they saw it as a decline into disease and disability. Not so anymore! Research shows that youngsters are more stressed out, fearful and depressed, while older people consciously decide not to spend their remaining years brooding. Given today’s advances in medicine, technology and lifestyle-options, we have opportunities to grow and evolve in our old age. Shakespeare has said, “Old age is second childhood.” That’s not necessarily true. Think of yourself, not in your second childhood, but on a second or more advanced level of complete development!

Did you know that the purpose of a baseball game is not to play as many innings as possible? The purpose of symphony also, is not to postpone the final musical-note. It’s the same with life – it’s not about growing old, it’s about evolving. Ask yourself, “Am I doing better today than I did yesterday at a spiritual, physical, mental and emotional level?”

It’s a sad thought that once upon a time, all of us senior citizens were robust, vibrant, productive, bright, shining and unique, but now, we all seem to dance to the same, tired old tune of, “I’m too old.” STOP! Don’t do that to yourself. After all, inside each one of us is an undiscovered symphony – play that symphony, sing to it and dance to it!

As you age, be more open-minded and receptive to new ideas. Be malleable, inquisitive, striving, seeking, testing and weighing new ideas as well as old ones. Have wide-eyed curiosity and excitement in the enjoyment of new experiences and the willingness to evolve with a sense of humour. Laugh more! If you don’t evolve, you’ll be emotionally bankrupt and spiritually withered. The choice, dear reader, is entirely yours!

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