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Q: Is it me or do we get bitter and overwhelmed by the negativity of life as we get older?

A: (Rdav54) *

      In my head I'm still 22. But seriously, most of what is called aging is just poor living -- shitty diet, no exercise, relying on medications and trying to do what others tell you to, either explicitly or implicitly. Your body and mind are machines that decay and fall apart from lack of use. I really have too much to accomplish to be hampered by infirmity and mental decline. Like an athlete in training, you have to spend time maintaining yourself. I work out, eat right and take full responsibility for my own physical condition. Mentally, I work full time at my own business (I'm no longer employable because I'm too old) in emerging technologies, constantly learning, involved in many activities.


     To be honest, my mother was a great role model -- she was 60 when my father passed and she just passed at 95. In the years she was a widow she became an author, a locally well know artist, started weightlifting and cross country skiing, worked with the homeless and elderly (most of whom were younger than her), got her certifications in welding, auto mechanics and computer technology. She created 35 years of happy productive living when others just start giving up on life at 60ish.


     Life is what you make it. Just because you are getting chronologically older doesn't mean you have to get decrepit and feeble.


     And in business and relationships, I have an incredible advantage. Dealing with younger people who think they are slick or seductive or edgy or whatever, they don't realize I've seen it all before and know how to handle their games because I used to play them. One big advantage I have is that I can walk away because I'm not desperate for their business or approval or love or whatever. I don't need to win because I can decide not to play the game that younger people seem to be locked into.


     However I know many of my peers are embittered pathetic souls who keep obsessing with what they don't have rather than looking at what they do have. They just keep regretting that they aren't 30 while I look back at myself at 30 and think what a naive and tentative person I was and that I would never want to be that person again.


     So the years will keep ticking over, so the only decision I had to make is what I'm going to do while I can and stop worrying about the damn clock.

     We all feel lost at various points in our life. I have many times, but the key is not to give up and remain lost but to just keep going, changing direction when you have to, but having faith you will find your way. Every time you feel lost, you have exhausted what you currently know about life and the world and yourself, You have reached the limits of your experience and have to take a step into the unknown to learn how to move on. Every time I felt lost in my life, even to the point of wondering why I should bother living, I moved in a new direction, usually after a couple of false starts, and wound up experiencing a major positive life change.

Q: Could you care to elaborate on what game it is that younger people tend to be locked into? Appreciate the insights

A: Maybe game was too dismissive a term, but I chose it because, like any game, we all have the option to play by other people's rules or not. It's more patterns of belief and behaviour that I had to overcome to get out of the person I had become and hated. Some of those patterns of though and belief I was locked into were:


     1. The idea that I was a victim of circumstances and misfortune. Shit happens and it isn't personal but we have a tendency to feel that somehow it's personal and there is nothing we can do because of fate or luck or divine punishment. Once I realized that when the shit happens, you either sit around complaining about the stink forever or you move on, which is generally a lot harder and unpleasant at first but eventually you leave the shit behind. I had to realize that it was up to me to adapt, improvise and overcome. I had to stop feeling sorry for myself in any way and stop making excuses.


     2. I was too concerned about what people thought of me. Then I realized most people didn't even think about me, and when they did, their opinion of me was usually rooted in their own prejudices, bias and self image. I really don't care what people think about me now because there is a good chance they will think something different tomorrow. If they think of me at all.


     3. Desperate for love and doing anything to get it. People were attracted to me based on what they were looking for, what needs they wanted filled in their lives. I could make myself appealing to them by playing a role that would make them feel I could satisfy their needs. But it wasn't me they were loving, just a facade I was putting on. However, I did have complete control over loving others which I do now unconditionally without expecting anything in return. Now if someone is attracted to me, they are attracted to who I am, not a role I'm playing.


     4. Comparing myself to others. Finally woke up to the fact it's not a competition and there are no winners at the end of it all.


     5. Being complacent. Just accepting what I was told by experts, authorities, family or whoever instead of doing the hard work of questioning everything and finding things out for myself.


     6. Being attached to the past. I was holding on to the past, grieving the things I loved that had ended and regretting the mistakes I made. I wasn't living in the present but was trapped in the immutable past. I had to forgive, forget and focus on this day. and the journey ahead. As the song says "These are the good old days..."


     When I look back on myself at 30, this was me. I was unhappy, frustrated, lonely and felt hopeless. But I made myself that way and I had to unmake what I had made to be true to who I am. I'm sure that there are other things that screwed me up too, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment.

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