By Georgia Smith, MA
“Aging.” Not a word we think about when we are young.
Life should be enjoyable and fulfilling at any age. Hold onto your goals, hopes, and dreams with determination and resolve to fulfill those ideas to the fullest. View life from a positive perspective, knowing that each day is a blessing. As we age, there may be days when our bodies cannot do as much as our minds would hope to do, but determination to live a fulfilled and happy life is still the resolve.
This article will also benefit younger individuals. Young people can be a great inspiration and encouragement to older people with a positive attitude, energy, and words of affirmation.
The meaning of resolve is a “firm determination to do something, a decision, a commitment.” Aging with resolve involves a strong desire to age with a determination, goals, objective, and attitude. Did you know that a vision for your future provides the human soul with a sense of belonging and accomplishment? It is true. Look at major corporations and how or why they are successful. They have a vision and goals set in motion. They keep this vision alive and flourishing with a positive attitude. We need vision even in our older age to bring fulfillment and joy to our lives.
One of my favorite authors and theorist on the topic of aging is Eric Erikson. He developed a psychosocial breakdown by age groups of mindsets at particular time frames in life. Understanding two particular time frames of age groups from middle adulthood (40 to 65), and older adulthood (65 and over) will help. Erikson calls middle adulthood “generativity vs. stagnation” and it is described as a time when careers and relationships are established. Reflecting on this time period will either make one feel they have given back to society and accomplished what they have set out to accomplish or they feel stagnation and at a standstill.
Generativity gives you a sense of fulfillment and positive reflection, while stagnation brings feelings of regret. If there is regret, the stagnation can be a motivator for changes in your life. “Ego integrity vs. despair” is the older time frame (65 and older) and is described as reflecting on our lives with integrity if we see ourselves leading successful lives, or with despair if we become dissatisfied with our accomplishments or lack thereof, which often leads to depression and a sense of hopelessness. At the point of despair, it is important to establish a vision and a goal(s) for your life. The despair is the gage that says it is time to make a new plan. It is never too late to be productive and happy. Maybe you can relate to one of these time frames. Do you have a vision or goal(s) in mind?
Be encouraged by others who have gone before us in the aging process and accomplished aging with resolve. Vera Wang, famous designer, did not begin her career in design until she was 40 years old. The Model T car was designed and created by Henry Ford at age 45. Author Harry Bernstein wrote many books, which were rejected, but earned his first hit book at age 96. The famous painter Grandma Moses was 78 before she ever painted. Ray Kroc was 53 years old when he nationalized the McDonald’s burger. These are only a few people who have endeavored to embrace aging. Maybe you want to learn to play a musical instrument, to sing, to paint, learn to dance, or write a book. You may never be “famous” in your accomplishments, but you will have accomplished “aging with resolve.”
To Age with Resolve:
- Take an inventory of what you would like to do. For example: playing music, cooking, exercising, teaching, writing, volunteering, etc.
- Write a vision statement for your life with your goals and projections.
- Keep a regular routine to take care of yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
- A thankful heart is like medicine. Focus on the positive and let go of that which you cannot change.
Georgia Smith is in private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas providing counseling for children, adolescents, adults, and marriage and family. She is also an author of two books and a public speaker. Georgia may be reached at 469-855-0808 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. www.counselingbygeorgia.com