A few weeks ago I did something I have never done before. I ran four miles without stopping. Let me set some context here: I used to be one of those people who said, “I hate running!” I said that when I was a sprinter in college and every year afterwards until recently. The fact that I have overcome such a limiting belief is just one of many reasons why I believe that being 50 is better than 30.
I would have never imagined when I was 30 years old that I would go out and run four miles, for the first time, at the age of 50. Like many events in my life, this wasn’t something I ever planned; rather, it simply unfolded over time. It all began last autumn when my youngest son, Ryan, began working with a track coach. Every week we would meet at one of the local tracks and work out. Sometimes I would watch. Other times, I would work with them. Coach Titus was great with Ryan, understanding his initial resistance to the workouts and gently nudging him until Ryan began asking for more. When Coach couldn’t work with Ryan, he would send a training plan, and I would take him through the paces. You can see where this is going, no? Yes! I also began to strengthen my core muscles, I also began to build up my cardio conditioning, and I also began to want more — little by little.
Don’t think for one minute that you become more limited as you age, because that doesn’t have to be your reality. What you choose to do with your life is up to you and it all begins with your mindset. Too many people I know “dread” their birthdays, especially the big ones that end in “0.” It seems that by the time 30 rolls around people are already thinking negatively about their age.
I’m not 30, I’m 29.95 plus tax
You can imagine what one hears as the big 5 – 0 nears.
Fifty is the worst “F” word
This cultural bias of dread associated with getting older has created some very lucrative industries, especially for women. Hair coloring, for instance, begins the minute the first gray hair is noticed, which for many is around 30.
Here is an important question to consider:
Here’s the good news. Getting older is expansive if you allow it to be. I know this for a fact because it has been my experience. Hands down, I am healthier, happier, more energetic, more creative, more physically active, more of everything at 50 than I was at 30. Seriously. I blogged about this just before my birthday and, given my recent athletic achievement, I believe it deserves further discussion. Specifically, I want to share more of the aspects of my process to better health and happiness. Such as…
I spent years learning how to better love myself. That meant following my heart instead of the crowd. It meant not hiding behind my feelings that were in contrast to those around me (especially family). It meant me accepting me wholeheartedly and not trying to mold myself into the expectations of others. What did that look like as it manifested?
For starters, I stopped coloring my hair and let the true color shine through. That was an important part of my transformation because there is so much ego tied to body image, and I was no exception. I remember when a former colleague asked me why I stopped coloring my hair (with a tsk-tsk and a shake of her head), I explained that I was fighting my ego, and I thought my self-image made a great battleground. The winner would be made evident to the world, and I wanted to win. What I learned from this process is when I began to release attachments to ego, my true self had more room to emerge.
Secondly, I left a job making big money because it was not fulfilling to me. No package, no retirement, just started all over with something new that I loved: writing and coaching. The writing spawned my creative nature, and I’ve published two books and written five more in just over three years. My trilogy is forthcoming and I’ve two self-empowerment books in draft scheduled for release later this year. That’s a lot of inspiration flowing! When I gave myself permission to be me, it was like I unlocked the dam of creativity! Coaching allows me to give back by inspiring and nurturing others in their journey toward happiness and health.
Thirdly, and this is a big one, I’ve let go of beliefs instilled in me as a child that went unquestioned. As children, we expect our elders to know it all and tell us what is important and age-relevant for our well-being. What we don’t understand is that our parents, teachers, and ministers are molding us to fit within the familial and cultural norm. It takes a very enlightened parent to have a belief about something and not teach that belief to his or her children as truth. I’m inspired by MindValley founder Vishen Lakhiani, who openly shares why he rejected religion altogether and raises his son on the tenants of “Star Wars.” If you recoil at the thought, I especially encourage you to read his post. It’s incredibly enlightening!
Fourthly, I learned that genetically modified, processed, hormone-induced food products hurt my body. It took a three-week elimination diet and another four weeks of reintroducing products into my diet for this to be confirmed. Now I don’t eat glutens, soy, processed sugars, or diary. (I stopped eating red meat when I developed an allergy about eight years ago.) Not only have I lost ten pounds and lots of inches around my waist, hips and thighs (and I wasn’t heavy to begin with), I have more energy than I have in years. And even better, my husband tells me almost daily how much younger I look!
Lastly, I focus my thoughts on the good in my life and the wonderful future ahead. I see where I want my life to go, and that’s what I envision. I don’t look at the gap between where I am now and where I want to be. When things happen that make me feel bad (like the death of my mother), I practice allowing. Allowing is accepting life as it is and looking for the good in it. My mother may have passed, but I can be ever-so grateful for the loving relationship we had while she was alive. I am also grateful that I could be with her, along with my brother, holding her hand as her energy left the physical world and moved on to the next great thing.
I know great wisdom comes with aging. I know that mindset is the master of our of experience. I know that learning how to live a joyful life is a process that, if we are open to possibilities, only gets better with age. I know that for me, being 50 is so much better than being 30. And I know this chick just ran four-friggin miles on a beautiful Florida beach. All I can say is, bring it on!
What can you do to embrace the wisdom that only comes with age and expand your health and happiness?