Truth be told … age has no number. It’s a mindset. Even when your body isn’t cooperating or your health is challenged, how you perceive and position your mind does make a difference.
Not to sound trite, but take for example the simple act of smiling, whether you feel like it or not, it does change your disposition.
What happens is, when you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides. These help fight off stress. Soon other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins join the party. Endorphins act as a mild pain reliever, serotonin is an antidepressant, and dopamine increases our feelings of happiness. So, there’s a lot more that meets the eye, by the simple act of smiling.
It’s the same thing with aging. If you think you’re old, you’ll feel old. It’s like when you assume a role, you take on that role. Have you ever noticed, and I’m generalizing, how couples change when they marry? They tend to assume conventional roles. Although thankfully things are changing where roles are blurring. Same thing at work. Have you ever noticed that you’re not the same person when you’re working? You may take on a more serious conservative side. In fact, for a while no one knew exactly how to ‘act’ in a work environment until we started talking about vulnerability. We weren’t quite sure what was ‘ok’ to say and feel or not! It’s still confusing.
The truth is, were always trying to navigate the roles we play and when. It’s not cut and dry unless you’re the kind of person who naturally and courageously is, simple you. It doesn’t come easy.
Similarly, if you think you’re old you tend not to be as adventurous or as interested in exploring. You may think you don’t have the energy for it when really it could be your mind telling you not to do something. Society plays an enormous role in this. We talk about age as a timeline for what we should and shouldn’t be doing. That’s ridiculous.
How about being MORE curious as we age? Think about trying new things. Ask yourself – “Where am I in my life and what do I want to achieve, accomplish, or simply play at?” I’m suggesting if you want more, then don’t let the idea of a number stop you.
I physically and emotionally feel a lot younger than my chronological age, so that’s how I act. You see, we’re still acting, but in this case, this shift in my mindset allows me to believe that I have more energy, and then I do.
Imagine, if you had never seen your birth certificate. You were simply told by your parents that you were born on such and such a day, month, year. You believed them of course. Until decades later when your father has passed away and your mother is just days away from death, she asks you to come by her bedside. She must confess something to you (while handing over your actual birth certificate) that you’re 15 years younger than you believed to be. Whoa, mind blowing.
Ok, I obviously made this up and yet think about it. What age would you be if you didn’t know your age? How would you act? You see, that ‘acting’ word keeps popping up.
Let’s try an experiment ..
Act as if you’re 15 years younger – unless of course you’re 15 years old. Try it on for size and see if anything shifts for you – in your mind, body, and spirit. Notice your energy. Notice your disposition. Does your mind feel lighter? Does anything change? I’d be curious to see what transpires for you.
At the end of the day, and there will be, the idea of “act as if …” can serve you in ways where you’re leading your life based on how you feel rather than your chronological age.
Unless of course you feel 15 years older than you are. Then you need to consider taking another approach. However, the concept remains the same. Shifting your mindset, shifts your body.
These are just a few things I’ve been thinking about lately.