How Sixty is a lot like Sixteen
Powerful tools of Perspective and Choice
I was ruminating on the way that I vacillate on the merits or detriments of my age on a given day depending on the circumstances I find myself in. I find that there are times that I feel about being Sixty that it is very young and I have so much more to look forward to.
I often feel like Sixty doesn't even feel like an accurate number for the way I live and feel on a regular basis.
That is, however, on my best days! There are those less than idyllic days when I find myself feeling like "Sheesh, what do you expect, I'm Sixty for God's sake!" On those days, I'm feeling like Sixty may as well be one hundred and I find myself looking for a bit of latitude about what's expected of me at that age.
While pondering this I also thought about times when I was a teenager on the brink of adulthood, and how similarly I toyed with perspective around my age.
There were times that I'd feel like screaming "I'm almost an adult for Goodness sake, let me do what I want!". Of course, there was the flip side here as well; days where I felt vulnerable and afraid of all the challenges ahead I had to face as a young adult. On those days I'd be saying something more like "What do you want from me, I'm only Sixteen?!"
What came to me as I considered all of this, is that it is all about our perspective!
And we also have a choice in how we view life. So I thought it was a fruitful topic to look at the ways in which we can harness the power of Perspective and the freedom of choice to create more of a life we want and experience less of the negative we don't want.
In life we have the freedom of choice. This is a gift! We get to choose how we are going to react to our lives. Two different people can experience the very same occurrence in their lives, but have very different experiences around it dependent on how they choose to view it.
For instance, I may be delighted to be called to Jury Duty; I may see it as a break from a job and excited to get the opportunity to perhaps sit on a jury. But, another person might view this same request as a terrible intrusion on their lives. They may have gnashing of teeth and great angst about the disruption to their lives and find the whole thing terribly unsettling.
The bottom line is that both people will be called whether they like it or not. In choosing how to react you get to experience this as a positive situation regardless of the outcome.
I was called to Jury Duty just a few days ago. I would like to tell you that I went into this with a casual attitude of acceptance, but in fact, I was like the latter example; I felt annoyed at being called and anxious about the whole situation.
The outcome for me ended up being quite positive, but the takeaway was realizing that had I chosen to just accept the summons and behave like it was just another normal day, I could have saved myself so many days of feeling anxiety and unsettledness around this. The outcome might have stayed the same regardless of how I felt, but I could simply have not spent several days leading up to this feeling so unhappy and out of control.
Choosing the perspective we see life through can take even the most negative situation and create a positive "spin".
I recently completed reading "The Book of Joy" which features a meeting between world leaders Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama discussing how they have achieved a life of pure joy. Joy that is not dependent on anything; just Joy for no specific reason.
One of the keys that they share, is the ability to find the good in any situation.
This involves using your perspective to see the good, through perhaps a lot of layers of not so good; perhaps even devastation and misery!
Look at the Dalai Lama who has been in exile most of his life from his own country! Yet he lives in utter joy as he chooses to see the beauty in his life and the good that came even from such a negative experience. Desmond Tutu has lived through apartheid to come out the other side as a joyful being invested in life!
We all have lived through some very negative experiences; some worse than others of course. But, is it possible you can look back at something you experienced as devastating and find something positive that grew from it?
I bet if you look hard enough that you will find at least one kernel of good that the negative experience begat.
About six years ago I experienced a crime that nearly took my life. I spend several years suffering from PTSD and wondering about the purpose for my life.
But, as I healed I looked back and saw that because of this crime I made many big changes to my life that propelled me to the better life I'm living now!
It may be a stretch for many to be grateful for a negative experience, but I did in fact learn to be grateful for this experience. Let me be clear that I in no way am grateful to have suffered specifically, but to have endured this to rise above and find a better life-I am absolutely grateful!
Had this crime not happened, I might not have moved back to my home town and then taken care of and spent time with my aging mother. Had that not happened, I would have missed out on two of the closest years she and I shared in our lifetimes!
I also was present for the birth of my Granddaughter and have been able to forge closer relationships with both of my children. Every day, because I'm aligned with being positive I find something good to be grateful for.
It's not always negative experiences that we see through a negative perspective either. Sometimes a very positive situation can be experienced as negatively because of the perspective in which it's viewed.
One can look at even a gift as a negative experience when they are not using a positive perspective. I've known people who were angry to be given a gift from someone because they had not bought anything for them! But, they got a gift, is that not something to be cheerful about?
We truly have the option to look at life and see the good in everything, or we can stay in a negative place and see life through a filter of negativity.
Perhaps wearing rose colored glasses is not such a bad idea? Why not choose to put a positive spin on whatever comes up for you? It can't hurt, and it just might help you through those less than stellar days.
Whether you are Sixteen or Sixty, you can find the positive in life if you just choose your perspective.
For me, I will still revel in being joyful about my age when it suits me, and some days I might use my age as a get out of jail free card. The choice is mine.
And really, the choice is yours too!