A question has been on my mind these last couple of days which has significantly changed how I look upon my life:
How old do I want to become?
I have a bad habit of putting a lot on my plate and perhaps pushing myself a little harder than necessary. I have done and achieved a lot as a result of it, but I also feel the strain of living this way. Sleep deprivation and eating too little are regular issues, but so far I have not done much to solve them. I managed. I was fine. Why would I change anything? I got so much done!
Yet, now with this question constantly on my mind, I'm starting to think differently. Obviously youth is something fleeting – anyone over 30 will tell you that – but it's hard to really wrap your head around that fact, when you're still in the midst of your summer. At least it's been for me.
But that's changing now as I ponder this question, and in a wonderful way. I'm finally beginning to take care of myself: I eat better meals, I exercise more often and more diversely, and I prioritize my sleep religiously. In a word, I now live in a way that allows me to reach old age and keep a strong vitality, too. What has been a struggle for so long has suddenly become so easy. Finally, I understand what's at stake.
Technology and longevity research will enable us to grow a lot older than we do now (if you're interested in the topic, I can really recommend Peter Diamandis' book The Future is Faster than You Think). 80 could easily become the new 50, but only if we implement healthy habits and use the tricks and tools available to prevent degenerative aging. By no means do I want to live forever, but I'd love to stay mentally and physically fit throughout my life (not talking about crazy beauty ideals here, but about reducing pain, weakness, brain fog, etc.), and that's not gonna happen if I continue to live the way I have.
A few months ago, I wrote an article about standing irresolutely between self-development & self-care. Apart from knowing that I was struggling with finding balance, I didn't know what I had to change to live in equilibrium. But this little question has brought a whole new light on the topic: Self-development as a future-oriented vision, and self-care as a present moment practice. The latter feeding into the former, and the former fuelling the commitment to the latter. To reach my highest potential, I have to take care of myself, too. Again; duh, but I haven't really understood it until now. It hadn't yet settled in the marrow of my bones.
And honestly, I think I would be a fabulous old lady, wandering through the world and sharing her wisdom and kindness with her surroundings. I want to enjoy that part of my life as much as I enjoy this part, meaning not being limited by backpain, dizziness and illnesses that could have been prevented.
With those words, I'll go grab a spinach smoothie and some essential oils (that was meant very sarcastically). No, I'll end this little minddump by directing the same question at you. Perhaps it stirs some thoughts in you as well:
How old do you want to get? And what does it require of you today to reach that age?