I’ve been thinking about the term “age-appropriateness”. I think that many times this phrase gets in the way of our potential to let loose and have fun. From the standpoint of emotional maturity it makes sense – nothing’s more obnoxious than seeing a grown adult throw a temper tantrum that would rival a two year old – but what I’m talking about here is the difference between the maturity (hopefully) that comes with age and experience, and being constrained by social propriety. Who makes up these rules, anyway?
Have you ever held yourself back from doing something that you’d really like to do because it doesn’t “befit your age”? I know I have, though after hitting the big 5-0 and experiencing the death of a dear friend last year I started to become a bit rebellious against this mindset. Why should I constrain myself to what other people deem appropriate? And you know what? I’ve been enjoying life a heckuva lot more.
I hold a vision of myself in old-age that is inspired by a woman I saw at a concert a year or so ago. This woman, definitely well into her golden years, was wheelchair bound, but also had a cane with her. With long crazy gray hair flowing, she “danced” in her wheelchair and played her cane like an air guitar with such exuberance that the crow parted to give her ample room. This woman was in pure joy, it was so beautiful to see. If she had “acted her age” she may have very well been at home embroidering doilies, having long ago given up her love of rock ‘n roll. Nothing wrong with embroidering doilies, but I somehow get the sense that it wouldn’t bring the level of enjoyment this woman felt while listening to the music that day.
So let me ask you a few questions: What have you given up to conform to society’s idea of age-appropriateness? Is there something that you would secretly love to do, but don’t for fear of looking ridiculous? And who would be doing the judging? Do they matter in your life if they don’t support your happiness? And what if you discovered that the one keeping you in your place is none other than you? Could you push yourself a little out of your comfort zone and pull in a little more youthful spirit back into your life?
Here’s to rockin’ on wit’ yer bad self!
From Over There:
“That which brings pure joy in youth is to be nurtured in age. To allow oneself the joys of youth is to allow a closer connection to spirit. It is the relinquishing of youthful joy as the body ages that creates a detachment to the spirit and over attachment to the body and potential physical ailments. With the allowing of wonder and youthful excitement the aging of the physical self decelerates. This occurs as when one is in the state of childlike wonder, one is in a state of joy, and the body does not hold onto the energy of stress and tension in this state. When one chooses cynicism over wonder the energy of joy has no place in the body and stress builds, creating tension and an acceleration of the body’s degeneration process. Allowing the continuation of youthful joy creates greater happiness, no matter that condition of the physical self.”
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