Three Ways to Stop Dreading & Start Celebrating MoreMar 16, 2022
It’s my birthday!
I am officially closing out one decade – decade! – and moving into a new one, and I’m reeeeaaaally looking forward to celebrating in the weeks ahead. I love celebrating my birthday a lot a lot! (No, that's not a typo.) I do a number of fun things and spend lots of time with friends and family. (I even throw in the flying trapeze in the mix every once in a while!)
I’ve been thinking about how many people dread their birthday. Admittedly, I did go through a bit of that a while back. However, that was really about me just being salty about not being able to celebrate my last two forties – I absolutely l-o-v-e-d my forties – because of the pandemic situation. Sure, I was able to do a little bit of celebrating, but only a small fraction of the norm. So any bad feelings I had about this birthday were really about the other two birthdays being so lame.
The typical birthday dread that’s been on my mind, though, is the kind that tends to come from fearful thoughts about things like getting older, running out of time and slowing down. These are all very valid, real-life considerations. Unfortunately, we can’t stop time, but we CAN take action towards living our lives with deeper levels of passion, fulfillment and joy today!
I believe that most of our bad feelings about the topic of age or aging are rooted in living out of alignment with our own truth and tolerating what doesn’t feel good or right for too long because of fear and/or guilt around making the necessary changes. I’m not sure that there is such a thing as a life without regret, but we can certainly take action towards living without the regret of staying stuck living the life that others expect us to live because we don’t have the courage to live a life true to ourselves.
In other words, your age is your age. That can’t be changed, but how you approach your days can be changed. I understand that many people come from the perspective of a birthday being a reminder of the limited amount of time they have left in this lifetime. I absolutely get it and feel it with you. My question is: Do you want to dwell on what you lack or do you want to celebrate and make the most of what you do have?
Regardless of your age, how you feel about your age and birthdays, or how you choose to celebrate, here are a few ideas you may want to consider:
Reality Check – Change Your Thoughts
What’s always been interesting to me is how younger generations declare older generations to be “old” when they have absolutely zero experience being any older than they are. Think about when you were 16 or 23 years old. I bet you thought that 37, 45, 59…were all “old,” right? I’d also bet that when you reached those old ages that you didn’t feel old, right? Seriously, why would a twenty-something-year old think they’re even remotely qualified to determine if you are old, even if that twenty-something-year old was once you?!
We’ve all heard people say things like “I’m officially old” or “I’m over the hill now.” Maybe we’ve even had people say that to us (a seriously rude way to say HBD, if you ask me! Perhaps more of a statement of how they feel about their own age?) These are ideas that have been planted in our minds that we can choose to change. Just because people keep repeating these things does not mean that you need to accept them as truth.
Yes, there was a time when 30 years was about the expected lifespan. But, thankfully, that isn’t the case any longer. The average lifespan has more than doubled since the 1800s. Now there are quite a number of people who are living into their hundreds. We’ve been able to study and identify the commonalities of all of the so-called blue zones around the world where the highest number of centenarians live, so we know what we can do to increase our health and longevity.
Just as the human lifespan has evolved, let’s evolve our ideas and words. You get to decide whether or not you will accept the comments and ideas of others when it comes to your age. The reality is that everyone is, in fact, older today than they were yesterday. Given what the alternative would be, that certainly seems like a good thing which seems to make getting older a good thing, right? Yes, there will be a time when you will be old, but is that day really today?
Break the Cycle - Follow Your Truth
When we’re younger, we feel like we have all the time in the world to do all the things that we dream of and want to experience and accomplish. However, we also pick up a lot of ideas about what we should do and how we should live our lives as we set out creating our lives. As we go along, we inevitably develop new interests, discover things we like and don’t like, get into difficult situations or relationships, and so on.
These experiences give us the opportunity to learn and develop clarity about what we truly want so that we can move forward in a direction that’s best for us. The trouble is, though, that we often don’t adjust course and we end up staying in the same place and experiencing the same lesson over and over again, which…takes a lot of our time in life.
The sooner you get clear on what is and is not serving you in your life, the sooner you can take the action towards greater happiness.
I’m not going to dismiss your challenges and struggles or minimize the amount of effort it requires to take action and make changes. Honestly, it can be insanely tough to even identify the pattern or belief that needs to change. For example, I just wrapped up a powerful coaching session where my client was finally able to identify that her resilience and tolerance for tough situations was what was actually keeping her in situations she doesn’t want to be in way too long. For her, it had become a badge of to be able to stick it out so long, but now she can see how miserable that makes her and that she hasn’t been honoring herself or trusting what her gut has been telling her.
It can be a pretty tough pill to swallow as we reach a milestone like a birthday, especially a milestone birthday, and we realize how much time we have been spending on something that hasn’t been serving us well and we wish we would have spent the time on something more in alignment with our goals and dreams. Layer on the things you’ve heard about where you should be by whatever age or what the definition of old is according to someone else, and it’s no wonder why so many dread their next birthday.
The sooner you reach the point where you stop caring so much about what everyone else is doing or will think about you if you do this or that, and the sooner you start living your truth, the sooner you will find the joy in the journey. Stop wasting your time caring about what they want you to do and honor your truth. Stop chasing after relationships or jobs that truthfully leave you feeling drained and bad about yourself.
Break the Cycle - Take Action Now
When you think about it, birthdays are very similar to New Year’s Eve where we all say things like wow, I can’t believe another year is gone. Of course, it’s traditional for many to set New Year’s resolutions, which, unfortunately, often end up being the same ones that were set the year before because yet another year passed without following through with taking the necessary actions.
Birthdays give us that same kind of reminder about the actions we haven’t been taking. So over the years, of course you’re likely to end up dreading your birthdays because they become reminders of what you haven’t been doing and that another year is gone.
Break the cycle and start taking the actions you need to take to follow your truth, make your dreams a reality and find the fulfillment and joy that you deserve starting today!
There are always actions that you can take towards a better version of yourself and your life. The relative size of the action or step doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you take action. Without action your dreams and goals become nothing more than fantasies. Dreams and goals require action.
What are you still allowing in your life that isn’t serving you or in alignment with your deepest desires? What's one action you can take that will serve you or is in alignment?
What goals and dreams are you hiding from others because you think people will think you're crazy or won't be able to achieve it? Who can you share the details with today?
What are have you put on hold for too long because you’ve been waiting for the right time? What is one thing you can do towards that goal today?
Here are a number of ideas to get the momentum going:
- Slow down and become more mindful of how you are feeling about your situation and direction
- Be present in the moment so you can find more joy (it also does wonders for slowing down time!)
- Experience new things – we all need novelty (which also helps slow time)
- Learn new things regularly – it’s good for your brain
- Find a walking buddy and get moving and keep moving
- Invest in proper shoes to help prevent difficulties with your knees or back
- Take up yoga to stretch and strengthen your muscles
- Find a contractor, coach, realtor, trainer or other professional to help support and expedite your progress
Yes, there may come a time in your life where you literally begin to slow down in a number of different ways, but that’s no reason to stop moving forward today.
From my perspective, the reality is that every morning I wake up, I am a day older than I was the day before, and – HOT DAMN – am I grateful to have another day! (Said with a fist pound on the table for emphasis.) I’ve got stuff to do and I’m going to take action toward my goals and dreams every day of my life. There will be days when I’m not in the best mood and where I don’t make much progress, but that’s okay because it’s part of the journey and I know I'm living it to the fullest.
The world needs more happy, fulfilled people and you deserve to be one of them.
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