Adulting: Talking Negatively about Aging...
One of my friends was experiencing back pain. I spent a chunk of the day with her, and I noticed she was obviously hurting, but she was doing something else. She kept talking about her “younger years.” Too many references to the good old days, and I had to interrupt her and say, “Why are you talking like this? Where is this coming from? Do you suddenly feel old because of your back pain?”
And we both laughed. Really loudly.
It seems we are just conditioned to assume certain situations mean “old.” For my friend, back pain was one of them. I’m guilty of it too. I was recently diagnosed with tendinitis in my left hand and had to strap on a big hand brace. I told my sister I felt like I was ninety. She had the right attitude with her no-nonsense response:
“Seriously, Gina? Tendinitis is so common.”
And just like that I realized I had fallen into the same trap many others do: associating negative physical problems with getting “old.” I had to counter myself with this: Do people in their late teens and early 20s experience back pain and tendinitis?
And in my dramatic moment to my sister, I was so negative and talking in a way I never want to. I’m thankful my nieces and nephews hadn’t heard me. Because I don’t want to perpetuate that cycle of thinking. While sporting that brace on my wrist, I realized two healing and challenging truths:
Just a few negative words can make an impact on the younger ears (or really ANY ears) that are listening.
Remember the old adage, “if you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all”? Instead of keeping my mouth shut, I should absolutely speak, BUT speak positively. Silence can actually be negative.
And so, I changed how I talked about the tendinitis, and I felt more positive overall. Did it heal my wrist? Maybe not, but it helped heal and challenge my attitude. Jim Morrison said it best, I think: “There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” Changing myself might not seem like I’m doing much, but it’s a powerful first step toward changing the world for myself and others, like my nieces and nephews.