Adulting: What Do You Do When You "Feel Old"?
While putting dishes away in my kitchen the other evening, I was also doing my typical overthinking. Because recently, I’ve noticed a phrase pop in my mind that I say to myself: “I feel old.”
And it doesn’t have a positive feeling connected to it. Bleh.
I don’t like this, and I don’t want this thought pattern to continue. I searched online to see if there was any encouragement for myself that I could then share with you, as we are in this together. My typical way of balancing my thinking is to remember the difficulty of being “young” and the hardships I faced: it wasn’t all roses. But I wanted something more. I wanted a back-up plan for when this method just wasn’t powerful enough to combat my thoughts.
I decided to do an Internet search, and I found this gem of an article on Psychology Today by Katherine King Psy D. It's titled: "Feeling 'Old'? What Do You Mean?" And I’ll put the link to the full article at the end of this text. I really recommend you save it and read it when you are having a similar down moment. It’s like vitamins for the soul.
Dr. King asks a very real question about positive experiences associated with being young:
[W]hy shouldn’t these experiences also be part of what it can “feel like” to be 70, 80, 90 years old?
She continues on to suggest we squash the negativity and instead associate “feeling old” with optimistic enthusiasm. Here are some of her examples:
What are some positive ways in which we might “feel old”?
Maybe when we retire and finally have time to pursue a lifelong passion. When our hearts burst with pride to see the amazing adults our children have become. Or maybe “feeling old” can happen when we sit with our dying parents or siblings and feel full of gratitude for all the life we shared with them. Or, it can refer to that realization that we’ve survived hardship in our lives and we wouldn’t trade it for anything because it taught us something important.
Her suggestions are crucial because they help us take that leap into a more positive mindset. “Be Positive” is not just a slogan on a cute card or sparkly pillow, but an action in our mind that can pull us into a better place.
Her final paragraph is a perfect call to action for all of us:
We could look to the good in aging, in ourselves and others, and speak it out loud when we see it. We can show our children and grandchildren new ways to think about aging to slowly change the conversation about what it means to be, and “feel,” old.
Fantastic idea, Dr. King.
When we are having an “I feel old” moment, we should remind ourselves why feeling old is actually pretty amazing. Without all the years behind us, we wouldn’t have met such fascinating people, worked past our major challenges, and witnessed some beautiful moments from nature. By reminding ourselves of truths like these, we are not only positive, we re-explore the richness that is in our life.
(To read the original article, please click below – and enjoy!! Feeling "Old"? What Do You Mean?