Changing Your Mindset About Aging

Elizabeth Gilbert calls curiosity a gentle, forgiving and constant friend. You can make connection with curiosity simply by asking questions. How else could I see this? What else could I try? Who else could I be? Sometimes just posing the questions opens us to flexible adaptive responses to our lives.

For me, I noticed the image of the debilitated old lady and asked myself, Can I do better than this right now? What will happen if I really try to do three push-ups? Just asking the questions loosens the hold on the mindset. I am making progress and I actually think that I can be strong again.

A practice of curiosity loosens the fixed nature of our thinking and behavior, encourages a growth mindset and helps us change.

On AARP’s disrupt aging website, Cyndi Lauper shares her belief that we are brainwashed by aging stereotypes and she suggest we listen to our inner selves. But what does that mean?

Older woman sitting on park bench

Older woman sitting on park bench

How does one develop the capacity to listen beyond the din of fixed, expected cultural norms? Attuning to one’s inner truth is a skill that requires practice.

For me, listening beyond the naysayer in my head was not easy. I had to listen long enough to connect with my desire to be strong and grounded. This desire lived underneath a multitude of judgments about my body and women’s bodies. But now when I work out I try to listen to the voice that says – You are a strong woman with strong arms, legs and heart.

Taking the time for quiet reflection, journaling and making art are all ways that one can tune into oneself and listen for other states of being and potential.

In order to let go of what we know and expect, we have to be able to envision something else. We have to let ourselves imagine a way of being, a new role, or an untapped possibility in order to help it manifest. Imagining is an act of creativity. And it is available to all of us. It is in our human nature to make up stories, play with reality, pretend, perform and expand our concept of self.

We can take the time to let our imagination create new stories and see ourselves differently. We can tell the new story to ourselves and then to others.

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