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  • Leah Barrett

Growing Old, Gaining Wisdom.


Part of me cannot quite believe I’m writing about my aging process. Yeah, yeah, yeah I know the cliches. “You are only as old as you feel.”, “Age is just a number”, etc., etc., etc.. Except, I cannot deny that I’m officially (most likely) past the half-way point of my life expectancy. I mean, I might live until I’m 94, but probably not. Now, I’m not complaining. Just the opposite. I’m relieved.

As the Irish Proverb states, I am relaxing into growing older. I feel privileged to experience this life with all of it’s ups and downs. With age comes perspective. And, with perspective may come wisdom. I say “may” because wisdom just doesn’t happen. It’s cultivated. One definition of wisdom references “insight”; ability to discern inner qualities and relationships. (“Wisdom.” Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013. <;.) 

Ok. Let me not be so quite esoteric by putting these thoughts into context. Just to review, you probably know by now that my formal/educational training is in nutritional sciences, social work and fitness. I’ve woven these disciplines together in the work I do. So with that in mind, growing older can be an opportunity to practice self-acceptance. Growing older is a process of letting go. Faced with the prospect that we most likely have less time on this planet than we have lived on this planet means we can either react with Freudian death anxiety or embrace each moment for what it is. An even more specific example: weight loss. Putting your life on hold until you achieve that goal weight. Not allowing yourself to be happy until that is accomplished. Same concept, different example: exercise goals. Feeling disappointed if you are not seeing the results you expected such as faster, stronger, leaner, better. Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I am bashing “goal-setting”. I’m just suggesting that the “setting” part of goal-setting might be reworked or better stated, relaxed.

So, isn’t this a form of wisdom? Learning from experience and with age comes experience. Let’s choose to learn from it, live by it and be with it.

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