Believe it or not, there are some advantages to being older than dirt. A widened perspective, for one. Having traveled a sufficient distance from the chaotic days when each tree loomed large, now as the saying goes, we can see the forest.
That ‘life or death’ decision made back in time when you changed jobs, got divorced or coughed up $3,999 for a Yugo, is now a piece of a much larger landscape. What you did and what happened to your advantage or detriment is seen in the broad scheme of things, not as the singular event that altered your life for the good or the bad.
Now, in our senior years, we have a widened perspective that includes the ecosystem that surrounded us in our childhood. We can see the influences that shaped us. And with the wisdom we’ve acquired, either reframe or reinforce how we think about ourselves and decide how we live our lives going forward.
We can reconstruct how we came to have the attitude toward life that drives us and determine if whom we have become is in alignment with who we want to be; authentic and without artifice.
If in our early, formulative years our childhoods were rooted in an environment that neglected rather than nurtured us, chances are good that inappropriate or possibly destructive behavior would follow, reflecting the absence of the role models we needed.
With our survival-first behavior defining us, limits to our capabilities would become accepted. In turn, a history of minimal achievement would become the seed-bed for a degraded belief about ourselves that in time would become our identity, leaving little room for personal fulfillment.
The good news is, we don’t have to be stuck in that scenario. It’s a eureka moment when we realize that the lens through which we saw things may have produced a distorted picture of what we had concluded to be ‘true’ - perception may not be reality.
When we are older and wiser, we see the accident of time and place that gave us our first ideas of how to behave and who we were ordained to be. We see that our identity was a “product of” rather than “inherent to.” We begin to realize, despite the popularity of the adage, experience is not necessarily the best teacher!
With a widened perspective and insight into the influences that shaped us, we can bestow upon ourselves a wonderful gift, self-esteem with the emphasis on the authentic Self.
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