Middle age has now come to the point where it covers a very wide field.
Years ago people in their forties were considered to be middle aged, but today most people don’t consider that it applies to them before at least fifty.
Once we get to fifty most of us probably feel that there is still some time yet before we need to consider ourselves at the point of mid-life, but once the over fifties arrive, the thoughts about what is to come start creeping in.
Fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety. How far do we think we are looking ahead?
It was easy at twenty because we all thought that we had forty years in front of us before we needed to think about anything like that. It all seemed so very far away, but once the fifties and sixties arrive, if we do in fact make it that far, many don’t, we start to consider what we are going to do with ourselves for the future unknown years to come.
People die at all ages, for all sorts of reasons, so on a personal level it is not worth thinking about when we might die. It doesn’t really matter because there is nothing that we will be able to do about it when the time comes, so it’s not worth giving it too much consideration, except perhaps for making a will and expressing your wishes about what kind of funeral you might want. Apart from that it is probably best to assume that you are going to live forever and take each day as it comes. When you get to sixty years old, it’s entirely possible that you could have at least another forty years to live, so what do you plan to do for the next forty years?
Health problems can arise at any stage of our lives, it’s not just the domain of the old. However fit we have been for the first half of our lives we inevitably lose some of that fitness when we get past the middle aged part of our lives. We can’t rush around and indulge to quite the same degree as we could when we were in our twenties. However, that is pertaining to our physical selves, but inside we are still the same person that we have always been. You were ‘you’ when you were six, and you were the same ‘you’ when you were ten and fifteen and twenty five, right up to whatever age you are at present. Nothing changes inside, it’s just the outer shell that deteriorates and ages, making us less fit and agile than we were, and changing the way we look.
‘You’ are actually your invisible self, housed in an ever changing body. Your body is changing and renewing itself by the minute. Our skin completely renews itself every thirty five days, we get a new liver every six weeks and a completely new brain every two months. The cells in our stomach which are responsible for digesting food are renewed every five minutes and our entire skeletal structure is renewed every three months.
We get a completely renewed body every five to seven years!
Speed and efficiency of renewal all depend on how healthy we are and of course some people age physically faster than others, but the fact is that our actual physical body is not the same one as we had some weeks ago and yet the person, the ‘you’ which inhabits it remains a constant.
It is this inner ‘you’ which controls which way you go in your life and you always have unlimited power over what you do. It might not have seemed so at times when things have gone badly wrong or when other people have come into the mix and influenced you to make decisions you might not otherwise have made, or made you go to places you might not otherwise have gone to. But whatever has happened along the way, either good or bad, you have taken decisions which have brought you to where you are now.
We are intuitive beings and tend to follow our gut feeling in whatever we do. How often have you gone to a place where you have picked up a good or bad ‘vibe’, or gone along with a plan attracted by the excitement and illusion it promises, really knowing that it was going to be the wrong decision and probably kicking yourself when it all goes pear shaped further down the line, as you really did know it wasn’t right at the start? We all collect a bunch of ‘I knew it’ stories as we progress through life.
As we grow up we adopt an image of ourselves that we carry throughout our lives. It is not just about being tall, short, fat, thin, ugly or pretty, it is also about the image of ourselves which we are projecting out to the world, which can be a mixture of all those features. We could of course be completely wrong and what we hate about our physical selves, our false identity, goes unnoticed by everyone else. It is the hang ups about ourselves that get noticed. We can, if we are not careful, make a big deal about something which may steer our lives in an unnecessary direction. Quite often, by middle age we can turn around and look back and ask ourselves why we have let something which means less to us now, rule over our lives so much in the past.
By middle age you start to realise that your life is important to you, and that is a very good time to make the determination to live every day to the full, as full as you are able to do ‘today’ and not put too much store in what has passed by. It is also a good time to take responsibility for what you do in your life without thinking too much about what is going to happen in the future when you don’t know how much future you’ve got, why waste time worrying about it?
In some ways middle age and beyond can be a new beginning. The beginning of a forty year plan.
Before you can plan any kind of future it is important to go back to find the ‘you’ person who has always been there living in this body which is ever changing and growing older as the years go by. ‘You are always still there no matter what, viewing the world from the inside out. The real ‘you’ is pure, innocent and beautiful, a hard thing to accept when we observe some of the wrong things people get up to (with their physical persona) during their lifetimes. It is very important to acknowledge the real ‘you’ and love and trust the real ‘you’, because the real ‘you’ is all there is.
There is a thing called the ego which tries to govern our spiritual and physical life. The ego gets its strength and power from orchestrating our physical and material existence. It tries to make our inner self falsely believe we are in some way inadequate so that our physical selves feel the need to go out and say and do things we don’t really want to, just so that we can appear accomplished, wealthy, or more beautiful than anyone else.
Of course it is OK to pursue money so that we can have and do the things that make us happy, and to make us look good towards the world which is observing us, but it all needs to be done at happiness level and without stress and strain, otherwise life becomes a toil and unhappiness will set in.
At middle age we are all at the stage where we can reflect a little on mistakes and decisions we have made in the past which we can probably see clear as day now. Most of us have heard the saying ‘If I knew then what I know now, how differently my life could have been’. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, it is knowledge we have gained, and lessons learned along the way since day one. It would be a shame not to use that knowledge and experience to enhance the rest of our lives.
Our health is also a key factor about how we feel in middle age. No matter how fit we are, we are all going to struggle if we want to re-create our twenty year old selves. We won’t be as fast and sharp, but we will certainly be a lot less stupid. Poor health in advancing age is a great drawback. Our only option is to strive to improve our ailments and try our best to work around them from day to day, never giving up on improvement.
There are many things which contribute to ill health. Our general mind set can dictate whether we deal with it well or badly. Neuroscientists have recently found in trials that someone with a negative or pessimistic outlook will be more likely to have a damaged immune system, which will increase the possibility of catching diseases or slow down the recovery from injury. What the ego dictates that the ‘you’ feels can manifest into any number of ailments in any part of the body. In her famous book ‘You can heal your life’ Louise L Hay lists an extensive number of conditions and ailments, and circumstances and attitudes which have helped to trigger them. It is up to you to decide whether you think there is part or all of your ailments that you can do something to improve.
Medical doctors don’t know everything. They can only prescribe what they know and what they have been taught to prescribe faced with an ailment. Most are not schooled in diet or alternative treatments and are compelled to remain focused purely on the conditions of the illness and not look holistically at the whole picture which may have caused the person to arrive at this point. It is not to say that medical doctors are a waste of time, they are indeed invaluable for treating urgent ailments and diseases, diagnosis and detecting early signs of conditions such as cancer, but some things which onset at middle age, such as arthritis, acid reflux, chest ailments, bad digestion, high blood pressure and so on, can be the result of not doing things correctly early on in your life, like smoking and drinking too much and a badly thought out diet which are now showing up with consequences to your health.
Now is the time to start cleaning up and making an effort to encourage your body to go into self healing mode. It might not be a cure-all, but it could certainly go a long way to complementing whatever other treatment you are getting. Our ego gives us our addictions such as smoking, drinking, drugs, food, even gambling. They are all actions which supply some ease from the mistaken belief in our inadequacy which we have buried deep within ourselves. Not only the short physical relief we get from these things but the practice of doing them serves as a mask of the pain, or a crutch during our every day lives, a crutch that we become very reluctant to put down and live without.
Start thinking about putting all your mistakes and bad decisions behind you, and make the decision to manifest the best future you can for yourself, be it fourteen hours, fourteen days, fourteen months or fourteen thousand days. Don’t dwell on the length of time you have got left to live, just on how good you can aim to make it now.
Whatever age you are now, you could have at least another forty years in front of you. How are you going to fill it?
As the great Louise L. Hay says in her book “You can Heal your Life”:- ” Love your body, its with you for the rest of your life, so you want to make it the best relationship you can have. “