Joy & Reinvention at Middle Age
By Jo-Anne Weiler, RCC
Accept it or not, aging is one of life’s great realities. How we face this reality is a matter of choice!! In many ways, what I’ve been observing is how nature mentors us to reinvent and stay flexible and to continue to grow our identities, our relationships, our activities and most profoundly… face our fears of becoming ‘too old’. Nature adapts. So can we. Every season is beautiful. Every day seems to bring some new invitation… especially here in Vancouver — is it Summer, is it Winter… will it rain… we are constantly having to adapt to what is. The guess work keeps us in wonder of it all. Our bodies are like that. Aging is like that. Just look how the day adapts to the night, how birds migrate, and flowers bloom in their own season. How do you feel about your age? What are you doing differently because of your age? How are you pushing yourself to stay relevant and vital? Count yourself in!! You bring something no one else can bring at any age or stage.
Admittedly this has been a tough year with COVID-19… and I am an extrovert who likes people!! My husband Joe is an introvert… he has loved all this time alone and with me. I love my time with him, but I’m someone who resources through social engagements. As we all know, its been really tough to see friends and I for one, have had enough of what I call “Four Wall Syndrome” staying home. Tennis and my friendships therein, have been such a saving grace. What are you doing to engage socially in our great outdoors?
COVID-19 has challenged us to dig deep and not surrender to the frustration of safety limitations. AGING is a virus none of us escapes… but we all have choice in how we handle it. How do you push back Father Time? …more sit ups, more strength training, more dancing ‘like no one is watching’ ..?
In this never-ending pandemic, I’ve felt at times, a little challenged to find my joy. How about you?
This past February, I had the scary experience of being diagnosed with a retinal hole in my left eye (remnants of an old eye injury through tennis)… turns out its best to duck sometimes! Thanks to the wizardry of retinal surgeon, Dr. David Maberley, my eye is now better than ever. I am also a little more aware of the privilege of health and the commitment I need to stay flexible, focus and re-focus with this body learning experience. I also had a skin cancer two years ago. I see these as markers of time that my body has shown up with to get me to pay attention to self care.
JOY is the battery in my e-life!
I’ve been living in denial with age. Many of my friends are 20 years younger than I am.. and I treasure them. In some activities, there is no such thing as age… This has always been the case for me when it comes to tennis, running or cycling. Has spirit got an age? Is it confined to the reality of body limitations or by how much focused intention we have placed on our goals? If you are in mid-life, chase down the underspin, the topspin, the slice and dice in your own games of life. There is a joy in pushing body limits and to staying fit and healthy. I don’t want to be left behind! Do you? Exercise has been a fulcrum of joy all my life… and with my first profession being in fitness and health, I feel so grateful for these strong healthy foundations. I think its just about the only aspect of life that we have some control over these COVID-19 days. The effort we put in to our health, we will get out… If you’ve been feeling stuck in the mud energetically lately, just hit the deck and pound out a few push ups. It makes you feel happy… don’t take my word for it.. just do it .. check out Rise & Shine by Nike: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmkNKEHC8Pg
What I also realize at this stage of mid-life, is that it’s the soft moments… those friendships off the court …and in having shared personal stories where I feel true meaning and connection. I’m a pretty ‘values first’ person… and I’m getting choosy in my wisdom years. I want to be circled with friends, colleagues, and clients who share similar interests and values. Get engaged. Be positive. Do your best despite your age!
I also realize how much I need to connect with tribe (ie within 10 years of my life experience). Though I love my tennis games with 30 somethings, they are not likely to share drinks on the deck with me after… they are too busy picking up their kids from school… as I fondly recall myself in those parenting years. I am so aware of also playing with friends who are within 10 years of my age. They make me feel young. They are game for adventures off the court… they are thinking about bucket lists and travelling to see the pyramids in Egypt, to go hiking in Italy, or Spain, ride an elephant in Africa, see the northern lights in Alaska… visit a Tibetan monastery…or play tennis in Cuba and maybe take old racquets there to donate to locals (purpose). I want to SEE the world when this pandemic is over!
Sometimes there are gifts in the setbacks when we embrace the wisdom in life’s injuries… or see those events in that way. I just cannot even imagine my life without sight… though that was a clear possibility only a few months ago. Scary scary… so grateful so grateful!
Now my code word for post pandemic times is – VISION. Vitality. Inspiration. See the best in everyone. Imagine what is possible. Own what I need to learn. Never say no! VISION baby!!
What has your body been teaching you in our pandemic hiatus? What will you do differently when our masks come down?
Here is a great way you might take stock and make small changes to your VISION:
- What activities bring you joy?
- What friendships bring you joy?
- What do you love most about your work?
- What might you do differently … why not start today?
BE the joy… pay it forward my friend.
Jo-Anne Weiler, RCC is a registered clinical member of the BC Marriage & Family Therapy Association (2005), the American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy & the B.C. Association of Clinical Counselors (2002) (Regional Representative). She is also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (2014) and a member of The International Coach Federation. Jo-Anne coaches couples and individuals.
Find her at http://joanneweiler.com