Doing Things on a Want To, Choose To, Like It, Love It Basis

Photo by Michael Grab

Photo by Michael Grab


I can be changed by what is happening to me, but I don’t have to be reduced by it. Maya Angelou

If you reflect back on when you felt stuck and in despair, you were likely being challenged by loss. Whether it is the loss of innocence, friendship, employment, a major relationship, or a dream—the impact can be significant.

The worst loss you can experience as you age, however, is the loss of your sense of self—the inability to see who you are outside of your circumstances. I am not talking about your ego-driven identity, but who you are without your roles and personal bells and whistles.

What is your perception of aging?

Considering our driven youth-oriented culture, it’s easy to feel “less than” and “not enough” as we age.

If we need assistance to live comfortably, it’s not a stretch to think we are now worth less. This sense of worth is reminiscent of being a toddler still in need of parental assistance, and therefore worth less than the “big kids” who needed none.

This is a faulty perception—and not reality. As long as we have our wits about us, it is our responsibility to “bebig” ourselves, and not allow others to belittle us.

The practice of “bebigging” will not keep us free of conflict, but when we are conflicted we will at least come from strength.

The process of relearning the world

Seldom will a person in their 70’s or 80’s say that aging isn’t physically and mentally humbling. But the happiest seniors will likely say they actively pursue what author/educator Tom Attig refers to as “relearning their world.”

As you open to relearning how to do things differently,

  • Check in and ask “when am I not doing things on a want to, choose to, like and love it basis? If you sincerely want to expand your active years, ask this question regularly, and make changes in your day accordingly.
  • Stop focusing on accumulating
  • Stop focusing on outcome
  • Start living each day without expectation.
    When you let go of expectation, you sign up for something new, knowing that if you don’t enjoy it, you can sign up for something else.
  • As Harvard professor and specialist on adult development George Valliant suggests: branch out, and widen your focus rather than narrow it.

So—if you are on the other side of midlife—do grieve your losses—but don’t let them permanently take your breath away. Instead, it is my wish that you catch your life “off guard” by leaning into every turn with as much vitality as you can muster!

Until next time…