Friday, October 21, 2011

Up and At 'Em

Next year I'll be sixty years old, and while I have no objection to the number per se, what I do object to are those mornings when I feel every bit of that age and more. I long to wake up and jump out of bed like I used to do, ache-free and ready to make the new day my own. Instead, I wake up, carefully maneuver myself to the edge of the mattress, use my right arm to push myself to a sitting position, and slowly raise the old creakers into an upright stance. Et voila! Bed exited. Mission accomplished.

Some days my aging chassis bothers me more than others, and this happens to be one of them. Happily, most mornings I simply take it as a matter of course, scarcely noticing the changes or at least having a sense of humor about them. Either way, once I get up and moving, the whole situation tends to improve dramatically. By nightfall, I am almost spry.

There's a lesson to be learned here, and I am determined to learn it. (What good is getting older if you can't get wiser, right?) And what good is allowing those circumstances in life that are beyond our control to call the shots when it comes to our happiness? At the end of the day, the outcome will be as good as any given person decides to make putting one foot in front of the other and remembering what Abe Lincoln said, that "most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

A number of people might find such an attitude a bit cavalier or insensitive, too simplistic in its disregard for the very real sorrows and struggles people experience, but I don't think so. Mr. Lincoln suffered from severe depression himself, but he knew Seneca was right in saying that "a man is as miserable as he thinks he is." As Holbrook Jackson observed, "happiness is a form of courage," and pointing out the opportunity for choice does not invalidate a person's struggle, but ennobles and empowers it.

Perhaps Werner Erhard and Mary Engelbreit got it right: "Happiness is a function of accepting what is" (Ehrhard) and "changing the way you think about it" (Engelbreit), but I think the apostle Paul said it best of all: "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:12-13).

Enough said. I've talked myself around. Up and at 'em, Sue. And make it a good one!



ellen b. said...

I hear ya girl as I'm getting closer to 61. Sometimes when I bend down to pick something up I wonder...will I make it up again LOL!
Up and at em for sure!

karen said...

Well, you know I can totally relate to what you just said, and I do think attitude plays a major part in how well you get through the day. I've had my pity parties, and I've had days when I just don't let aches and pains stop me. Luckily, I choose to have more of the latter. And my favorite quote from your post today? "Happiness is a form of courage." I love that. I'll make it a mantra.

Lisalulu said...

at work i post a new quote (oh you know me!) with all our Monday Meetings.. next week's is: Of all the "attitudes" we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing.
Zig Ziglar

Eva Gallant said...

Attitude is definitely where it's at!

Grandma Honey said...

I wish I could say I don't relate to this post, but unfortunately I do. I'm beginning to understand why older people are usually happier than younger ones. We have daily reminders to appreciate the good times...we don't take them for granted. A day without pain is always a good day, no matter what happens.

Kimberly said...

This is a very wise post!

Phil 4:13 is my favorite Bible verse.

Thanks for stopping by my blog recently!

anitamombanita said...

Oh, Sue. Wait, aren't you going to be 60 in TWO years?!! Are you sure you got that right? Either way, you still have approximately 40 years to train for your marathon!!! Did you see that guy who ran at age 100 in the Toronto Marathon?!!


Sue said...

Nope. Born in 1952, Anita. I will be 60 in May. Hard to believe!


Pondside said...

Sue, we have to talk. I'm thinking 'joint birthday party'!

BECKY said...

Sue, you know what Bette Davis said: "Old age ain't no place for sissies." LOL I agree! And hey, I guess I didn't know, or I forgot that you and I are so close in age!

Brian Miller said... those last couple quotes and so true...i def dont think this is an easy skill to master either...

Donna said...

I know this might sound odd, but I started taking fish oil regularly....and it really, really helps. I went from barely getting out of bed, to not noticing that I was getting out of bed. Miracle

michelle said...

"Happiness is a form of courage."

Wow. I really like that.

michelle said...

(But I'll chime in here and say that mortality certainly gives us a lot of chances to demonstrate such courage!)

I'm reminded of a talk that has stuck with me since when I first heard it several years ago. After talking about how physical strength peaks at 30, Merrill J. Bateman says this:

"As one experiences the downhill portion of later life, the inevitable aches and pains serve an important purpose. They help one put off King Benjamin’s “natural man [or woman]” as we learn to yield to the “enticings of the Holy Spirit” (Mosiah 3:19). The aches and pains of later life teach humility, the meaning of long-suffering, the importance of patience, and an appreciation for the qualities of kindness and love, and they help one learn moderation in all things. It’s interesting. These are the divine attributes. For the faithful, the slow deterioration of the body serves as a refining instrument for the spirit."

Sue said...

Being 61, I can relate to your post.
I am a lot more happy now,then when I was younger and have stopped trying to put so many pressures on myself.

Some days it requires more effort.
Being content is really the answer, and always being grateful for the blessings.

I notice its the cold weather that brings more of the aches and pains for me.

Cherie said...

Great post Sue!
It is exactly the way I think. Attitude is everything. We all have aches and pains and lines and wrinkles as we get older. We all have ups and downs in life but it is how we choose to deal with them that makes all of the difference.

Dixie Mom said...

Ah Sue. Just what I needed to hear today.

Caroline said...

I loved this, Sue.

"most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."---I couldn't agree more. But you are right, I think Paul said it best.

My parents both recently turned 60 and it has been really nice to see them embrace their "golden years" (can I say that?) with the same grace and wisdom as you. I think Mom is starting to get a little arthritis, but other than that--they are quite healthy and happy.

I'm actually looking forward to those years in my life, God willing.

Do you have any big plans for your 60th birthday?

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