My sister has dealt with mental issues for most of her life and now she is locked in her own world of aphasia and the dawning of dementia. My heart aches for her as she struggles to communicate and I wonder about the cards we are dealt in this life.
Our family was a very dysfunctional one and we both suffered abuse but we have emerged from this in totally different ways. I feel fortunate to have been born with a half glass full personality, while my sister could only see the negatives and was annoyed by my Pollyanna approach to life.
I don’t really know if that has had any bearing on how our lives have played out, but I suspect that our approach to life can at least assist us in times of darkness.
I have written previously about the work of coming to terms with our past to create our future. I remember becoming frustrated with Eckhardt Tolle’s first book, “The Power of Now”, when he seemed to suggest that you just let the past go. It isn’t always as simple as that. His next book “The New Earth” is much more realistic in that it provides more strategies for dealing with the letting go. It is a continual process which I believe only ceases the day we die.
Recently I identified a trigger from my past which has helped me understand why I have dealt with certain relationships in a less than constructive way. It has been a eureka moment and I wonder why it has taken me so long – but it is not too late and I hope I can utilise this new learning in my current and future interactions.
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There has previously been a big hiatus in my work life and I now feel so fortunate at this age to be given some wonderful, often challenging opportunities. My neighbour told me recently that if you are not successful at 60, forget it because after that it is too late. This is a false premise and a state of mind that prevents older people from utilising their years of wisdom and knowledge in a positive way. Well I do know that I am not going to become a successful ballet dancer or opera singer but I know I have more to offer in the things I can do and more confidence than ever before. Best of all, yes Eckhardt, I no longer feel resentful about my shaky start in life – in fact I am grateful for the lessons learned. I have had a recent wake up call to safe guard my health but now feel confident that time is on my side.
One organisation I am working with has a very special member of the executive team who believes he has a responsibility to prepare himself to greet his staff in a positive way no matter how he is feeling. His infectious smile and caring manner is a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary world and together we are gradually changing the culture to one of mutual consideration which will I believe filter down through the company. His caring balances out the times that he needs to be assertive and this means that it is received in the right spirit.
It has taken so many years to recognise that my moods and attitude to life have caused me so much pain. It doesn’t mean that the old unhelpful moods don’t rear their ugly heads, but recognising them makes it possible to let them go. Changing my old mood of resignation, the old hidden ‘but’ – I’d like my life to be better ‘but’ – to one of ambition: I can do this – has changed everything. It didn’t happen overnight and it has been worth the effort. We know it is so much easier to see the negatives than the positives and that can pull us down.
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I’ve always had a dread of becoming a grumpy old woman and I now surround myself with people who will pull me up if they see the grumps emerging. Looking through the dark tunnel to see the flickering flame at the end keeps me going through tough times.
Do you agree with Lyn? Do you feel yourself breaking away from the chains of your younger years? Are you enjoying getting older? What stops you from achieving your full potential?