This article comes from contributor Maeve O’Byrne. If you would like to learn more about how you can contribute to The Hub email email@example.com.
“It’s amazing the feeling you get, when you receive that piece of paper…”
So went the opening sentence of a client coming to me for coaching to transition into his Third Act. He was talking about receiving his senior citizen card and went on to describe the gamut of feelings he went through – disbelief, grief, anger – all negative. In response I asked, what was the positive in receiving the paper?
Age – what is it, a number, a feeling. Really, when we consider it, age is a time of being. We say ‘he has an old soul’ when we hear something profound coming out of the mouth of an eight-year-old, or ‘they should really act their age’, but what do we really mean?
Age as defined by Webster has a number of meanings, the best for me is:
‘the period contemporary with a person’s lifetime or with his or her active life’
Research indicates that middle age runs from 40 – 64, and old age begins at 65. Who made this decision and does it resonate with you? I know many people who have decided they are old at 55, and yet I also know 80-year-olds who still feel and live as if they were much younger.
To me age is a state of mind, however, it can also be a state of health. How do you envisage yourself as you get older? Do you want to stride or shuffle into your nineties? Maybe you’ve been told that you have no choice, that it’s your genes, however is that just an excuse? Dr. Neal Barnard suggests that there is a myth about the part genes play in our health. And he’s not alone.
In his book How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger, , talks about how “our diet can change our epigenetics and genetic expression”. So, we can’t change our genes, but we can change how they are manifested through diet, exercise and lifestyle.
Basically, what they, and others, are saying is that there is no excuse, it’s up to each of us individually to decide how much effort we are willing to put into looking at our health and how much we willing to change to ensure optimal health as we age. It really is about how you want to live out this third of your life. Me… I want to skid to that finish line without the aid of pharmacological drugs, drips and other such aids, so this year I overhauled my diet, and increased the amount of time I spent walking – my blood test results have improved dramatically in less than six months!
The other piece of optimal health is how we think and what we believe about aging, in his book The Biology of Belief, Bruce Lipton demonstrates very effectively how every cell in our body can be affected by our thoughts, so if you feel miserable about aging, that misery may well show up in your body. What do you need to do that will allow you to feel and think more positively about aging and the gift of time you have? Who do you need to recruit to support you as you move toward a healthy Third Act?
Oh, and that client with the senior card crisis, at the beginning, he too recognized if he wanted to achieve the goals he had laid out, he needed to lose weight and eat better. The excitement he felt in looking forward to this new Act certainly helped, as did having an accountability partner. Today seven years later, he’s lost a noticeable amount of weight, continues with his Third Act plan, travelling, studying and working part-time. And best of all, with this new attitude and way of life he’s found love, the second time around!
About the contributor
Maeve O’Byrne, MAIS, CEC is a certified coach and consultant from BC. She coaches leading through change, change and conflict, and personal/career transition using the Third Act program. She also works with organizations on succession planning and employee transition. She can be contacted by e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org or through her website www.cumhachtcoaching.com