Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Gratitude for our Elders

One of the biggest advantages of teaching daytime yoga classes is interacting with men and women a few decades older than me. Some of them are retired. Some of them are doing the work they dreamed of when they were my age. All of them have precious insight to impart and a listening ear to offer to the younger ones in the class.

It gives me a great amount of hope to hear about the lives of older yoga practitioners (I'm talking 70's and 80's). At times I even fantasize about how fulfilled I'll be in 25 or 30 years! It could be that people who attend yoga classes tend to be more positive in general; there's some solid evidence in health literature to back that up. Nonetheless, some of my older students have not always practiced yoga. In fact, a few of them came to the practice only in recent years.

My older students have active social lives with friends they've held onto over the years and with others who share their interests. They travel the world. They spend time with their kids and grandkids. They care deeply about social causes and are involved in their communities. They cook and enjoy all the best new restaurants. They have a good sense of humor and smile more than those of us who are younger.

My spouse jokes with me that he is out of the game once he hits 70. He says he sees no point in life as a septuagenarian. I don't know how serious he is when he says this, but he's been saying it for years. He turns 40 this year. I'm well into my 40's. Personally, I've been happier with each passing decade of life. I know that our health is never to be taken for granted, but if my health remains somewhat intact, I anticipate increasing happiness as I age. Brain science provides clues into  why we are naturally less anxious and stressed out as we age. I don't even need scientific proof to believe what I see most days: aging is a blessing.

I would like to emulate the older and wiser people in my life, embracing gratitude and joy at every opportunity, never giving up on life until my time runs out. Someday, I hope I'm lucky enough to see the tables turned. I'll go to yoga and cheer up my younger teachers. That'll be fun!

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