I have just watched the most wonderful TED talk – Isabel Allende on How To Live Passionately (or How To Age Gracefully). At 71 she looks great, and in her talk she’s very, VERY open about how the ageing process affects her. But as she says in the video, it’s all down to attitude.
Now I am looking 60 firmly in the eye, I am becoming a lot more aware of the ageing process and what it involves. Like Isabel Allende, I’ve become a lot softer, I’m much more likely to tell it as it is, because I am so much less worried about what other people might think than I used to be. I’m also much more spiritual (check out her lovely aside on the Dalai Lama). I probably always did have a leaning toward the spiritual, but I’ve never coped well with authority, and the Christian religion as I learnt it growing up was just that little bit too authoritarian for me. Plus the fact that some of the philosophy didn’t really work for me. But I’ve studied Islam in some depth (as part of my first degree in Clasical Arabic) and many of the more esoteric approaches to spirituality, so yes, I think I’ve always been curious about things spiritual.
One of the things I have started to ‘get’ is the importance of dedication, or, if you prefer, regular ritual. Apparently, ritual is one of the things that characterises highly successful people: they have a routine, certain things they do at certain stages in the day, or on certain days, which is all that ritual is. For some people dedication may seem the complete opposite of passion. Certainly it did for me for a long time, as I associated dedication with being a wet-blanket. Yet in reality, passion and dedication are two sides of the same coin. Dedication is applied passion. If you want to live passionately, then you need dedication too.
Dedication is also important because in our modern Western society, we seem to be finding it more and more difficult to dedicate to or focus on anything. Our attention spans – or at least those of our kids – are getting shorter. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average attention span in 2012, at 8 seconds, is lower than that of a goldfish (9 seconds).
So if you’re still reading this, congratulations. You are doing better than the goldfish. Or you’re a very quick reader.
Anyway, back to How To Live Passionately.
One of the things I also loved from this video is the idea that 60 is still not too old to go off and do something totally new. Allende gives a wonderful example of this in her talk. In my work I meet many women in their 50s who have decided that they are ‘too old’ to start something new, for instance to create the business of their dreams, or go for that top job they always wanted. Contrast that with the men I know who will say things like ’53 is the perfect age for me to go for an MD’s job’ or, ‘Now the kids have left home, I feel I can go out on my own/start my own business’.
We women are SO conditioned to run these ‘I can’t possibly’ patterns. And it starts at a very early age.
If you’d like to deprogramme your ‘I can’t possibly’ patterns to ‘just watch me’ and learn how to live passionately in your 40s, 50s or 60s, then contact me for a complimentary consultation.