The point of no return

The universe mocks me when I look in the mirror. I can see the tell-tale signs of a face in decline; eyelids drooping, a relaxing jawline, and a set of parentheses beginning to appear on either side of my mouth. Even though I’m rarely ever satisfied with the image looking back at me, I often remind myself that this is as good as it gets, because it’s all downhill from here.

Age is mystifying, cruel, and devious. It sneaks up on you, and you don’t really realize the consequences of it until it’s too late. I always told myself that age was nothing more than a state of mind, and I figured I could somehow miraculously stymie the march of time by acting/feeling/dressing young. I know, however, that even if I were to dress like someone half my age, I’m still going to feel tired, achy, and irritable at the end of the day.

My worries about aging seem to center around my appearance, but I don’t think it is really rooted in vanity. It’s more like not wanting to get a scratch on a new car or scuffs on a new pair of sneakers. I know it’s going to happen eventually, but I want to put it off as long as possible.

The older I get, the more attention I pay to the elderly. I notice their wrinkles and sagging skin, the way they have difficulty getting up and around, the way that most people don’t pay any attention to them. An elderly man that I knew once said that the worst part about getting older is that people stop listening when you talk. How many times have I disregarded the words of someone because I assumed their thoughts or ideas had passed some imagined expiration date? Probably more than I’d care to admit.

It is with a deep sense of dread that I recognize where life and time will inevitably take me. They say the alternative is worse, but sometimes I wonder if being robbed of youthful looks, health, mobility, friends, and a sense of worth isn’t just dying a slow, painful death.

Even realizing how cruel nature might be to my vessel as I age, I want the experience and wisdom that comes with the passing years. I just wish my face wouldn’t slide off my skull in the process.

Being responsible for the energy I bring into a room

I have been hearing quite a bit about energy lately. On television, in conversations, and especially in the book that I have been reading. My Stroke of Insight by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist, recounts her experience with a debilitating stroke that ravaged the left hemisphere of her brain. As she lost the ability to understand and use language, her right brain became keenly aware of the energy exuded by healthcare workers, friends, and family members. Because Dr. Taylor could not understand what people were saying to her, she could only rely on the feelings that she got from being in their presence. Although completely unable to communicate her wishes, she wanted people to realize they were responsible for the energy they brought into the room.

I am responsible for the energy that I manifest.

We all give off some kind of energy, all the time. If I walk into a room with nervous energy, others will pick up on that immediately and react to it by either becoming nervous themselves or viewing my anxiety as a sign of weakness. If I insist on being negative and moody, others might react by joining in or avoiding me entirely. If I enter a room with a big smile on my face and a friendly “Hello,” people will see me as confident and loving, and they will hopefully respond in like fashion.

The problem is that I am all to often negative and nervous. I recognize this – even more so over the past few months. I don’t want to be a bitter person, but things bother me and I sulk and complain to those around me until they are doing the same thing. It would stand to reason that if I were to become more cheerful and positive, the folks around me would probably be influenced by that behavior as well.

While talking about energy on a recent episode of Lifeclass, Oprah Winfrey explained that not only are we responsible for the energy we put out into the world, we also have to ensure the people we allow into our lives are going to be positive influences. If someone insists upon dragging us down or holding us back from achieving our dreams, that person doesn’t deserve to be a part of our inner circle. If they are going to come into our space with negativity and aggression, they are going to affect our energy levels in a very detrimental manner.

Maybe this all sounds a little too new-agey. I don’t know. What I do know is that I am going to concentrate on becoming a more positive force in the world, and I am going to continue to remind myself and others that we are all responsible for the energy that we bring into a room. As Dr. Taylor says in the attached video, “We have the power to choose, moment by moment, who and how we want to be in the world.”