A Change in Attitude Can Change Our Life

I woke up this morning so thankful. I went to sleep late last night, working on a “need-to-be-completed-tomorrow” assignment. Yes, I work long hours.  But I love my work and look forward to each day.  And I get an opportunity to take walks during these beautiful, sunny, nearly spring days. Residents of AgeSong are so appreciative of companionship and someone to listen to them, which is my job. Yesterday Tom, who was a librarian for most of his working life, guided four of us through back streets, lined with small industry, to the railroad tracks. Tom was the perfect leader. He knew which side of the street to walk on (the sunny side and where buildings blocked the wind) and told stories along the way.  Speaking of appreciative – he was so grateful to go for a walk – he needs an escort when he leaves the AgeSong at Bayside Park elder community since he walks with a walker and his neck is in a brace. On the way back, we discovered a chocolate-making factory. The person in charge generously gave us each a caramel chocolate. Following are Nader’s Musings on how we view aging and our attitude toward life, in general.

Sally Gelardin, AgeSong Journalist

Our Choice, Decline or Deepen

Nader Shabahangi, CEO, AgeSong Elder Communities and AgeSong Institute

To age means to live. To live means to age. Today’s fascination with anti-aging measures overlooks this simple truism. Not to age is to arrest our growth and development, is to die, metaphorically and literally.  The anti-aging movement looks at our physical bodies alone. It mistakes the package as the content of our lives. This is akin to buying a carton of milk and having more concern about the looks and color of the carton than its content. Imagine going to the store and purchasing a box of milk without paying attention to the milk’s expiration date? This is what we are doing when we talk about anti-aging, when we make the body’s appearance more important than our internal growth and maturation.

Over a hundred years ago the brilliant American psychologist William James stated poignantly that the single most important discovery of our age is that a change in our attitude can change our life. This is good news for us human beings as we have a choice in the way we want to look at life, i.e., in a way that gives us a sense of gratitude for all of who we are and all of what is; or are we choosing to look at life as an ongoing series of sufferings and turmoil to which we are, against our will, being subjected. This, indeed, is our choice.

Similarly, it is our choice to look at life from the viewpoint of ongoing decline as we age or from the perspective of ongoing growth and maturation. The former point of view imparts on us the specter of doom, of continued deterioration and, frankly, a life with increased suffering as we approach our later years. The latter point of view regards life as an ongoing process of learning and deepening, of continued maturation and broadening of vision. This is our choice. Which direction do you choose?

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AgeSong Senior at Bayside Park | 1440 40th Street, Emeryville, California 94608 | 510-594-8800 | License # 015601452

AgeSong Retirement Communities: Locations throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco and the East Bay: San Francisco-Hayes Valley • San Francisco-Laguna Grove • Oakland-Lake Merritt • Oakland-Lakeside Park • Emeryville-Bayside Park • Castro Valley-OakCreek

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