The second thing to remember is that our goals are often determined by many factors. These include: our general health, whether we're male or female, our age, our body type, skills we possess, and our motivation and support structure. As an example let's look at two sides of the spectrum. The first is a woman who is 78 years old and has been widowed for two years. Her physical goals may be to increase her bone density, lower her cholesterol, improve her balance, be able to easily walk up a set of steps, carry her groceries, began taking walks, or even hold her grandchildren. She may set emotional goals that involve getting out more to meet new people. On the other side is a strong and healthy 22 year old man. He may have recently left the military and is in excellent shape. Physically, he may want to build muscle mass, increase his flexibility, become a black belt in karate, or run his first marathon. Maybe he wants to see how far he can push his body. His emotional goals may be to deal with things he saw in his tour of duty in Iraq.
Both of these people will have drastically different goals and expectations. What they wish to accomplish may be determined by physical or emotional limitations. I was once told by someone much wiser than myself that we should set our goals as high as possible, but keep our expectations within the reach of our outstretched hands. This keeps us from many of lives great disappointments, but it also helps us to move past our limits and accomplish great things. We should all learn to set our goals as high as possible. We should also balance our lives so that we can deal with our successes with humility, and our failures with grace and dignity. The common theme you will read on this site is that no matter what happens-at the end of the day we're still the same person.
Let's take a look at my own personal goals and expectations. After completing rule #3, I came to realize a few things. If I keep taking care of my health I will have many healthy, happy and productive years. I'll be around to see my son grow up, play with grandkids, and have a strong body and a sharp mind into my 80's and 90's. The things that I know will never happen, and which I can accept include: winning the Boston Marathon, becoming world kick-boxing champion, bench pressing 400 lbs., and having a full head of hair. I'll never be 20 again-but's that's okay. If you keep a positive attitude there is so much you can accomplish. You may notice that my acceptance of my limitations only involve physical limitations. In terms of my mental and emotional goals-the sky's the limit. I may go back to school and get an advanced degree. I'm also in the process of writing a book, and I have ideas for three more. There are some many things I've yet to see, learn and experience. More importantly, I have spent must of my life as loner. I have few friends and sometimes find it hard to reach out to others. One of my goals is to not only become a better person, but become more open, meet new people, volunteer, and help others when I can.
My advice to you is start with simple attainable goals. Slowly change your diet, lose a few pounds, sleep better, have more energy, take walks. smile more and exercise a little bit. As you begin to feel better, reach out and move your goals a little further. Take a few steps ahead. Then start again and repeat the process. Two years ago, I was looking at possibly not seeing my son grow up. Today I'm taking full contact kick-boxing classes with people 30 years younger than me. This isn't for everyone,but it works for me. You may still be able to run, you may swim like a fish. Remember. small steps and continue to reach.
I posted a little something about aging gracefully on one of my other Blogs. I hope you enjoy it.
As I creep toward my mid 50's, I've started to receive the barrage of AARP mailings, along with the advice of friends, who with good intentions, tell me to slow down and age gracefully. I often wonder what they mean by, "aging gracefully"? I recently looked up grace in the dictionary to get a better perspective, and I found this definition, which I quote; "seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement or proportion". I can tell you one thing, people who know me will agree that I have neither beauty, nor charm, which leaves me a little worried about, "aging gracefully". Between you and me, I intend to kick, and scream and fight until my dying day. I also intend to live and learn and love until my time here is over. Life is too precious to waste even one moment. I am reminded of a famous Dylan Thomas poem, which was written for his dying father. Here is the first stanza.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Old age should burn and rave at close of day
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I believe that God gave us not only the gift of life, but also the responsibility to use every second of it to help, and inspire those around us. I've decided that instead of living what time I have left, gracefully, I will begin to live it, gratefully.