“I have to do it.” vs. “I get to do it.”
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of my time around the 85-and-older crowd. It’s quite easy to carry a conversation with them. They have mountains of life advice to share. In some ways, they’ve grouped themselves into two mindsets.
Some of them are grateful they’ve made it as far as they have, as gracefully as they have. And they’re thrilled to tell you all about it.
Some of them are downright pissed off at the current state of affairs. They feel that their bodies and minds are failing them. And they’re just as eager to tell you all about it.
But they all have a common ground, and it’s this:
They all recognize that they’re in the “winter season” of their lives. Some look back and feel blessed that they got to enjoy a full life. Some look back and regret that they didn’t live a life more on purpose.
I started thinking about how they endured trials, difficulty, and chaos in the last 9 decades. I imagine how many beautiful moments they witnessed too.
They are living a season, and I am too. They have lived many seasons, and they’ve learned so much. It would be a mistake to choose to ignore their authentic lessons.
For someone like me, it’s very easy to give up my life to take care of theirs. Their comfort and safety are the priority. I’ve been skipping workouts. And with a fair bit of travel, I’ve been eating for convenience (not for nutrition). This also leads to neglected sleep habits.
Since December of 2016, I’ve been healing from thyroid and adrenal issues. During this time I’ve found it challenging to ramp up my workouts. When I drill down to examine why, I found that it’s really more about my mindset.
I’ve created a trap that’s a little bit lazy. It’s a bit of a rut.
For me it sounds a little bit like: “I don’t feel like doing it. I don’t want to do it. I have to do it.”
But now that I have first hand accounts from very accomplished humans, my mindset has shifted. They say things like:
“You’re so young. You have your whole life ahead of you. You still get to enjoy your health.”
“Get to.” You still “get to.” Not “have to” but “get to” enjoy. You still have the honor to do many things.
So today I made time for a morning walk. I haven’t made time for that in weeks. My internal monologue on other mornings: “I have to exercise today so I don’t get fat.”
Today the internal monologue sounded more like this. “I get to walk around my small town on this beautiful morning. What a treasure this is. What an honor this is.”
Aging happens. There’s no denying it. But how you age is your choice.
What are you honored to do today?