The greatest gift aging presents is the wisdom allowing us to become our most authentic selves.

I believe that the greatest gift aging presents is the wisdom allowing us to become our most authentic selves. Over the span of my 30-year career, I’ve met many people, myself included, who have hidden under layers of personas. These “imposters” are there to mask the fears and the lack of nurturing we might have endured as children. We’re not all victims of abusive parenting, but the vast majority of us have altered our personalities because someone, somewhere, made us feel ashamed to be who we really are.
Were you accused of being too sensitive or too outgoing? Perhaps you laughed a great deal, moved around too much, or were a social butterfly? Or maybe you had a fantastic imagination and were incredibly creative. Sadly, it often takes just one negative comment and you decide to put away that piece of yourself that gave you joy; for some reason, it seems very important to please the inner critic… instead of staying true to yourself.
When we internalize these critical voices, we often forget about our glorious origins, and then the voices become our own. But if we choose to ignore the negative statements, if we realize that they’re not relevant to us and don’t define who we are, we can finally become the wise and wonderful sages we’re meant to be.
Once our comfort levels increase, we have more energy to enter a phase of aging that psychoanalyst Erik Erikson called generativity, which refers to the point in our lives when we have the opportunity to become consultants, guides, mentors, or coaches to young adults in the larger society. It also means a time for community building. I’ve found this to be one of my greatest blessings, but it wasn’t something I was capable of bringing into my life to the degree I have until I understood my own history and how it influenced my behavior. Only then was I truly able to give of myself to family, friends, and others in the way I do now.
At this moment, I’m fortunate to have the energy I need in order to live the life I’ve always wanted. However, I also have moments when I question the reasons for my very existence. Does it matter if I share my wisdom with audiences throughout the world? Should I have stayed home and been the good wife and mother? Will I be riddled with guilt because I didn’t follow the path my mother thought would have been best for me? Do I have enough money to support myself through my last days, or will I have to tap dance between doorways with a tin cup in my hand, hoping I’ll get a few dimes?
I thank God everyday that I am still capable of laughing at myself. And I hope that I will be able to continue to foster that ability in others. Laughter has helped me to survive my life, it really is the best medicine.

 

About lorettalaroche

An international stress management and humor consultant whose wit, and irreverent humor, has, for over 30 years raised the humor potential in all of us. She is on the Mass General advisory council for anxiety and depression and was recently awarded the National Humor Treasure Award. Loretta writes a weekly newspaper column called, ‘Get a Life’.

This entry was posted in Get a Life. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The greatest gift aging presents is the wisdom allowing us to become our most authentic selves.

  1. Hilary Kornik says:

    Since seeing you a few weeks ago I feel my thinking of myself has changed, for the better. The way I view myself and the way I view the world. I remember my mother always saying, “It’s not that bad if you can laugh!” Thank you and I love your posts. Hope to see you speak again soon.

  2. kfucci says:

    This one sounds good too

    Today was crazy but all good. Riley was fever free and happy as can be! We even got a walk in!

    Vail drop her two little ones here for an hour while she took buddy to get a checkup. She thinks he is getting better!

    I traded Riley for joe at 4:00. Kara brought him from daycare and I will keep him until Dancing. Michelle and Adrianna only got home at 5 but all went well. Everything was pushed back so it took longer than we thought for them to get home. I just saw her and she is still out of it but seems just fine. Poor Adrianna has done all the work!

    We are off to Dancing now! I’ll watch DWTS when I get home.

    Your day sounds great too!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

Leave a Reply