Choose Back! …As Long As Life Chooses You.

A Girl On A Footbridge

Image by jyryk58 via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #241 – As long as life chooses you, it is your right to choose back – so do.

Although I am not a geriatric psychiatrist, I have still been given the pleasure of serving a “golden” few.  What has impressed me has been their willingness to start over.

Starting over takes courage and humility whether it is deliberate or not.  Sometimes fear dances between the lines of all the emotions and intentions. But still, wouldn’t you agree that it takes courage and humility to negotiate fear?

(Enters Hans.)  Hans was seventy-three years old.  He had struggled with brain illness on and off he thinks since he was at least twelve.  There were big spaces of time when his disease exacerbated, and he largely suffered.  But he chose, at this age, to try again for improved brain health.

Is there a time when we start thinking, don’t keep trying to start over?  Maybe in the dying process.  In case you don’t know, the dying process is a specific term.  It means the time when a person is facing impending death.

This area of medicine is not my specialty but I imagine at some point we want to stop with that starting over process, give up, but not in a hopeless way.  In a way that says,

I can stop trying for new anything and sit in the space of what I already have in me…

…Which hopefully includes all the ingredients and interrelations of life.

But how far before that point in life do we consider starting over reasonable?  I’ve heard of kids being told they’re too young to ride a bike, or cut with a knife, or understand the dinner conversation.  No one bobs their head at that.  But find a seventy-three year old who believes that after a lifetime of perceived failure by onlookers or themselves, who still says,

Now let’s give this another go,

…and if it hasn’t been said, it’s been thought,

give it over already!  You’ve hit your seventy-times-seven chances!

It’s like they’re shopping in the teen-ware.  We blink our eyes and angle our heads.  Even the thought of starting over as a real option feels indiscreet.

(Enters Hans.)  Hans is seventy-three.  He is starting over.  Humbly and with courage, he pursues brain health in the face of stigma.

I think I had celebrated my six birthday when my dad asked me if I felt any different from how I felt when I was five.

Yes!  I feel older!

 Then he asked me how old I thought he was.  When I answered some enormous number like, “twenty-two!” he asked,

Does forty-four seem old to you?  

Of course it did!  But I had an intuition that if he was old, than he’d die, so I said a definitive,

NO!  Daddy you’re still young!  You aren’t old!

Now, almost that same age myself, I am in awe of him and the others in their golden or not so golden years (Enters Hans) who believe that as long as life chooses them, they will choose back.  It is their freedom.

Questions:  When all your senses don’t sense pleasure in life, or you feel old and useless, or you feel that you’ve failed too many times, how do you choose to start over?  Who has inspired you and what did they do?  Please tell me your story.

16 thoughts on “Choose Back! …As Long As Life Chooses You.

  1. LOL I just finished a post on ‘do-overs’. I have many regrets and feelings of failure. I deal with them differently depending on how well I am doing that day.
    I hope this helps. Hugs. LS

  2. First post on my infant blog July 31, 2010. Over 200 posts.. I had just turned 61. Retired. Not much to do. I started over in a sense having become semi computer literate in 2008. Now an entire unknown universe has opened up and it is absolutely wonderful. I’ve never had so much enjoyment than blogging.

  3. Wait a minute!!! I just turned seventy and I’m NOT old! (Matter of fact, I went to my own birthday party where a set of five-year-old triplets were saying I was “wise”, not “old”. I love thier mother for suggesting that!) But, old, wise or whatever, I think I start over every day now and I can’t imagine ever thinking I’m too old to do that. (This from someone who wanted to die off an on for at least fifteen years!) And to answer the last question, someone at a zoo inspired me because she saw something in me and made me believe in myself…old or new! Thanks for this one :-)

  4. I’m not young, but I’ve learned to start fresh every morning. I’m never really satisfied with the day before, but the morning light offers another go at it.

    As for starting over after some huge setback, there’s no other way to go. I highly recommend starting over. Why nose dive? God is good. Blessings to you, Sana…

  5. A wonderful post, because it deals with a time which is for me an undiscovered country in such a positive way. I hope I have the same enthusiasm to start over at seventy as some of those you have met….

  6. its called back to square one i meet this quite bit and the older i get the easier it gets but more work required there are a few people that have inspired me a friend called jane and pat pat for example lost her husband even thou she had she was there for me i fell a bit bad for that mind and jane who i know is dying and she has befriended me but did get me on the road of recovery and one of my biggest insperations is sana i have such a long list of people that inspired me but these people i connect to well as well

  7. I’m sixty one and my tag line to my blog says:”well lived life, under construction:” meaning since I retired I am under construction. I’m living a whole new life. Starting over every day.

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