Age Matters On This Journey

Even as I invite people of all ages to seek their expression of Earth-Centered Living, the “after 60” part this journey does have an impact. Sometimes, I can pretend that age does not matter – that life experience balances physical energy and stamina. Yet, part of this choice is to look clearly at its challenges as well as its blessings.

I got a small lesson on physical flexibility the other day. I was enjoying a solo hike in Ramsey Canyon, having walked about 50 minutes to my lunch/turn around point. I was 3/4 of the way back, considering other hikes on future days, when my toe caught on a rock and I took three off-balanced steps before fully regaining my footing. My first thought was “Good, I didn’t fall.” My second was “I just pulled something in my right thigh/hip and I’m going to have to hobble back to the car.”

In the end, the injury was very minor, but suddenly I was flooded with the sense of vulnerability — out on my own, having our only vehicle with me, having a less limber body than 20 years ago… I can not always count on being able to hike. I need to find ways to let my body rest when these small pulls happen to this aging body.

Will and I are experiencing another challenge that is common to those who set out in new directions in their retirement years.  We find ourselves reaching a physical/mental exhaustion point. While young people fuel their adventures on adrenaline; as older introverts, we have been running on serotonin. After three months of stress and new challenges, including the sense of having left everything and all familiar ties behind, our serotonin and dopamine reserves are at a low ebb. We find our best healing option to come to a full stop and rest.

We will hold steady here with our son’s family near the Huachuca Mountains in southern Arizona. All we need to maintain our motor home is easy to obtain here, and Brego continues to prove a comfortable, sustaining home.

We are spending more time sitting beside the San Pedro River, allowing the stream to flow by with all its nurturing tones. Our walks are shorter, and allow exercise without pushing ourselves to fatigue. Pampering ourselves is becoming a daily practice, as we gather familiar books and DVD’s from the library, eat healthy flavorful foods, and work with materials that nurture our creative spirit. It is a time for very few rules and a large number of naps.

We have been telling others for decades about the impact of multiple major stressors on a person’s overall health. As a friend pointed out, we have hit a overabundance of major life transitions. To those of you considering Earth-Centered living in a full-time motor home framework, I would encourage you to stay close to your current community as you make the transition. Establish a new set of rhythms with support of friends and familiar places in nature that nourish your spirit. Try to carry your current work life into the next phase, at least at first. Allow the changes to unfold more gradually.  And if this is not possible for you. Then learn the glories of sitting quietly, sinking into the generous beauty of nature, and taking a good rest.

 

6 thoughts on “Age Matters On This Journey

  1. Thank you for this update Nancy. It’s good to hear that you both are taking pause after such a large life transition! Glad you were ok after your trip too.
    You also give my introvert self permission to nurture myself more and not push myself to go at what society deems to be a “normal” pace, especially at 66!

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    1. Thank you. We are finding that self-pampering, one step beyond self-care, is an interesting addition to our lives – one that we are having to get used to. It is another way of stepping out of cultural definitions to be lavish with ourselves in ways we had learned are too self-indulgent.

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  2. Interesting observations!

    As my wife and I approached our seventh decade, and our life choices expanded, we sought alternatives to our way of life dominated by the need for salary work in a restricted location. We looked for a small village in Wales. We investigated small towns in the United States (Canada is too cold, Mexico too hot.). We, briefly, thought about a live aboard sailboat (too unsteady).

    We have finally settled on living in our 1964 mobilehome on the cusp between Arana Gulch and Leona Creek, just a short walk to the Pacific Ocean, with abundant green and natural spaces for our daily walks. We live in the community, deeply involved in local politics and environmental causes, contributing our skills and seventy (times two) years of experience. We learned some time ago that living in place offers the greatest rewards in our life together, knowing the local fauna and flora, weather patterns, watersheds, topography and human history.

    Settled in? Yes. Busy? Yes, we can’t remember how we had time enough to work! Satisfying? Most assuradely.

    For us, living simply in our small home, surrounded by our gardens and wildlife, creating an oasis of calm in the busy cityness around us, working to save and preserve the natural world that remains, is the greatest satisfaction of our lives.

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