Resisting Change as We Age

For most of us, rigidity increases with age. We find ourselves increasingly resistant to change and bemoan the necessity of adjusting to life circumstances. Our lack of willingness makes it easy to get stuck along the way. All that is required is a lack of acceptance of how things are.

The subtle and seductive invitation to self pity is the recurring thought, “This is not where I planned to be.” Instead of taking stock introspectively we examine our lives in retrospect and endlessly consider where things went wrong. It’s all pointless analysis, which amounts to avoidance. We choose to live with regrets rather than embrace positive change.

In our younger years we’d expected to be riding happily off into the sunset by now. Instead here we are, living a life quite unlike the one we’d mapped out. (As if anyone is living the life they expected…). Being stuck means pretending we’re not disappointed and settling for far less than we could have.

Yet the truth remains this simple: All that is required to have a better life is a change in perspective and attitude. We’re free to acknowledge that no matter what our age, the rest of our lives lie before us. Consciously choice means investing and not settling.

The prospect of doing things differently seems overwhelming. Take heart. The fact is that for most of us, the greatest challenge in life is getting out of our own way. If we choose to be honest with ourselves and just one other person (ideally a supportive friend/family member but alternatively a therapist, mentor, or sponsor) we can identify the things we do that are self limiting/self defeating and replace them. Our lives improve significantly simply by eliminating the things that never worked:

The greatest transformation is in moving from being our own worst enemy to being our own best friend. This is evident in our propensity for bringing ourselves down, talking ourselves out, and beating ourselves up. Is it any wonder we feel lost?

“Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

Perhaps at this stage in life we are recreating. Our vitality is regained as we move away from stagnation or worse, regression. If we are not growing then we are not truly living.

The input of a trusted other(s) in our efforts is imperative. Without their insight (revealing our blind spots) and accountability for following through in making planned changes, we’ll surely remain stuck.

We must establish reasonable goals. Incremental approaches are the only ones that work. If we are true to ourselves, we gradually enrich and allow ourselves the lives we want and in truth, need.

 

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in assisting people in recovery (whether from drugs, alcohol, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.