Years ago I volunteered with hospice, so I became very familiar with the Seven Stages of Death and Dying. I celebrated my 49th birthday last week and it dawned on me that there is a correlation in “the stages of dying” with “the stages of aging”. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not making light of either one of these phases in our lives, so bear with me as I elaborate.
The first stage is Shock or Disbelief. It’s as if you wake up one day and say “there is no way that I’m this age, and I can’t possibly have a grown child”.
The second state is Denial. Yes, my birth certificate says that I’m 49, but I still feel like I’m 35. Another statement of denial is asking your spouse if you want to have another child or attempting a physical feat that you haven’t done in twenty years.
The third stage is Anger. Okay, so I might be a bit old, but it’s just not fair. Another manifestation of anger is looking at your younger peers and thinking “so they are younger, but I’m much wiser, more experienced, etc….and the list goes on.
The fourth stage is Bargaining. If I just exercise more, eat right, get weekly botox treatments, take vitamins and meditate then I’ll actually reverse all the effects of aging and be 25 again.
The fifth stage is Guilt. Why, oh why, did I make some of those bad choices when I was younger? I should have taken better care of myself.
The seventh stage is Acceptance and Hope. Life is great and I’m going to enjoy every moment of it and savor my successes and failures while looking forward to all of the great adventures ahead. The best is yet to come!!!!
May we all go through these stages with grace and confidence.