Experts advise old people to lift weights to enhance bone density. Working muscles makes them stronger. But what makes our inner strength increase?
The older we are, the more set in our ways we can become until we start turning into an old curmudgeon. Some of this is good: we care less what others think of us and can be more comfortable in our own skin. But habits based in fear can petrify us like ancient wood.
Therefore, it may be good to try new things that seem daunting. Learning a new skill requires humility but it does not have to be humiliating. With the right guides, one can go from novice to competency. This in turn gives courage to try yet another change in our thinking about what might be possible.
The trick is to choose something you want to do, but that is not too scary, at least at first. The cliché of a bucket list – stuff to try before you die – doesn’t have to be filled with parachute jumping and financially risky activities. Look inside for a secret desire that maybe has waiting in the wings since childhood.
My friend who is in her eighties just took up piano playing. She found the right teacher. Another old friend dances the tango a few times a week. My students are often older, coming to see if maybe there is a slight possibility they have an artistic bone in their bodies.
I have the great joy of showing each and every one of them that yes, if you are patient and work hard, you too will be able to created original beautiful things. And the process will no doubt both keep you youthful, and feed your courage to try other things that seem a little out of your comfort zone. Just watching my students makes me have that courage in my own life.