Interestingly, this feeling can strike at any age. I remember feeling “old” when I turned 16 and then again at 25! my friends and I jokingly referred to this feeling of dread and fear in our mid-20’s as a “pre-mid-life crisis” crisis.
I think it’s when you get to a certain point in your life – usually when you’re nearing, or past the “middle mark” – that it becomes natural to think of things like: What your life has meant, What you’ve achieved and done so far, and also “What’s next?”
Sometimes, getting older and one’s “mortality”, can also bring feelings…of fear.
Have you felt that in your life? Don’t worry, that’s ok…
Your Fear is not unfounded. It can be a scary thing to contemplate the unknown, the vastness of a “place” beyond your current reality, which is impending. You may have hope and faith that there’s something there – but you also don’t know for certain exactly what awaits on the other side.
I think we all have those feelings from time to time, and it’s natural to contemplate or think about our mortality – because death is as natural an occurrence as life, they’re part of a yin yang, or the circle of life (according to Musafa in theThe Lion King : ))
For me, what has helped me to deal with, live with, manage and overcome feelings of fear is one word, which I believe is a very powerful word…in a series of powerful words that contribute towards helping me deal with those kinds of feelings.
And that word is “Acceptance”.
We Are Built To Feel Fear
As human beings, we are built to feel fear. In many cases it is actually a very useful thing, it makes us err on the side of caution, it helps us judge a situation where there may be danger, it can even excite us and be fun (like a roller coaster ride at a funfair).
However, where it becomes debilitating, is when that feeling of fear pervades and follows us, and lives with us, constantly in our minds and hearts.
Because when that happens it’s not helping anymore it’s hindering us from living a full and “complete” and joyful life; What we are designed to do and be is happy and “worry-free”, this is our natural state (think of children at play – rain or shine).
Nearing the age of 50 myself, well past being a youthful teen I once was! : D I had my own bout of Fear some time ago about growing older, and yes… of death.
4 Steps to Overcoming the Fear
What really helped was for me to come to accept both, as an inevitability, together with applying these 4 steps:
- Start with Acceptance and a “change” in phraseology, what you say and think about these 2 concepts. There has to be a Genuine Acceptance that old age and death are not something to be dreaded but a natural occurrence, part of a natural cycle of our existence. Do it gently, do it gradually – however you do it will be up to you – but that “positive acceptance” has to happen first. Only once you’ve done that, can you move on to the next step/s.
- Gratitude – If you’ve managed to Accept the inevitability of mortality and old age, then you need not dwell on them anymore. You can now shift the focus away from those things and instead look at things to be Grateful for. There are plenty. Don’t dwell on fear of loss, instead – celebrate ABUNDANCE by enjoying yourself being with your loved ones while you’re all still here living, breathing, laughing and loving.
- Find a sense of “Purpose” – think of a “pet project” you can devote yourself to. That could be a cause, a movement a charity, a small business. Or…maybe you can (finally) get moving in your spare time on something you’ve put off for a long time? Loved creative writing? Get that first paragraph written! Loved drawing? Buy a sketchpad and start doodling! Love travelling? Plan your route and destinations, and just go!
A sense of purpose will give you something positive to focus on, look forward to, and keep you focused on the future in a new, fresh and exciting way.
- And last but not least…is the step that binds all the above together, and without which, the whole thing doesn’t quite work. It’s this: Be Present in the Now. Live in the Now.
They say that depression happens when people live in and yearn the past, and anxiety happens when people constantly live in fear of a future which hasn’t happened yet.
The best way to ensure you live a happy existence is to adopt a state of mind, where you are present when it matters most: Now.
Be Present (mind, body and spirit). Right Here. Right Now, and you’ll be EXACTLY where you’re supposed to be : )
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