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Never stop growing and changing

Life has a law we need to follow if we want to age with wisdom and joy. The law reads like this: “Never stop changing and growing.” The trouble is we are sometimes tempted to ignore this law in favor of the supposed comfort of the “status quo.”

This is what I notice in myself, anyway, as I move into my 80’s.

For example, I’ve been going to a gym for about 10 years. It’s a lifesaver for me in many ways. The other day, a trainer came over to me as I was working on the leg press machine and asked if I’d be interested in changing my routine so as to challenge my body and give it a chance to grow some new lean muscle.

I liked the theory part of it. Some nice new muscle sounded great. But then came the first session with the trainer and – horrors – new exercises I had never done before.

I had to stand with my back to a wall and a large ball nestled behind me on top of my butt. Then I had to bend my legs with my feet extended in front of me and slide up and down the wall with the ball supporting me from behind.

It felt a little weird, to be honest. I wasn’t sure I liked it. And I didn’t like the idea that my feet might somehow slip forward and I’d land with a big bump on my behind.

The gym is a large facility. The trainer led me through a number of other new challenges and procedures. And I realize, as I sit at my computer this morning, my muscles calm again now, that my old routine is probably gone forever.

I loved my familiar routine so much too. I knew exactly what to expect. I didn’t have to think. I didn’t have to change. I just made my rounds with the familiarity and nonchalance of a pro. I was proud of myself too because I was actually lifting a fair bit of weight.

There is a place for routine and ritual in our lives, of course.  The routine I have followed at the gym this past while has been very useful and helpful.

But when life says it’s time to change you need to listen to the nudge of your own heart .  I suppose I could ignore the trainer’s input if I wanted to and simply stick to my old routine as if nothing had happened but it wouldn’t feel right to do that.

It feels better to keep growing and changing. It’s not really all that much fun to stay stuck in our old ways when wisdom calls on us to change.

So I’m very thankful for Peggy, the new trainer who saw a way to help improve my fitness and physical and mental well-being. By the way, one of her clients at her previous gym was a 90-year-old guy who I’m sure she also put through his paces – and whose example I know I’ll be proud to follow.

Life is a trickster, as JoAnn and I are fond of saying to each other. Our true nature is timeless. We are spiritual beings, unchanged and unharmed by any of the trauma of our lives.

And yet if you and I are going to experience the wisdom and joy of our changeless nature, guess what? We must follow this solemn law of life: “Never stop growing and changing”. It’s a paradox isn’t it?

Love and blessings to you. Please keep in touch. Any new challenges or changes in your life you’d like to share?

Picture credit: BayadaLCD


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