Person 1: I am dreading planting bulbs this year. It keeps getting harder and harder to bend down, sit on the ground, pull weeds, all the things I used to love about gardening. I don't want to give it up but I don't want to hurt myself either.
Person 2: I know what you mean. I hired a few college kids to help me but they didn't do it the way I like it done. I guess it is time to let it go.
I have heard many older adults, which is anyone over 50, use that phrase-Let it Go. It might make a great Disney song but it shouldn't be something we say matter of factly. Letting it go should not mean, don't do it anymore or forget about it. Letting it go should mean, it doesn't have to be the way it used to be and as long as I am enjoying it, who cares what anyone else thinks about it.
Let's look at that garden. A raised garden can be constructed to work at a level where no bending is involved. Sure it won't be as big as the backyard and no you can't put a birdbath in something that high unless you are getting a building permit. You can hire college students to help with the tasks that are too difficult and work together while teaching them the "right way" to do it. It may not be exactly how you would do it and they may not take as much care because they do not have the same love of gardening you do but you can share your love. The point is, you have let it go but not to the point you have to give it up. You are still doing what you love with a few modifications. That is what is most important.
Using the garden as an analogy, I realize how many things this could apply to. My "downward dog" could now be "resting horse" or when on the floor and trying to get up I can use the props available and be proud of the sounds and facial expressions choreographed with the movement. My capacity for learning in classroom settings isn't as quick as it used to be but I know how to ask better questions and how to take more comprehensive notes not to mention learn from others around me which is something I would not have done the first time around. Letting go of the old ways of doing things can be liberating because it gives me the freedom to try new things and not be afraid of doing it wrong or not as well. So maybe it's time to remake that movie with a different soundtrack.
Elizabeth Ury is a Senior Care Advocate and owner of PrimeLife Care, LLC. She works with older adults and their families to help relieve stress when dealing with aging issues. For a free consultation call 312.961.2298 or email firstname.lastname@example.org