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Aging Gracefully

Taking my More To Life Weekend in 1982 at the now distant age of 32, although it seems like yesterday, was a pivotal event in my life. As a student, community leader, and trainer, I have made my participation in life-long learning a central focus of my life, and it has helped me evolve in so many ways that have impacted the quality of my experience in all aspects of my life, including aging.

Many things in life continually change, but one that's constant is growing older.

It seems apparent to me that our culture and civilization have a great deal invested in resisting the aging process. Whether it’s plastic surgery, dieting, vitamins, supplements, and numerous other prescribed products and devices, we are continually bombarded with the notion that getting older is something to be conquered, reversed, or even avoided altogether at all costs.

At the ripe young age of 65, with two grandchildren, Medicare, Social Security, and continual AARP solicitations, I don't have to look far to realize I'm not as young as I once was, even though my mind may try to convince me otherwise.

I am in excellent health, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I'm at the top of my game in my careers and have never been better in my relationships and attitude toward life.

At the same time, I have some aches, pains, and residual effects of injuries that don't seem to be going away anytime soon. I may end up just living with them for the rest of my life.

When I sometimes hear myself saying jokingly, “I’m falling apart,” it is up to me to catch it because it represents a part of my thinking that is not an accurate assessment.

I used to road bike 100-mile events and play high-level racquetball for three hours at a time. No hill climb was too steep for this alpha male, challenging life to just bring it on.

Ah, those were the days . . . or maybe not.

These days, 20 to 40 mile rides are just fine, and certain hill climbs I just avoid. I don’t believe it is healthy for my heart rate to stay above 175 BPM for more than a minute or so.

I still play racquetball for a few hours, but I allow myself to sit out a few games here and there to catch my breath and take inventory of the growing number of painful spots my body is reminding me about.

I'm falling asleep earlier in my reclining chair and have been told my snoring is quite symphonic.

The bald spot on the top of my head, the nose hairs, the ear hairs, the gray hairs are more easily catching my attention. The six-pack abs I seek remain elusive under a noticeable layer of belly fat.

Perhaps your life has even more challenges in the health department than what I describe in my inventory. No matter what our personal state of health, we all have the responsibility and opportunity to do what is ours to do to care for our precious selves. This will always be true. Illness and aging present physical limits that require adjustments in behavior, activities, and surrender. Not easy, but certainly better than being victimized or bitter about what is so.

As sharp and wise as my mind has grown, I sometimes can't remember someone's name or where I put my keys. I have magnifying reader glasses in every room and make sure I write things down that need to be done, lest I forget. I am not helpless with these new developments. Nor am I ineffective or relegated to be put out to pasture. I am not done yet.

My parents and the older generations of my family have all passed on. Their passing, along with the process of caring for them during their final years, is fresh. Mortality and the sadness of having those you love leave this mortal plane is a daily reminder of what is yet to come.

I could kick and scream, deny, avoid, complain, or just give up. This would almost certainly lead me to overdo or underdo, refusing to adjust to the current and ever-changing limits of my body and my mind as I age.

I would also completely miss the joy of being who I am right now, with all I've learned,

and with all the opportunities to celebrate this unique and incredible time of my life.

What is being required by Life is for me to continually realign with reality as it is, nose hairs and all.

I pride myself in doing all I can to maintain a quality lifestyle in order to love myself and enhance my ability to bring my best to life in all its aspects.

My daily practice for this includes;

#1 extensive physical, athletic, and exercise activities

#2 eating quality, organic, (when possible) balanced foods

#3 proactively releasing any anger, frustration, and resentment

#4 processing my made-up stuff to come to clarity

#5 giving my spirit nourishment through the quiet time of meditation

To hear the words “Grandpa Warren” from either of my two amazing granddaughters, to celebrate snoring in stereo with my beloved wife, Lisa, to bring my best to life and contribute to others by passing on what I have been gifted with in the More To Life Program and from each moment of my life experience . . . whether it be sorrow, joy, loss, celebration, pain, ecstasy, resistance, willingness, aliveness, and death . . . all of it has contributed to who I am now, and I wouldn’t wish any of it to have been different.

Resistance is futile. We are mortal. Knowing that brings us to a fork in the road, with one direction exaggerating our fears of death, and the other offering grace and trust in the journey of life.

It is always our choice which road we take.

I thank my teachers along the way and especially those from More To Life who confronted me when I was off the mark, encouraged me when I lost my way, loved me no matter what, and blessed me with the tools through which I deliver myself to my highest and most noble self over and over again. I am so grateful to have been mentored by Dr. Brad Brown, one of the co-founders of the More To Life Program with Dr. Roy Whitten, whose wisdom, humanity, and forness--for this one and so many others was so powerfully and masterfully delivered that I could not miss the gift.

For those of you reading this article who have experienced More To Life coursework, you have the way.

Use it, work it, let it take you home.

For those of you who have yet to experience this amazing program, don’t wait another minute. You already have inside of you all you need for the journey. In the More To Life Weekend and all the other courses in the program, we’ll show you how to make it work for you.

I invite you to celebrate each moment you have been gifted with, whether it be 20 years or 100. The quality of the journey is in the savoring of the moment, no matter how many days you have been alive.

Will you join me in that intention?

I hope you will.

Thank you to Life and Thank you, More To Life!

This moment, now this one, and this one . . . (repeat)

Enjoy the journey.

Warren Kahn

Senior Trainer, More To Life

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