Are you part of the older population like me? Do you find it harder to move forward when life throws another curveball? Is it becoming more challenging to rally when addressing new issues? It doesn’t seem to matter what the cause is—a broken appliance, car trouble, the cancellation of a needed appointment, or a new health issue to cope with—at this moment in my life,  I am finding it more difficult to address the issues without feeling rattled. It is not just that I have to handle the unexpected problem, but now I also have an aging body that seems to react more quickly to the confusion and lack of calm. 

This is a strange feeling for me. After all, I raised four sons very close in age, taught over 120 students a day, worked out daily, made the family meals, planted and harvested our family garden, and fed the farm animals. I did this all while working nightly on my own school work and assisting our sons with their homework, swim practice, swim meets, music lessons, concerts, and the list goes on.  I look back and wonder, how the heck did I take all this on? And it makes me feel embarrassed that when anything happens unexpectedly today it creates an unwanted feeling of being unsettled.

There are so many adjustments and new acknowledgments that come with aging. My dad used to tell me that, “aging is not for sissies.” And now I know what he meant! He was right. What used to seem like normal chaos years ago will now throw my day off. I can’t shake things like I used to. I am not able to handle life like I once could, and that is hard for me to grasp.  

I always try to remind myself that others are coping with so much more in an attempt to calm myself and move forward. But that doesn’t always work. I think the process of aging is hard. The confusion and even anxiety that comes from these unexpected negative challenges are not fun. What I am learning is to celebrate the smooth days and not beat myself up on the tougher days that rattle my soul.  Let’s try to find the positive, remember a better day is around the corner, be kind to ourselves, and look to find the calm.  

May life be kind to you…


–by Ellen Lenox Smith

About the Author:

Ellen Lenox Smith has emerged as a leading voice for patients living with pain. Currently, Ellen serves as Co-Director of Medical Cannabis Advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation and is a member of its Board of Directors. She is also active with the EDS RI support group.

Prior to patient advocacy, Ellen was a longtime middle school social studies teacher. She has been married for 48 years and is the proud mother of four adult children and grandmother to five grandchildren. She also is the author of two books, an organic gardener, and was previously a master swimmer and high school swim coach.

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