Thrive At Any Age: Commitment and Service
Last night I got to watch a beautiful film, as part of the Guanajuato International Film Festival. It moved me deeply—yet, I was disturbed by one of the key themes.
Titled, El Patio de Mi Casa (translation: There’s No Place Like Home), the documentary celebrated the accomplishments and service of a married couple now nearing the end of their lives. Gorgeous cinematography brought us right into the indigenous communities in rural Mexico where Doris and Oscar built houses and schools and created educational programs.
A loving tribute from a talented filmmaker to his parents, we saw this couple, now in their 70s, still traveling to remote communities forging connections and fostering hope and resilience in children and their parents.
Both Oscar and Doris and grown up with great privilege, she in Mexico City and he in Europe, yet both discovered at an early age that their greatest joy and happiness was through service to those less blessed with material wealth.
That was a theme that I loved and can totally get behind: Rather than feeling vaguely (or very!) guilty about their own privilege and social status, they used their wealth, their education, and their gifts to make a real difference for others.
It reinforces a new belief I am fostering—“I cannot get poor enough to help poor people thrive.” I first heard this said by Abraham-Hicks, and it really hit home!
Rather I am growing the belief that I can share more beauty, more love, more hope, with those in need when I allow financial prosperity into my life.
So I loved how this movie so exquisitely illustrated this truth.
What I didn’t love so much was the pervading message that aging is difficult, sad, and forces one to give up the things they cherish.
I understand that the filmmaker, Carlos, was processing his own sadness at facing the inevitable passing of his parents. And through his art he was reflecting his own belief system about aging, and that of Oscar and Doris themselves.
They were often melancholy as they contemplated their advancing years and slowing down bodies. They accepted without question that soon they would have to give up the work that had brought them so much satisfaction, and turn it over to younger apprentices.
Although it was beautiful to watch the pride and satisfaction in the faces of the young indigenous apprentices who were taking over their nonprofit, it was painful to vicariously experience that disappointment about aging.
This is completely counter to another truth I have come to embrace and now share:
The way we age has much more to do with our beliefs than with our genes.
As a collective we believe that our bodies will inevitably break down and we will face more and more health crises as we age. Most people just accept this without question as fact, and bemoan the fates as their own bodies begin that decline.
Yet—as many brain scientists are proving—this ‘inevitable’ process doesn’t occur for everyone. Entire communities are made up of people that live and thrive with sound minds and bodies well into their 90s and often past 100.
While, of course our earthly bodies change with age, (I’m not talking about some mythical immortality here), what if we could live vibrantly right up till the day we shuffle off this mortal coil?
I wrote just a bit about this a while ago here…. and it’s a subject that definitely bears diving more deeply into. If you are intrigued by this, you’ll definitely want to read Christane Northrup’s wonderful new book, Goddesses Never Age. Another eye-opening book or audio that discusses aging, beliefs and more is The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton.
Now, could Doris and Oscar have continued on with the service that lit them up if they had not believed that by the time you hit your late 70s you have to slow down?
Who knows? Maybe, maybe not.
Personally, I was uplifted to see the closing of the circle as they mentored and cultivated their protegees, passing the torch. And, how moving and inspiring to witness the deep and everlasting love this couple shared.
And indeed they still carried on, sharing their gifts even in their advancing years. This inspiring couple was living proof that a life of of service and commitment contributes to your ability to thrive at any age.
What’s YOUR take? Is it possible to thrive and enjoy good health and energy into your 80s and 90s? Share your thoughts in the comments!