When I was younger - a lot younger - I had the naive idea that once you "got in shape" you merely needed to "stay in shape." It was just a matter of not quitting. I definitely wasn't a quitter, but I had no idea how the years would have their way of challenging my assumptions. Isn't that the essence of naiveté? You don't know what you don't know?
Luckily, life is not so boring.
It won't let us get by on the first, slim pickings of our early years. There's room to keep growing and learning, to persist in learning. As I'm savoring the term "primal aging," what comes is the notion of getting closer to Earth, of letting my instincts for vitality be "primed" by a deeper understanding of how nature designed this human creature. To trust that.
Are we buying in without noticing?
One of the great Both/Ands of our existence is played out at the intersection of our individual lives and the culture we live in. Cultural markers tell us what and how to be at different ages, and these are usually unconscious, subliminal, and taken as true without reflection. It takes a lot of awareness to see when they're playing. We can be buying in without even noticing.
To persist is to keep on keeping on. But the tricky part is knowing what to persist in. For me what has been crucial and rewarding is to regularly touch into Beginner's Mind: let the new day bring new freshness with it - to fix tea or scramble eggs again but for the first time - because I'm not trying to get somewhere in the future but want to savor the wealth and beauty and nourishment that are here right now.
Let both be true.
Another discovery is I'm no longer being flummoxed by paradox. Yes, I'm free to live beyond the cultural dictates on aging, AND I notice I'm not as sturdy and bright-eyed as I once was. Let both be true. If primal means innate and fundamental, then this both/and quality is the essence of primal. Grow beyond oppositional, black and white, yes or no thinking to allow a multidimensional view of life to emerge. It's a lot more fun and holds a lot more possibility for growth.
Verona Rylander is a psychotherapist with a degree from Naropa University in Boulder, CO. She grew up on grass fed beef and organic vegetables in Paris, TX and has a long history of curiosity about health, food, nutrition, cooking, and beyond. She's here to offer a broader perspective on Primal Living, changing habits, willpower, body image, and importance of your thoughts.