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The myths of aging: How to find new beginnings in olderhood

Presented by Brezsny Associates
Terry Ballantyne Brezsny on a beach
Terry Ballantyne Brezsny shares her thoughts on aging and homeownership.

I’ve been a real estate agent serving Santa Cruz County for 23 years, 13 years at Sereno Group. After years of helping people move from one home to another, I’ve concluded that aging is a myth.

I say this as I’ve helped people shed memories of all types, purge unnecessary burdens—mental or physical, overcome fears about making big decisions, and let go of perceived negative outcomes. I basically reorient them into a new home, a new chapter, and a fresh start.

This is work that is deeply personal as you step in and mess with people’s nest! And throughout all that chaos, they are vulnerable and end up sharing quite a bit. This sharing has been an amazing opportunity to talk about this whole aging business and just how complex it is.

Terry Ballantyne Brezsny and Tom Brezsny in Baja Sur. Pure Magic.
Terry Ballantyne Brezsny and Tom Brezsny in Baja Sur. Pure Magic.

When you are young, you kind of assume “old people” are another species that think and act in uniform way—they are old, for gosh sakes. But young people, here’s a myth buster: none of us in reasonable health feel old. We feel experienced, wise, appreciative, determined, curious and liberated from the responsibilities of working and raising families. We can pursue our creativity, satisfy curiosities, and add value to our community via hours of volunteer work. We have a unique value often unappreciated in the American culture. And we enjoy a sense of liberation!

And those of us who are still contributing often don’t read as “old”. There may be a little change in one’s gait, some gray hair, more comfortable shoes (did you know the padding of fat in your feet dwindles with age?), and even some aches and pains. However, if you are using your brain, it is still a treasure trove of wisdom and value.

I have not spoken to a single older client (ranging from ages 55 to 100 ) who has said, “I feel old.” Most of them report feeling 20 to 30 years younger than their chronological age! This is because, as the Bhagavad Gita says, the soul cannot be extinguished.

“The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.”

— Translation of Bhagavad Gita 2.23

In other words, while the vessel in which we dwell will be weathered, our invisible spirit remains unchanged.

Try this experiment: Close your eyes and ask, “Who is reading this article right now?” Are you the same spirit as when you were 2 years old, or 10 years old? How about 22 years old? Did you suddenly one day wake up a different you? Unlikely.

Terry Ballantyne Brezsny has been a real estate agent with Sereno Group for 13 years.

As I help people make this intimate transition from nest to nest, I see all the joy and pitfalls of aging. You likely will lose grip strength, feel unbalanced in a slippery tub, and have trouble getting your shoes out from under the bed- all of which are irritating but inevitable to some degree.

But as Bonnie Rait reminds us, “When did the choices get so hard... With so much more at stake... Life gets mighty precious... When there’s less of it to waste.” So to all you 30-year-olds: don’t fear aging. And if you are 70, enjoy the rewards of the third age! Take every beautiful sunrise and cherish it. Watch the moon cycle, feel the breeze, and be generous with others. The days are fleeting in the last third.

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