Traverse City Record-Eagle

Body & Soul

May 18, 2013

Perspectives: Structuring a balanced life as we age

Whether we realize it or not, we all live within “structure.”

Sometimes it becomes too limiting or too confining. This can be physical, emotional and spiritual.

The most obvious structure is our homes. While they provide safety and often pride, they contain us and define what we may do in a specific space. After a few years in our homes, we are ready to change the paint, add or move furniture and sometimes even remodel. We decide how best to live within the structure called home.

Our lives also have a structure to them. For the most part, it is one we have chosen or accepted. We get up at a certain time, eat breakfast, go to work, exercise and interact with family and friends.

Sometimes outside influences cause us to change our daily patterns. Sometimes we make decisions to change the routine. On a given day, we may decide to stay in our pajamas all day, eat when we are hungry and pass the day with TV reruns. We change the pattern knowing we will return to it tomorrow.

The process of aging involves the changing of patterns because influences from outside and within us call for modification and variation. We may try to continue with the older and better-known paths, but they become less rewarding — sometimes consume too much energy — and soon we feel limited rather than free.

Our spiritual lives,w too, provide a structure. Weekly church, mosque or synagogue attendance gives us contact with our larger religious communities; but we often struggle within the format of the service. Sometimes we want it more “traditional” (however we define “tradition”) and on occasion we want something new.

At any age, however much we need structure, we also need to know there are times without structure, no definite plans or any commitments other than “to be.” We can think of all manner of “ought to,” “should” and “need to,” and they can usually wait. And when we return to them, it is often with increased energy and perspective.

Text Only

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl