Growing older can reward a person with peace and well being in spite of the effects of time on the body. There is no doubt that I don’t have the buff, fit body that I had when still in my forties while I was still running marathons. Twenty extra pounds later, I find that I am satisfied that time has not done more damage to my body. I know that I could lose a bit of weight and likely feel better, but there is no rush. Rather than weight, I have refocused my eating habits while keeping up with activity by walking a minimum of eight kilometres a day.
When the walk is done, I have time for sunbathing, a deliberate choice when the sun is cooperative for it is the sun baking my body that clears out the old ghosts and shadows that used to rule my life. And, on most days, I take the time to write my story. I write for myself and learn as I write about myself. Time, with the aid of photographs and a decent grasp of depth psychology principles allow me to understand what happened to me on the journey back to better mental health. Like most who enter the field of mental health counselling, I had a history of my own to cope with. Doing the work to heal, I learned how to be a better guide to assist in the healing process for others.
We all go through life carrying wounds that came with growing out of childhood into adulthood. Some have wounds that nag in the background, and others are crippled by their wounds. Regardless of the severity of our wounds, it is our response to those wounds that allow us to either ignore them for the most part, or get help in order to mentally, and sometimes physically survive. I have survived my wounds through a variety of methods with naturism taking a prominent role in that journey. I have learned that I can be gentle with myself as the seventh decade of my life approaches. No one expects me to look and act like a young, virile man so that pressure is off the table. That allows me now to smile a lot more with honest smiles. Learning how to be more gentle with myself has given me the gift of being more gentle with others. Perhaps this is what is meant by entering one’s “golden years.”