The spirituality topic has been debated, questioned, studied, taunted, scorned and heralded throughout the ages.
We’re not going to join that debate.
What does spirituality mean to you personally?
As a point of information, the question here is not “what is spirituality” but what does “spirituality mean to you personally.”
Much of the retirement suggestion material in richlyaged.com posts deals with the new you and who you will be in retirement. Our entire focus is to promote positive aging.
How does spirituality impact positive aging?
Is there a connection between positive aging and spirituality?
Two viewpoints are shared below. Click the link to University of Minnesota spirituality study.
Spirituality may help you live longer.
An exhaustive review that compared spirituality and religiousness to other health interventions found that people with a strong spiritual life had an 18% reduction in mortality
Spiritual people make healthier choices.
Adhering to a particular spiritual tradition may bring an indirect health benefit because many traditions have rules about treating the body with kindness and avoiding unhealthy behaviors.
So in the discussion of what spirituality means to us, on an individual level, we find important components in our spiritual aging process:
- developing wisdom
- letting go gracefully
- unconditional love
How you define your own spirituality doesn’t necessarily need to have a label. You just need to be able to recognize it.
What determines your spirituality?
Many times we are too hurried and busy in our careers. We are consumed with parenthood and other relationships and we want to scream STOP! Time seems too tight to develop wisdom, compassion and unconditional love.
As mentioned in an earlier post,”hurry is the enemy of love.” Love requires time; time to listen, to understand to support. In our later life, the retired one, we have more time to look for and listen to our spirituality.
My Spirituality Story
On a personal level, I grew up in a household that didn’t practice religion. My mother and I attended church occasionally in a Midwestern legalistic religious setting. My dad and brother stayed home.
I thought hymns were difficult to sing and sermons were an opportunity to get to draw pictures on the church bulletin. Finding the hymnal page was hard but not as hard as understanding the words. No one near me could follow those hymns either, especially the second and third verses.
Most of all, I wanted to be able to raise my hand on Monday mornings at elementary school. My third grade teacher asked for a show of hands for how many kids attended Sunday school. Those who attended got a gold star on the Attendance Bulletin Board. Those who didn’t attend felt crummy. But I knew that I had a spirituality inside me.
For years I was a seeker. I visited churches wherever I went.
Sometimes, when you have a “can do attitude” and are a “survivor”, (whatever that means) you develop a tenacity that feels you can do it all “on your own”. You don’t need any help. You’ve succeeded by your own abilities. I think I fell into that category. Finally, I reached a point in my adult life when I could no longer do it all “on my own.”
What I tell friends now is that my adult children prayed me into church. It’s true. I was ready.
- This time, the simple heartfelt contemporary songs really were prayers.
- The sermons really were written especially for me.
- I left this all accepting sanctuary with a fullness that helped me come closer to my Father with a peace and calm I hadn’t experienced before.
- I no longer have to take care of things to “on my own”. I don’t need to.
I’m embracing my spirituality, my new found peace and gratitude. Though, even at this age, I’m still a daily work in progress.
This is my experience. Doesn’t need to be anyone else’s. There are lots of studies about being a believer and the impact on positive aging. There are probably an equal number that champion the opposite viewpoint.
Everyone gets to make that determination on their own. Just sayin’.
Retire from work, but not from life.
— M.K. Soni