Is it Aging or Illness?

“It’s hard to tell what is age decline and what is disease… I’ve had a very challenging life with disease after disease after disease. I shouldn’t be here, but I have a tremendous will to live; a joie de vivre alternating with debility.” Joni Mitchell at age 70

This quote by Joni Mitchell raises the question: what’s aging and what’s illness?

I often hear people comment when they don’t feel well or have some body part that isn’t working as it did before, “oh it’s just aging, what can I expect?” But is it? If we expect that we will decline with age, perhaps we will. Yet not everyone automatically declines with age. As Joni reports, some people have health challenges throughout their lives that do not relate to age. Some report that they feel better with more energy as they get older.

Aging is not a disease. It is another stage of life that for some is easier than others. The factors that make a difference with this vary from person to person.

In recent years there is a lot of study in the field of psychoneuroimmunology that looks at the relationship between mind and body. Apparently how we view things and talk to ourselves impacts our physical state. We are not necessarily causing our illness and no blame to the individual is intended but our attitudes and self-talk affect how we feel.

As Connie Goldman says in my film, “Greedy for Life”, “It’s not so much what happens to you but how you deal with it.”

I’d love to hear from you about this topic. What’s your experience?

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