Don’t underestimate our superpowers just because of our age! It might surprise you to know that we still have our superpowers and we’re using them!
In fact, it is possible that our superpowers are stronger than ever before. It’s also possible that we’re noticing a few differences from forty or fifty years ago. Superpowers can shift or change from what they once were—like the ability to listen in on faint conversations at parties, or strutting a muscular physique on the beach for all to behold, or remembering the names of everyone you meet—shifting as life shifts and changes.
Superpowers often disappear as needs disappear. Saving our runny-nose toddler’s day (a prized superpower like none other!) is but a memory as our child grows to adulthood. Our sphere of influence as a teacher shrinks when we retire. Pandemics such as Covid-19 minimize the reach of our power, or at the very least, alter it significantly. The loss of our power(s) can leave us vacillating and impotent.
Yet, there remain superpowers that carry us through to our last breath. Consider those with a gift of healing, the animal whisperer, the neighbour with wealth savvy, the skilled musician/artist, the one who soothes a colicky baby, the person who makes friends easily and successfully nurtures those friendships for decades, the grandparent who invests in family relationships—some superpowers become more robust with age!
Reading to this point, you may be left wondering why I’m not referring to the superpowers of comic super heroes like Storm and Captain Marvel whose powers go far beyond human ability. Did you know that superpowers also exist in humans, especially considering the likes of —
- Japanese Samurai Isao Machii who can slice a pea-sized bullet traveling 322 kilometers per hour, fired at him from 22 meters away;
- Scott Flansburg, the Human Calculator who can add multiple numbers faster than someone using a calculator;
- Dutch Athlete Wim Hof, known as The Iceman, who is able to survive extremely cold temperatures, take extensive ice baths, and climb Mount Everest dressed only in shorts;
- ‘Rainbow Woman’ Concetta Antico, an artist who can see “a hundred-million colours”;
- Mr. Eat-It-All, Michel Litito, who has consumed bicycles, razor blades, supermarket carts, and beds;
- Joy Milne of Scotland who can smell Parkinson’s disease before it’s diagnosed.
I’m convinced we all have at least one superpower that gives us the opportunity to make life a little bit easier for others.
As we age, it’s common to feel loss of our personal power, whether super or not. Our power is subject to various forces that claim it, minimalize it, or destroy it, forces like:
- Health issues – Not seeing a goal through to fruition can leave us feeling helpless, dependent, victimized;
- Financial challenges – Unable to meet our daily needs or to fulfil our financial obligations leaves one feeling debilitated, discouraged, hopeless.
- Always one step behind, especially with technology – You know this one… connecting the new television your offspring gifted you, and realizing your Master’s Degree doesn’t help one itty-bitty bit in deciphering the set-up/installation instructions.
One can also feel disconnected or out of the loop with relationships, career changes, policy updates, politics, trends, and the like.
There are multiple reasons why we feel a loss of power, but of particular interest as it relates to aging is technology. No, it’s not about hooking up the new TV. Rather, it’s about the sociocultural changes we’re experiencing at an alarming rate that alter or damage our power. Woke Culture and Cancel Culture are but two terms recently added to the dictionary as a result of their global impact.
Simply put, social media has proven its ability to activate groups to action while also discrediting, slandering, or ‘cancelling’ out people. What is concerning about this and other similar shifts in our culture is that often we respond to a message or prompt without checking the facts. Such behaviour affects the power of both young and old alike.
Take, for example, the person who spends three decades building a powerful business, only to have someone start an emotionally charged negative Twitter thread that ultimately crushes the business and its owner. Consider the lies that go viral that destroy a retiree’s savings account or the office of a public figure. And, lest we forget social media posts that display your friends’ enviable lives, leaving you to feel disappointed in your own life, or if nothing else, leaving you depressed or powerless about the future.
The rate of change in technology, economics, and culture is alarming and impossible to ignore. Trading in our fifteen year old car for a new one, for example, is somewhat scary—safely navigating the newer vehicle while mastering it’s technology.
Sociocultural change threatens our personal power. What one does, says, or writes is under constant scrutiny… Are we expressing any form of racism? Have social media trolls slashed our warm-and-fuzzy feel-good post, leaving us in tears? Are we faced with challenges because of our ethnicity? Do we claim the right that everyone is entitled to an opinion, and subsequently exercise the power we believe it holds? Do cyberbullies have personal power?
It’s difficult to maintain/nurture our power when under the grip of society, with the fingers of social culture pawing us, emotionally raking us through, or hammering out destructive words for all the world to see.
Perhaps the easiest way to keep from losing one’s power(s) is to have one’s eyes wide open. This doesn’t mean we need to understand all the shifts and changes taking place in our world or personal bubble. Trying to comprehend the many facets of ongoing sociocultural change as well as the changes within our aging bodies can be overwhelming at best. Instead, we can continue to enjoy our power(s) by accepting that these changes do exist, and that they most probably will impact us personally at some point along the way.
There are measures we can take to protect ourselves from getting lost in it all, measures such as:
- Trusting someone to help with technology and social media, realizing that relying on another’s expertise is not a weakness, but rather an intersection of power;
- Acknowledging that when choosing to not engage in social media, that this is a power of choice;
- Empowering oneself by learning more about a subject, which might include technology, culture, and so on;
- Continuing to do the things that bring joy, love, and a feeling of success, thereby nurturing a sense of self-worth and personal power;
- Taking care of the basics—paying attention to diet, sleep, and mobility so that when stressors hit, one is intellectually and emotionally fortified to handle things, thereby not relinquishing all power(s).
Gadgets and gizmos aplenty can nurture a sense of power. Check out some of these fun power nurturers —
- Enjoy giving voice commands to Google Home Mini or Amazon Alexia to play music, read the news, make a video call, turn off lights, tell you jokes, and even set the timer for what’s baking in the oven. Experience power and control with little resistance.
- Put your cell phone to work with an app that guides fitness, diet, exercise, and even meditation goals.
- Enjoy a Toilet Target Light to make things easier for those wee late night trips to the bathroom. Okay, so it was originally designed for toddlers, but it’s said that as we age, we need to invest in our inner child, so let’s invest!
- Get a Wallet Ninja, with 18 different tools all cast in credit card size. For those of us who plan on putting our tools back where they belong but never manage to get around to it, the Wallet Ninja can save the time and subsequent multiple trips around the house looking for the tool needed to do a certain job.
- Turn your kitchen faucet into art by installing the 3 Colours Changing Temperature Control. As the water temperature changes, so does the colour of the water. The grandkids (and you) will not only be ecstatic about the display, but will also be thrilled that burns from hot water are preventable.
- Put a Bug-A-Salt on your Wish List, and have fun killing houseflies with ordinary table salt. Practice your shooting skills and feel like 007! Now that’s a surge of power!
- Forgot to put the frozen meat out? It happens more often than one would like to admit when reaching the upper years of life. Thaw Claw to the rescue! Helps to “thaw meat seven times faster and a hundred percent safer!”
Did you know that humans already do have amazing built-in powers? Here’s just a few of the superpowers we supposedly have:
- Vagus Nerve: When you get an owie, cough or bear down while holding your breath to lessen the impact of pain. This activates the Vagus Nerve, something cleverly built into the intricate architecture of our bodies!
- Let your brain heal you – The Placebo Effect: Mallika Marshall, MD, says that a placebo can work, even when you know it’s a placebo.
- Your body is constantly rejuvenating! Cells lining your stomach can renew as quickly as every two days. Skin cells are replaced every two to three weeks. The bones in your body regenerate every 10 years or so.
This link lists twelve superpowers that humans have. Worth checking it out!
When considering the marvels of the human body, we can move forward with confidence, vigor, and wellbeing in these, our later years, knowing that we have superpowers worth nurturing and protecting, superpowers that can not only help us, but that can help others, thereby leaving behind a legacy to be revered.
I Am Woman by Helen Reddy
Expand your superpower knowledge by exploring these links:
OLD SUPER HEROES STILL SHARING THEIR SUPERPOWERS
- Dorothy Parker – American poet, critic, and satirist who in her later years became a Hollywood screenwriter with two Academy Award nominations.
The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.— Dorothy Parker
- In 2018, 80 year old Wang Deshun walked the catwalk in a high profile fashion show. His performance and his admirable physique earned him fame and the nickname “Hottest Grandpa.”
- In June 2014, 91 year old Charlotte, N.C. resident Harriette Thompson completed her 15th marathon, breaking a few records in the process
- Ironman Athlete Sister Madonna Bruder, a Catholic nun, has completed over 45 Ironman races and continues to compete at age 86
- Tamae Watanabe, the oldest woman to summit Mt. Everest at age 73
- Phyllis Sues Tangos at 95
- Rosemary Smith, oldest person to drive a Formula 1 car at age 79
- 98 year old Nola Ochs completes a Master’s Degree from FHSU and writes a book at 100
- Great-grandmother Jeannie Epper, and stuntwoman extraordinaire, is in her 70s and still jumping through glass windows and escaping from burning buildings. Lynda Carter’s stunt double in the TV series Wonder Woman, Epper continues to cheat death performing stunts in movies—Minority Report, The Fast and the Furious, Kill Bill: Vol. 2.
- 80 year old Frances Woofenden, competitive water-skier with over 100 medals to her name, didn’t start waterskiing until she moved to Florida at age 50.
- Ernestine Shepherd, Bench-Pressing Golden Girl, wakes up at 3 a.m. every morning to run (logging 80 miles a week) and lift weights (bench-pressing 150 pounds).
- 80 year old singer Janey Cutler from Glasgow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmMvzhIX1tk
- 88 year old Chuck Berry in Moscow 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yY4z9Qj06Wo&list=RDyY4z9Qj06Wo&start_radio=1&rv=yY4z9Qj06Wo&t=34
- Tony Bennett – “Still singing, recording, touring” and has a wife forty years younger: https://news.amomama.com/222193-tony-bennett-is-now-94-his-wife-is-40-ye.html
- Burt Bacharach still writing hit songs at 92: https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiegoldsmith/2020/02/20/burt-bacharach-strong-at-92-still-writing-hit-songs/?sh=3c16f61c463e
- 84 year old Loretta Lynn and 83 year old Willie Nelson release this duet in 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfZxnILzN4c
- Aging and forgetfulness—what’s normal, and what’s not: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/memory-forgetfulness-and-aging-whats-normal-and-whats-not
- 10 Signs of aging poorly: https://draxe.com/health/signs-of-aging-poorly/
- Signs of Aging: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/aging/art-20046070
- On aging Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayo.edu/research/centers-programs/robert-arlene-kogod-center-aging/overview
- Dr. Williams: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-art-and-science-aging-well/201705/how-does-our-body-change-we-age-part-1
- Aging Casefully: https://health.ucsd.edu/news/features/Pages/2015-08-31-listicle-aging.aspx
- Attitude to Aging impacts Aging: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-new-resilience/201612/attitude-aging-impacts-everything-about-aging
- Researchers find link between impatience and faster aging: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-02-link-impatience-faster-aging.html
- Low testosterone: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322647
- What is aging – Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.drugs.com/health-guide/aging.html
- Our taste in food changes: https://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/trends-news/article/sense-of-taste-changes-aging
- Age Lowers Body’s Tolerance: https://www.newsmax.com/health/dr-small/aging-metabolism-alcohol-drugs/2018/09/28/id/884003/
- Tolerance For Loud Noises Decreases With Age: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/1998-11/OU-TFLN-191198.php
- Researchers may have identified key genes linked to why some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others—four genes could be the reason: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140420193428.htm
- Differences in brain signal variability reflect age-induced changes in the neuromodulation of dopamine: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-06-age-related-cognitive-decline-dopamine.html
- Foods that raise dopamine: https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/15-foods-that-will-raise-your-dopamine-levels
- Stress amplifies our emotional reaction: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/is-stress-making-your-allergy-symptoms-worse
- 5 Signs of giving your power away: https://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/04/07/5-signs-youre-giving-your-power-away-how-to-reclaim-it/
- On personal power: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201601/9-ways-you-keep-your-personal-power
- Superpowers we wish we had: https://list25.com/25-superpowers-you-wish-you-had/
- Animal Whisperer: https://www.totalcarevethospital.com/blog/post/are-animal-whisperers-for-real.html
- Power defined: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whisperer
- Find your power and avoid abusing it: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_find_your_power_avoid_abusing_it
About Social-Culture Climate
- Getting Canceled: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/cancel-culture-words-were-watching
- Woke Culture: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/woke-meaning-origin
SOCIAL MEDIA TROLLS
About Placebo Effect
- Placebo Effect in Medicine—History: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1297390/pdf/jrsocmed00004-0023.pdf
- Healing Power of Placebos: https://permanent.access.gpo.gov/lps1609/www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2000/100_heal.html
- Audio interview: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1504023
- Putting the Placebo Effect to work: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/putting-the-placebo-effect-to-work