Do you sometimes think that maybe you missed your true calling in life and now you’re too old to follow it? Do you feel it’s too late to discover your true purpose?
Maybe you feel a burning fire within that wants to be fulfilled but you feel your time has passed already and you’re too old to satisfy it? Or you remember your childhood dreams that never have been realized but now you feel like it’s too late?
Whenever thoughts like these float into my mind, I remember St. Hildegard and how much her life inspires me. She lived to the ripe old age of 81 following her calling in a time where a typical lifespan was half that! She worked with determination to bring her gifts into the world despite many obstacles including even her own limiting beliefs about women and herself.
When she was 52 years old, she felt called to leave her home of 40 years, the Abbey of St. Disibod, and take the bold step to build her own abbey where St. Rupert’s church on the Rhine River had been destroyed. The inspiring work of St. Rupert in the 7th century fueled her commitment to move forward with this project.
And yet, she was faced with many obstacles along the way. The monks at St. Disibod strongly objected that she was leaving. Understandable, as many sisters leaving with her meant that the monks’ financial support would too.
Yet, she continued to find her courage to do what she felt called to. And she moved forward. She built Rupertsberg, a place for her to manifest the Power of the Living Light.
The early years on the Rupertsberg were difficult ones. Some sisters even left. Still she persevered with the passion she had for the project. And then at the age of 67, marching forward, she created a second abbey!
Even as she entered into the last decade of her life, she stayed active each and every day - writing texts that would share with others her plant remedies for healing, developing her own forms of worship and dress at the new abbey, and writing letters to the Emperor and the Pope.
She stood up for a revolutionary youth who, upon death, had repented and so she agreed to have him buried on her property, in spite of the consequences. The authorities were upset and her convent was placed under interdict.
Yet she fought against this injustice and won yet another battle, shortly before she died at age 81.
What wisdom and experience, alongside determination, courage and action she displayed in her later years!
St. Hildegard is such an inspiration to me as I enter into this period of my life. We’re never too old to take up a passion, to find meaning in life, and to try something new!
Here are a few tips for thriving, not just surviving, in your later years of life, that I’ve learned from St. Hildegard in my life. May they support you too!
1. Have a purpose or a reason to get up in the morning – something meaningful in life. Consider where you can share your experience and wisdom gained over the years. Consider what you have longed to do in life and haven’t yet. Then take steps to begin it!
2. Celebrate and cultivate social connections – Loss of loved ones is inevitable as you grow older. Make new friends and not just ones your age.
3. Keep a rhythm and routine in your life – having rhythms helps to give you strength. Wake up and go to sleep at the same times each day. Eat meals at regular times. Find some consistency throughout the week of time in nature, exercise, and social activities.
4. Don’t be defined by obstacles – Remember how you crashed through obstacles when you were younger with idealism and eternal optimism? Maybe you’ve grown wiser since then but hold on to an attitude of positivity and gratitude, not bitterness, as you age. Don’t let yourself be defined by an illness or your age.
5. Try new things – it keeps your mind and body flexible! And you may discover a new passion!
6. Let go of the limiting beliefs of old age - There are numerous stories of people living their passions in their later years. Read a few of them to inspire you! You’re never too old.
In this third phase of life, when the busy time of raising children and building a career passes, we can begin to savor the moments of life in a new way and not let them rush by. Friends, family, new experiences, and nature can be more deeply enjoyed. Passions that have been dormant can now begin to blossom!
May you find meaning and purpose that fuels your passion in this phase of your life!
Check out the many resources available to support you on your spiritual journey in my Free Healing Library here.
I was born in London, England, educated in Switzerland, and am fluent in English, German, Spanish, and French. I hold a Doctorate in Ministry Degree and Masters Degrees in Counseling Psychology and Education. Also, I am an accomplished artist and educator. I use all of this and much more when helping others heal their souls.