Baby Boomers and Seniors Are Aging and It’s Not for the Faint of Heart
How to Make It the Very Best We Can
“There is a fountain of youth, it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap into this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
Trust me, getting older can be a challenge, both physically and mentally. It happens to all of us, you can’t run nor hide from this aspect of life. As we age, your health can take some twists and turns for which you were not prepared. Your stamina may and most likely will decline some. Your memory recall may take a wee bit longer. But it’s all up to each of us and it doesn’t have to get you down. Just like everything else in life, you have the power to choose your course. MINDSET MATTERS!
So, here are my favorite ways I practice virtually every day to remain ageless. Well, maybe not ageless, but these definitely help me through the days, the weeks, the months and the years.
THINK POSITIVE AND STAY OPTIMISTIC. Easy to say right. You have a choice, be bitter and caustic, or think positive and optimism. No matter what happens in your journey, stay on the side of optimism. We all have pity parties about what is or might be happening to us. I’ve had my share, but then I go out and look around at so many people who are in worse shape than me. If a pity party comes my way, I think about how lucky I am and kick all those bad thoughts out the door. Stay committed to looking at the brightside every day. I live with RA and Lupus and have ever since I was diagnosed with them in my mid-30’s. Pain is in my life all the time and has been for years. I could have folded a long time ago but chose to be thankful for being able to push myself and be happy for what I have in life, not for what I don’t have.
THINK YOUNG. A study at North Carolina State University conducted in 2009 showed memory decline happened only in those people who believed memory decline was due to old age. Is it mind over matter, and you actually have more control over that thinking. Another study at Yale found that people who believe getting older is a positive experience lived on average seven years longer than those who saw it as a negative.
Please know that I am critically aware that many of us are developing or have early-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, a cruel form of punishment also for the families who endure this with their loved one. My dear sweet father had both diseases and for many years suffered along with his family. But on a high note, he passed his driving test at 85, just to say that he passed it because he never drove again after that. You can still achieve anything.
STAY BUSY AND ACTIVE. There is an old saying, “a body in motion stays in motion.” Studies have shown that people who stay active, keep working and retire later in life have fewer chronic diseases, and if you happen to have health issues you won’t focus on them all the time.
FIND A LIFE PURPOSE. Find a cause to fight for or something to help someone else. Volunteer now that our world is opening up again. When you stay focused on accomplishing something, whatever it might be, you will feel energized, have less depressive thoughts and your life will take on new meaning.
KEEP LEARNING AND GROWING. Try this. Create a bucket list with all the things you want to do and learn. We still have all the time to learn and grow. You might not get to all of them, but what a great way to dream and set goals. If you keep learning and developing as a person, your mind stays active and there is so much inspiration. With our computers and smart phones we don’t even have to leave the comfort of our homes. Or, if you’re like me as someone who has to get out and about, go into your community and see what classes are being offered at local schools, colleges and senior community centers.
FORGIVE. Please don’t hold grudges, it’s not a nice feeling. We’ve all had something happen to us where we have held onto bad feelings or a grudge. Shift your perspective. If you can do it on your own, great. If not, find some help through professional guidance, your local church or a good friend who listens intently. Holding on to the pain, guilt, shame or blame is like drinking poison every day. It really doesn’t affect the other person (their life goes on) but it does poison you, your partner, your family, your friends, and anyone else you’re around. I’ve had to do it, and I chose happiness and peace.
LAUGH OFTEN AND HAVE FUN.
“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”
George Bernard Shaw
Life will be as fun and enjoyable as you make it. I choose to be the old lady that will make fun of herself and will try very hard to make people smile wherever I go. A smile and a display of kindness doesn’t cost a thing.
KEEP SOCIALLY ACTIVE. It’s terribly important to keep your vocabulary up to snuff and to be able to converse intelligently on current affairs. You can’t do that sitting alone, so get out and mingle. If you have a partner, bring them along. If you’re alone, you don’t have to be lonely. Meet friends on Zoom or go to new activities. Whatever you do, don’t leave home with a negative outlook, because you will do nothing but attract negative people. Listen to other people’s point of view, for they too have something to offer. However, if it’s not to your liking, don’t compromise your integrity, just walk away. Try to be around like-minded people for the greatest fulfillment.
EAT HEALTHY. Here I go again. This aspect just seems to be a common thread in most of my blogs. And why shouldn’t it? If you eat healthy you can do a pretty good job of maintaining a suitable weight. It’s weight, not age, that slows people down. Nothing will help you age happier than feeling good about yourself and staying active. I continually mention diet and exercise as they relate to feeling the best about yourself. My BoomerGuy and I follow one specific diet and conform to it about 75% of the time. It’s impossible to hit a homerun every day, so we’re fine with that level of discipline.
A friend of mine once told me “we take better care of our car engines than we do our internal engines.” It is never too late to take control of your life and those aspects that bring your happiness.
ACCEPT AND TRUST WHATEVER YOUR JOURNEY BRINGS.
“Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living.”
Rachel Marie Martin
Life rarely turns out the way we expect it. Some of the surprises that come your way will be welcome and others will be major disappointments. Here’s the trick I’ve learned, is to trust the process and choose to see the good in whatever stage of life you are in. We’ve all been given choices to see the cup half empty or half full. What would you choose? My BoomerGuy and I certainly have had our trials, but we rarely complain about them. Sure, some of the experiences we would prefer not to have had, but you need to trust the journey and pick yourself up and go again. Every experience is here to help us become stronger, wiser, and hopefully more loving. Don’t look out into the world for your happiness, look within and toward those who you choose to let into your life.
To all of you Boomers and Seniors, remember that we are all losing some of our youthful appearance. A friend sent me a photo of herself and said to me look how old I am. I sent her a note back and said look how beautiful you are. It’s a matter of perspective. Unless we’ve had a major facelift, we are going to have some wrinkles. I told her those wrinkles represent the years of joy we’ve lived and smiles we’ve shared through the good times and some of the tears and pain. Those nasty age spots are from the years we played outside and enjoyed life to the fullest. My message: keep on smiling and keep on enjoying life to the fullest.
Frankly I do the best I can every day and will continue through this ageing process with the best attitude possible. I went on to tell my friend I really didn’t care what people thought of my looks. I try my best to stay on trend and work with what I have. I am a youthful thinker therefore I am youthful on the outside. BECAUSE I SMILE A LOT.
Stay relevant and enjoy the process Boomers.
“Age is an issue of mind over matter, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
Thank you to KSL.com, K. Giles, North Carolina State University and Harvard University for their editorial contribution