As my dad likes to say, “growing old sucks.” And in some ways that’s not so true- you might grow more patient and be able to learn new things the older you get. But in others ways my dad’s statement is very telling. The older we get, the harder it can be for us to move our bodies and for someone who was once a vibrant and active person, you can begin to feel tired, slowed down, in pain, maybe even useless. So, how do you manage aging gracefully both emotionally and physically, especially after retirement?
- Keep going. I've worked a lot with older adults. The people who I’ve met that strike me as the happiest in their older age are the ones who keep moving their bodies on a regular basis by swimming, taking walks, dancing, practicing yoga or otherwise. That’s easy for me to say as a younger woman but it doesn’t have to be extreme, just keep moving in whatever ways your body allows.
- Keep an open and questioning mind. These older adults who I've met who feel quite young at heart to me, rarely shy away from a conversation and they're not scared, but rather move into openly asking to learn about something. If you continue to use the knowledge you have to ask questions about the world around you, much like a reporter interviewing someone, you can always learn something new about the world.
- Live in the moment. Whatever you are doing, do it with desire and passion. It can be so easy to think about the losses you’ve had in life when you’re older, but it won’t help you to live with whatever time you do have left. Eat good food with glee, shop in the market like that's the most delicious smelling pineapple your nose has ever come upon.
- Carry out your love for a cause. You are never too old to effect change. In fact, I often read about older adults making real changes in the world when they really dedicate themselves to something. Volunteer your time, get involved in politics at a local level, help care for your grand kids, and ignore those naysayers.