Being Older Doesn't Have to Suck
John Hawkins has a post up entitled "The Five Worst Things About Getting Older." After reading that list, who wouldn't be depressed? The thing is, for each age-related problem he mentions, there are solutions to make the process easier or even non-existent. These solutions may not be magic but they really help delay much of what we think of as inevitable as we age.
These problems, according to Hawkins, are physical deterioration, loss, looking old, achieving or not achieving your dreams, and dwindling excitement. Rather than lament about how far one is going down, wouldn't it be better to use your age-related wisdom to address each area of concern?
One of the books I have found most helpful in dealing with getting older is Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy - Until You're 80 and Beyond, which is written by a doctor and one of his patients. There is some great information on working out and eating right that is simple and straight-forward.
Working out and eating right really help with physical decline and looking old. You have to find the exercise that is right for you. When I was younger, I liked heavier weight training and karate, but now I do light weight training and barre classes. The barre helps with my posture and balance and the weight training keeps me from looking old. You can also do yoga or heavier weight training or find some program that is simple and right for you that you can do three or four times a week, even if it's just walking.
And so what if you get injured? I see younger people all the time with broken legs, injured shoulders and bad knees. It's called life. Sometimes you get hurt. Yes, as you get older, you are more prone to injury so slow down if you have to. It's not the end of the world. You can still reach your goals--it may just take more time, and more attention to stretching and working on your body.
Stretching and keeping your body in shape can keep you from getting injured and from feeling achy or tired. If you can afford it, try myofascial release, a form of therapy that works on the fascia to release tension and relax muscles. Here is a video showing what it is and how it works:
Or alternatively, you can purchase a trigger point foam roller that can do the same thing more inexpensively. My favorite is the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller with Free Online Instructional Videos, Original (13-inch), Orange.
And as for looking old, so what? It's not a crime to be old. But in today's society, it seems to be. I think people want to look younger so they are not discriminated against. Old in today's society is anything over 37, so those of us who are lucky enough will live as older people for at least 40 Years. If you want to look younger, it's doable. Although I am not a big fan of Oprah's, I recall her saying that in order to look young, just do 3 things: color your hair, whiten your teeth and don't be overweight.
As for dealing with loss as you get older, that's a tough one; we have no control over loved ones dying or getting sick, etc. However, as far as the loss of past friendships and changes in relationships, that is to be expected and try to be grateful for those people in your life now who do care about you or who at least makes your life better: the waitress at your local lunch place, the barista at the coffee shop and even the guy who brings your packages. It's kind of a miracle that we have a society where we work cooperatively enough that things get done at all.
As for realizing your dreams, if you reach them, isn't that great? If not, keep trying or readjust them to your current lifestyle. I once knew a professor who said she was supposed to be a journalist so she became a writer and went on to be very successful. And who says you have to even have a dream? Isn't it ever enough just to lead a peaceful, happy life? Can't that be my dream?
Anyway, as far as dwindling excitement as one gets older, and a lack of passion that Hawkins mentions, why is that inevitable? People reminisce that when they were younger they laughed harder or felt more joy, but there are so many funny things in the world that one can overlook if you constantly expect a rush. Try watching a funny show or sitting in a senior center --those places are hilarious at times. The other day while visiting one, I watched as a resident's dog ran loose through the lunch room and all mayhem broke out. It was like a comedy skit.
Anyway, that's my two cents on the aging process. What's yours?