How to Grow Old Gracefully...NOTbyTara_Neale©
When you were fifteen, did you spend much time thinking about what life would be like at thirty? In your twenties, did you pine away hours thinking about life at forty and your first grey hair? Even in our thirties, age seemed such an arbitrary thing; there was plenty of time left. But hit your forties and those first aches and pains of aging come at you with full gusto. Life no longer seems infinite.
So how do people like Madonna, Cher and Tina Turner remain active and beautiful well past their 'middle age?' I know the cynics among us will point to plastic surgery and drugs, but I believe that the answer lies far deeper...within our very souls. This is my plan to make the next forty-five years even better than the first.
1) Be true to yourself. The most amazing thing about this age is that by now most of us actually know who we are, what we believe in and what we want from life. Something that we lacked in our teens, twenties and perhaps even thirties. That alone is almost worth the pain of plantar fasciitis when we first step out of bed each morning. But I think that this presents a new challenge for the latter half of our lives...being true to that person. Just because we have reached this monumental milestone of the big four-zero does not mean that we are now immune to peer pressure, except as adults we call it...fitting in. It is the drive to have more stuff than our friends; the latest techno gadget, the hippest new fashion, the biggest television or the fastest car. This need to 'fit-in' though can be at war with deeper callings within us to be true to ourselves.
2) Remain active. Yes, I know...deeply and personally...that those aches and pains of sore muscles after a good work-out seem worse and take longer to fade, but studies show that those who remain physically active throughout their lives live longer and happier. Even things as simple as walking to the store instead of climbing into your car can make a difference to your health. Or perhaps invest in a bicycle if the store is too far to walk.
3) Keep your mind active. As children and teens we were forced to study and learn. In our twenties, we went to college to prepare for jobs and this thing we call life. But now we have the unique opportunity to learn simply because we want to. Because we enjoy something. For me, it is writing. And we are lucky too, with the advent of the Information Age, there are thousands of things on offer at the touch of our fingertips. Want to brush up on your French that you took in school? Want to learn to cook like a chef? How about re-building the engine of that 1965 Ford Mustang you always wanted? All of this and more can be learned in the comfort of your own home.
4) Invest your time. Don't spend it. Like money, time is a valuable commodity. Today's millionaires know if you spend your money on the latest fashions, they will be out of style by next season. But if you invest your money then it will grow. So too with our time. If we spend it sitting on the couch watching television, we will get fat and lazy. But if we spend it doing the things most important to us, each moment takes on deeper meaning and purpose. Whether it is time spent with family and friends, volunteering with our church or community or enjoying Mother Nature, time well invested has huge returns.
5) Don't forget to really live. So often our lives run on auto-pilot. We wake up and go to work. We give our best to the job then come home tired and grumpy. We overlook the most important things and people in our lives. Even vacations are about where we went and what we did, not spending time relaxing with those we care about. Part of this, of course, is realizing that we are still sexual beings. Perhaps that is where Cher and Tina get their energy even more than their surgeons, the knowledge that they still have that 'mojo.' Maybe just maybe like fine wine...it only gets better with age?
So if you find yourself sitting one day and wondering 'where has all those years gone,' take a moment to consider this...perhaps the reason why the past four decades seemed to go so fast is that we rushed right through them. Why not take the time to really enjoy and appreciate each moment of the next four decades? And if you need some hair dye to cover the grey, a gym membership to fight the effects of gravity or even a magic scalpel, it's your life. Go live it!