Are you scared of turning 60? Or 70? Or whatever age you’re about to be?
We get a number in our heads and we start worrying…what will life be like, what will I look like, and how much longer do I have…and most of the time, these fears are based on advertising, old movies, or mean old people we knew when we were children.
That crabby lady down the street who never handed out Halloween candy. The old man who seemed to get so old so fast. Our third-grade math teacher who never smiled. When we were about 10 years old, they seemed to be 100. But of course, they weren’t.
They were just older. And since it was probably 50+ years ago when we knew them, they were older in a different time. A time when there weren’t yoga classes for people over 70. Or strength training opportunities for anyone past 80. Or well-designed communities for people over 55 with everything from an indoor pool to a pub to a non-stop calendar of events.
So, whether it’s true or not, it seems like people “back then” aged faster. They certainly didn’t have all the health and nutrition advantages we do now. Many of them probably did physical labor for so many years it took its toll. Health conditions that are quite treatable today weren’t then. People sat outside and worshipped the sun without realizing the dangers, so there a whole lot more wrinkles to rock.
Today, some say 50 is the new 40, 60 is the new 50, and so on. Maybe just say 60 is the new 60! Maybe don’t worry about the number; but do have a good understanding of the physical changes that occur as we age and how we can enjoy life more than ever.
There are some physical changes to be aware of as we get older…startsat60.com lists a few:
- Our taste buds are not quite as sharp.
- Body odor changes.
- Always loved sweets? You might find yourself with stronger cravings for salty, or vice versa.
- Feeling stiff and sore in the morning is common as we age.
- Wonder why you always seem to have a bruise? Your skin is thinner so a slight bump can leave a mark.
- Feel achy? If you’ve had bad posture or have been inactive for years, it’s going to show.
- Dry skin. Drink more water and use lotions.
- Bladder problems can occur.
- You might forget things more often.
Is it all bad news? NO! While it’s a good idea to understand that these changes are normal, it’s even more important to know you can do quite a lot to level the playing field.
Here’s some thoughts from Mayo Clinic about healthy aging:
- Every day, do something physical. Walk, swim, do chair aerobics…it will help you maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure and feel better in general.
- Don’t smoke. Eat a healthy diet. And get enough sleep.
- Bones weaken as we age. So, get enough calcium, vitamin D and watch your alcohol intake. And join a gym for some strength training—you are never too old to build muscle.
- Stay social. Find reasons to get out and meet people, stay in touch with friends, have the family over. Social interaction wards off depression and stress, which can contribute to memory loss.
- Exercise your mind by always learning something new…a foreign language, a new way to drive to the store, or a complex puzzle to solve.
The GREAT news about turning older.
Remember when you were 39 and you thought 40 meant it was all over?
Or turning 50 and thinking everything was going to stop?
Well chances are it didn’t….you look back now and laugh, thinking how young you were then, and if “I’d only known” then I wouldn’t have worried. It’s the same now. Find someone 10 years older and they will urge you to get up, get active and enjoy life with all the gusto you can.
Because being afraid of what might come isn’t going to help.
Being proactive in making “now” better just might.
- You can sit in front of the TV all day. Or you can go to the park and walk by a lake.
- You can never learn another thing. Or you can take an adult education class and learn all about something you never even considered, make new friends, and expand your world.
- You can eat the same food every day. Or you can go online and find new recipes and try them out on your friends.
- You can look at old photos and cry. Or you can become a docent at a local history museum and interact with interested people all day.
- You can decide no one cares anymore. Or you can connect with a volunteer agency in your town and start helping the truly needy and forgotten.
Life really is what you make it. And you have the wisdom, experience and talent to make it spectacular. Or at least, more interesting than you thought possible.
It’s your time. And it’s your choice.
Sit and stew…or rock that wrinkle?
None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
Henry David Thoreau