By Duane Hewitt
The thought of aging might be distressing but we needn’t equate aging with a slow demise to death. So many of the things we fear about aging have become almost clichéd, but there are things we can do to age well.
Keeping our minds active: No matter what we have learned and done throughout our lifetimes, keeping our minds active as we age is the key to wellbeing and happiness in all other areas of our lives. Therefore, take on new interests for enjoyment but also to challenge yourself. If you’ve never been mathematically inclined, now may be a good time to get into arithmetic in a big way. Practice mentally. The same goes for music. Even for skilled musicians, perhaps now is good time to learn a new instrument. As with practicing mathematical equations in your mind, practice developing your inner ear. Next, find some new topic to study and become something of an expert at it. The options here are endless. Study science, art, history, or whatever intrigues you. Whatever you do, find ways to keep your mind busy.
Accepting change and loss: It stands to reason that the longer we live, the more we will witness change and the more we will stand to lose. We are likely to lose people in our lives, lose money and income, and even lose a way of life. Whatever it is we’ve lost is likely to hone our coping skills. For example, losing a loved one might leave a gaping hole in our lives that we feel we cannot mend – but we must find a way to accept, cope, and move on. The same applies to loss of a job, career, home, money, and so on. We must find ways to be resilient. Much of this means being prepared to change our circumstances as well as ourselves. Often enough, it’s a matter of finding what can replace that loss. Keep in mind that as human beings, we are very capable of adaptation and resilience.
The physical: There needn’t be a dwindling of physical health and vigor. Here too, the human body can become strong and health can be improved over the years. Get involved in physical activities that appeal to you physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are many activities that we can begin late in life. Walking, running, hiking, strength training, cycling, swimming, golfing, dancing… its worth pursuing.
Diet: So many of us have had reckless diets in our younger years, but it’s never too late to learn about good dietary practices. Besides, as we age and as our habits change, we should be prepared to change our diet, as well. Food is a great topic and it can be a great source of health and joy!
Connecting with others: We need people in our life. If you’re fortunate to have good family and friends, count your blessings. But we can still get involved in our communities. New friendships and relationships are out there waiting for us. We simply need to look and make the effort to connect.
Keeping curiosity and laughter alive: Always find things to smile and laugh about, because laughter does wonders for mind and body – and this applies to any age. As well, keep that active mind of yours curious and open to new things. From the mind stems initiative, will, decision making, and so much more. If you want a healthy body and healthy life, you’ll need a healthy mind.
Much of the total approach to aging well is learning about the new ways to care for self and to be aware of our changing physical, mental, and emotional requirements. We can always find new ways to care for and improve ourselves, and this goes for any age. Certainly, the topic of aging well can be as involved and intricate, or as simple and to the point, as any one individual.
Copyright 2021 Duane Hewitt. All rights reserved.