You are as old as you feel. That may be true but everything around us (media, advertising, society) says younger is better. Well – the inevitability of ageing is there – regardless of our youthful presentation. Here are some tips that will help you keep a youthful perspective!
A question of definition
What is old? When I was in my twenties, I met my year one teacher. She was probably in her forties then. My memory of her when I was age 5, was that she was about 50. Accordingly, as I have progressed in life my definition of what is old, has continued to change as I have aged. So – what is old? It’s akin to that other question – how long is a piece of string?
Your outlook can make a difference. Self belief is important, and staying true to those beliefs and not letting others bring you down or discourage you is critical. Whether that be about your capabilities or your spirit, retaining belief in these goes a long way towards living them.
Diversify your friends
Having an array of friends that span the generations gives you the scope to appreciate diverse views. The ability to communicate with a range of people at all stages of life, means remaining flexible in your ability to build rapport with others. It helps you keep in touch with current ideas and share your own. If you like, it keeps you young – being able to put yourself in the shoes of those younger in years.
The quality of later life is in your hands. That means making good lifestyle choices . It is suggested that:
Choices about lifestyles and behaviors can influence the effects of so-called secondary ageing (Mele, 2017).
Secondary ageing refers to the consequences of disease and poor health practices that are often preventable, through lifestyle choices or modern medicine. Countering this means maintaining regular exercise, sleeping well and having good eating habits to maintain physical health, and benefit mental and cognitive health.
Embrace the positives
In later years, people are generally happier, less stressed and not as worried as in earlier times in their lives. There is an emotional stability and confidence that comes with experience. This paves the way for continued learning. It could be a deepening of knowledge and expertise or a broadening of knowledge in new areas of interest.
The flip-side is that there are aches and pains that accompany later years. There are physical limitations at this time – so football tackles and jarring exercise movements are less attractive. It is not a ban on all exercise though. There is more good than bad that comes with this maturity, and a matter of perspective in what we choose to embrace.
Reject ageist attitudes
There are many opportunities to reject ageist attitudes and prove others wrong. With improved health outcomes, people are likely to live longer, more productive lives. We don’t have to succumb to the idea that ageing means you become disconnected or a “fuddy duddy” about things. In fact, you can be somewhat outrageous – and surprise them all with your activities, mindset and achievements.
Ageist myths may create barriers if allowed to be perpetuated. Staying connected and pursuing meaningful, interesting lives but maintaining curiosity is key. There are opportunities with employers who recognise the contribution older workers bring to a work team and grand children who benefit from “with-it” grandparents!
A matter of perspective
Whatever be your age, your enjoyment of your life is largely dependent on you. Choose your own perspective rather than letting others do it for you.
Mele, Christopher. 2017. Feeling Older? Here’s How to Embrace It. The New York Times, 12 Sept 2017.