When you were a child, education was stressed to you as the jumping off point for your career. That education and the ensuing career would dictate much of what you got from life.
Quality aging requires that you embark on a new path in order to reap all of the rewards from aging that you can.
We will all get there: how you fare when you arrive is up to you.
By the time you are 45 years old, you should be getting a glimmer of what age has in store for you. Certainly it should be dawning on you that you will not have enough time to do everything in life. Therefore, you must do what is important. And aging gracefully needs to go to the top of your list!
Despite what the media, the cosmetics/fashion industry, the diet industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and now the cosmetic surgery medical establishment would have us believe, there are many gains as we age.
Gains as we age
A few of those gains are:
- Women may become more active, assertive, and work-oriented.
- Men may become more gentle, more submissive, less interested in power, and more interested in learning about intimacy and relationships.
- Age offers wisdom to many. The husband/wife authoring team, Joan and Erik Erikson wrote, “Lots of old people don’t get wise, but you don’t get wise unless you age.”
- Most lose their fear of death after middle age.
- Intellect and curiosity can increase with age.
- There is less stress and even less dissatisfaction for most people as they age.
Rules for graceful aging:
1. Develop and maintain a strong social support network of family, friends, and colleagues.
2. Develop a personal exercise program combining aerobics and weight work. Hire a personal trainer to get you started.
3. Take charge of your brain. Make an active commitment to learning and growth. According to research on lifespan development: IF you continue to use your brain and develop your intellect and IF you remain socially connected and active, you can actually increase your IQ scores as you age.
4. Take charge of your financial future. Plan, plan, and plan. If you are single, don’t count on getting married to finance your old age. You are on your own! If you are married, learn what is going on with your finances. If you are female, statistics say you will spend seven to fifteen years or more as a widow, depending upon the age difference between you and your husband. You will probably be on your own for a long time. Plan, plan, plan.
5. Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet. Learn to live on fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes as much as possible. Plan a few days a week that include no animal products, not even dairy.
6. Stay aware of the latest nutritional information.
7. Don’t fall for fad diets. When something sounds too good to be true such as The Atkins’ Diet, it usually is. When something sounds too good to be true and it is too complicated for you to comprehend easily, such as Sears’ Zone Diet, be doubly wary.
8. Remember that the pharmaceutical industry makes money from selling drugs. Read, study, and form your own opinions about taking cholesterol, blood pressure, estrogen and other “old-age” medicines. Very few long-term studies are available to show the results of these medicines. The industry does extensive advertising to the medical profession pushing these drugs. The industry also does excellent advertising and good PR work with the public in support of these drugs. Your doctor is not a genius. He/she can not possibly keep up with everything and most rely on the pharmaceutical industry for much of their information. It is your responsibility to read, study, and keep up with the truth for yourself.
9. Practice light to no drinking.
10. No smoking, no matter what.
11. Remain goal oriented. Regardless of your age, still set one, five, ten and twenty-year goals. Keep on growing!
12. Don’t become more conservative than ever. Age is an attitude. Conservative is an old, stuffy attitude that allows life to pass you by and makes you sound old and boring.
And if you are approaching retirement without the best retirement income in the world, take heart. There will be more and better work opportunities for older workers in the future.