Growing old, at least in the number of years we’ve been on this planet, is something that happens to everyone.
But that doesn’t mean we’re prepared for the experience. After all, in our formative years it seems as though everyone who’s too old to be at school is basically ancient.
And even as we begin to grow old, in our mind’s eye we’re still youthful. Even if we aren’t as fast as we were and need props such as glasses and maybe even a walking stick or other mobility aid to help us live our lives.
But unless you’re a rock star then the time comes that you need to accept old age, preferably at least kind-of gracefully.
Take pride in your appearance
Movie stars do this all the time.
It may sound sexist but men seem to be able to get away with growing older better than women although there are exceptions like the actress Judi Dench.
Whilst most of us aren’t movie stars, it doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two from them.
For some, that could mean things like Botox to iron out the wrinkles or coloring your hair to hide the increasing whiteness that’s taking over. Always assuming that your hair is still on your head in reasonable quantities – it’s useful that shaved heads seem to be making a comeback, so even if you’re suffering from male pattern baldness that isn’t necessarily a reason to be upset.
Your appearance can be critical.
It’s unlikely that us oldies will be able to wear the same fashions as teenagers, even though “retro” can be a fashion statement.
So forget the expensive, highly colored, shoes.
But maybe include some loud socks – they can make a statement on your behalf and are reasonably acceptable at all ages.
If you’ve got hair, look after it. For most people, the mad professor look really doesn’t help yet is seems like hair often has a tendency to get wilder as we age.
Your wardrobe is an important factor in your appearance.
Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean that you have to settle for the designs that your grandparents wore when they were sitting on the porch, gently rocking themselves to sleep.
Equally it probably shouldn’t mean that you wear the same style clothes you wore as a teenager (I’m assuming that most of those are either discarded or have shrunk since you last wore them). There’s a reason that flares are no longer seen.
Understated often works better than anything else – you can choose things like glasses and shoes to complement your style and maybe even highlight the features that you’ve gradually acquired over time.
Accept that things change – otherwise our phones would still be hard wired to the wall and there’d be an awful lot less television channels with nothing to watch than there are available.
One of the tricks of growing old gracefully is to accept those changes. They’re inevitable and you can’t turn back the clock and re-live your life, no matter how much you’d like to.
Accept what’s happening.
Don’t mutter under your breath too often about how things were better when you were a youngster or how things have changed beyond all recognition.
Chill out a bit – relaxing is something you should be able to enjoy more as the years tick past.
Learn how to relax in your old age
Stress is a killer. No easy way of saying that.
Whilst we need some stress in our lives, the level shouldn’t be so high that it sends your blood pressure through the roof or pushes you to explode with rage at the slightest provocation. Grumpy old men might have been a comedy but that doesn’t mean its title was wrong.
There are various ways to help you relax – they’re the same whether you’re a youngster or someone who’s older than they ever expected to be. Or any age inbetween.
- Meditation is simple and most types don’t involve much more than sitting down and being at peace with the world. Preferably without unintentionally falling asleep but that happens and it’s OK.
- Swimming or walking or another fairly gentle form of aerobic exercise can be an easy way of relaxing and cutting stress. If you’ve got a few like minded friends then you could maybe take up something like golf that gives you an excuse for a long walk, always assuming you don’t go down the route of buying a golf cart.
- Turn off the news. News is almost always negative and that doesn’t help you to relax. Worrying about the problems being experienced by people you’ve never met in parts of the globe you’ve never visited just isn’t a productive use of your old age. Let’s face it, no-one has ever listened to your opinion about what’s happening in the news and they’re not going to start now just because you’re a senior citizen (or silver haired if you want to use one of those trendy modern terms instead)
- Play with the grandchildren. Depending on how old your grandchildren are, they may or may not be happy to do this. There’s an age range where they’re grateful for the attention and then there’s an age range where you’re just far to geriatric and it’s not cool for them to even be in the same house as you let alone spend any time with you. But if you’ve got some younger kids that you can interact with, that can be a good way to chill out. Even if you get compared to Grandpa Pig every now and then.
- Start a new hobby. It’s rarely too late to start a hobby. OK, downhill mountain biking might be a bit too much but even then there are different difficulty levels for the trails. And since the oldest skydiver in the world managed it at age 101 then there’s chance for you yet!
Just because the candles on your cake are starting to need their own fire truck on standby doesn’t mean that you have to stress about it.
Find a way that helps you to chill, relax and actually enjoy your senior years.
It’s different for different people but everyone has something that helps them to de-stress at least once in a while.
Just remember that you’re not as young as you used to be, so those nights out on the town drinking until the early hours may not be such a good idea.
Adjust your attitude
Your outlook on life can have a major effect on things.
It’s not just some new age law of attraction BS (even though I personally don’t think it is BS).
You’ll know from the people that you’ve met over the years that some are walking round with their own personal thunderstorm stalking them and who see the glass half empty viewpoint on absolutely everything – they’d even deny that a full glass was full.
They’re the miserable ones who are doomed to keeping their own company and hate every minute of it. No-one else can stand them and their ex-friends are constantly looking for an excuse to avoid them, crossing the street literally or metaphorically.
Then there are the people you’d go out of your way to meet up with – any excuse will do, they’re just nice friendly people to be with and they always lift the room when they get there, sometimes (with expectation levels) even before then.
Now if your attitude has been sub-par for as long as you can remember, it could be a tall order now that you’re getting along in years. That saying about old dogs and new tricks holds true to an extent.
But it’s not impossible to change your attitude for the better and the weird thing is that reflects on other people which turns into a virtuous circle.
- Start with a smile. Even if it’s forced. Smiling is infectious and if you smile when you’re in a shop, fumbling for your change or muttering about how much cheaper things were when you were a lad or lass then even a knowing smile (so the other person knows you know what you’re doing even if you can’t really help it) can make the world of difference.
- Be polite. There’s nothing to say that we have to get ruder as we get older but it is a label that gets pinned on us oldies, sometimes with good reason. Remember your manners – you’re probably old enough to have been taught them after all – and say those simple words “please” and “thankyou” more often. This small change in your attitude makes a big difference about how other people react.
- Reduce your negative thoughts. Yes, we all have them. That’s one of the reasons to cut down on your diet of rolling news. And, no, you probably won’t eliminate them altogether. But even cutting down their frequency will help. Like breeds like. One simple trick is to wrap a rubber band around your wrist and flick it when you catch yourself thinking a negative thought. The short snap of mild pain is a good trigger – stimulus response doesn’t just work on hungry dogs and if come to associate that short twinge with negative thinking then you’ll likely cut down on your staple of less than positive thoughts. Like those other things that have sneaked into your life over the years, almost without you noticing, doing this can help them to undo themselves.
- Look on the bright side more often. OK, it wouldn’t be easy if you were like the Monty Python sketch but hopefully you have some things to be cheerful about – concentrate on those more often. Consciously at first, then gradually they’ll become more a part of who you are again.
- Curb your temper. Yes, we all seem to lose our temper more often as the years pass by. Whether it’s electronic gadgets that are pensioner proof (even if your 2 year old grandchild has no problem running permanent clips from YouTube) or things like keys that have a habit of not staying where you’re certain you left them or anything else that conspires against you. You could blame it on old age but don’t take out your frustrations on the people around you. Instead, do your best to get them to sympathize with you and help you out of your predicament.
Travel in your old age
If you’re still at the age where you can take trips without having a detailed map of every possible toilet break, take some trips.
Go to all those places you always wanted to visit. And do it while you still can.
There are plenty of hotels that have lifts or ground floor rooms or even rooms with disabled facilities, so that’s not a valid excuse.
Getting to them is do-able.
If you’re still able to drive safely then that’s an obvious option.
If not, there are ways of doing things.
Travel companies have realized that the senior market can and will spend money.
Which means that there are now the older generation’s versions of 18-30 holidays available. Although whether you want to spend your vacation cooped up with a bunch of other oldies is another matter – I’m not quite sure how other old people always seem to be much older than their years but it’s the case too often to be a coincidence.
Unless the holiday package is deliberately aimed at youngsters – spending Spring Break in Cancun, that kind of thing – then there’s a good chance that you can book a place. Just make sure that your insurance covers you because, like it or not, older people like us aren’t quite as resilient as those with less years on the clock.
The plus point with being a senior on some tours is that the tour guide (who, much like a policeman, gets younger every time you look) may turn to you for extra facts or information. If that happens, revel in the attention but don’t overstay your welcome by rambling on with a 30 minute answer when they were really only looking for a soundbite.
Travelling is also a good excuse to relax. You’re never too old to chill on a beach and there aren’t usually any mirrors to remind you that you’re not quite as beach ready as you were a few years ago.
Or you may prefer to take in the scenery – coach tours can work OK for that so long as the schedule isn’t too long and the company is friendly enough.
The thing is, you need to do it while you can.
There are never any guarantees about the availability of tomorrow. And, by definition, the number of potential tomorrows is an ever decreasing value.
So go on, treat yourself and do those things on your bucket list while you still can. And if the kids will moan about getting less inheritance, either shrug it off or let them tag along as well. But don’t use that as an excuse not to enjoy yourself as you get older.
Look after your health as you get older
Yes, I know you probably rattle from the number of pills you’re taking because your doctor thought they were a good idea.
But that doesn’t mean you can ignore your health just because you’re getting older.
Obviously don’t put yourself in danger – which might mean that the more strenuous forms of exercise are no-go – but there are always things you can do.
If you find it difficult to move very far then the Feldenkrais Method is worth investigating.
But hopefully you can still get around reasonably well. In which case make sure you keep in practice – keep a journal if need be but don’t let your age stop you from doing those little things that (combined) have a large effect.
Some of your habits may usefully need looking at.
- If you still smoke, think about whether you should cut down or stop altogether. And, yes, I know there are stories of chain smokers who lived for what seemed like forever. But that doesn’t mean you will – you’re old enough to know that smoking is no longer socially acceptable and that near enough all the studies show it’s harmful. If you need to cut down, talk to a teenager about vaping (they’ll know what you mean) and see whether that would help you cut back on your nicotine addiction.
- Likewise drinking is something to keep on top of. Sure, the hard drinking actors of yester year got away with it. But raising your glass too often is not necessarily a good idea. That doesn’t mean you have to give up alcohol altogether but moderating your drinking is a good idea to help your kidneys and the rest of your body cope better.
- Think about your food. I don’t mean the faddy diets here. There’s a fair amount of research that says the “unhealthy” foods like a fried breakfast or red meat are actually OK for us. Steer clear of anything your grandparents wouldn’t have used and you’ll have a pretty good diet that’s enjoyable to eat.
- Don’t be so proud that you don’t call your doctor if necessary. It’s easy to think that calling your doctor is a waste of time – it’s only a minor problem. With luck, that’s the case. But this is one of those better-safe-than-sorry instances where getting that minor irritation checked out could stop it turning into a major irritation. Sure, there may be some charges involved but if it means you’re not going to be bed-ridden then it’s worth it.
- The same goes for getting your teeth checked regularly. I’ve never met anyone who enjoyed sitting in the dentist’s chair but that doesn’t mean that getting your teeth checked is something you can forget about as you grow older. Implants are expensive but don’t wobble anywhere near as much as dentures.
- Generally look after yourself. The bionic man is still a while away, even though you can get hips and knees and other bits of you replaced. But if you’re able to keep every part of your body that you were born with then that’s much better than going under the knife to have bits replaced.
Keep your mind alive
Your mind is probably the most important part of you.
And keeping it alive as we get older can be a challenge.
Forgetfulness creeps in – or maybe we just notice when we don’t remember things more often.
And if you’ve retired it can be easy to slip into a routine that doesn’t challenge your mind as much as your old job did.
That comes back to having a hobby – something to keep you occupied rather than being bored.
The hobby can be near enough anything. There are books on lots of things and, despite the title, the Dummies series is often quite well written.
Or you could turn to YouTube for instructional videos on everything short of open heart surgery, which probably shouldn’t be your career choice at this stage of life anyway (sorry!)
You can play mind challenging games online. Gone are the days when it was just the option of Solitaire. Now there are more games than you’ve ever heard of, often playable for free if you can put up with adverts.
And they don’t have to be just you versus the computer although there are plenty of sites which will happily generate as many crosswords or word searches or Sudoku as you’re ever likely to complete in this lifetime.
Multiplayer games aren’t just for youths to kill each other in a virtual environment. You can play Scrabble, Monopoly, card games – not just poker but games like Canasta or Bridge – and lots of other games that you may or may not have heard of with people you’ll probably never meet in real life.
Books are everywhere – you can borrow them for your Kindle if you’re prepared to pay for Amazon’s Prime service.
Movies and documentaries abound. They’re probably on one of those TV channels that you claim never has anything worth watching. Or watch them online. Or with that Amazon or Netflix subscription.
There’s no excuse for letting your mind get bored now that you’re getting older.
And actually you can still let your mind be the place where you escape to and don’t have to grow old as gracefully as other people expect you to.
It’s your imagination and you’ve got more memories and experiences to draw on, so give it some scope and let your imagination work its magic.
Use hypnosis to help you accept getting older
Changing how our minds work isn’t always as easy as it should be.
Hypnosis is a simple and highly effective way to change how your mind thinks without you having to do much towards the process.
You’ve always been able to be hypnotized – if you’ve ever day dreamed or gone on a journey where you can’t remember much apart from setting out on your trip and arriving at your destination, you’ve hypnotized yourself.
The only difference with using a hypnosis download is that it’s more intentional.
The hypnosis tracks will work with your mind (even if it’s in a stubborn mood) to change your outlook on life and help you to grow old gracefully and have some fun into the bargain if your mind’s in a good mood.
You don’t have to book a visit to your local hypnotist either.
Like almost everything else nowadays, it’s readily available online in exchange for a very small amount of money.
The handful of dollars it costs will be more than repaid by the improvements in the way you handle this inevitable “getting old” thing.
Even if you’re skeptical.
Even if you’re more forgetful than you used to be.
Regardless of how short or long your attention span and patience are.
It’s just plain easy.
All you’ve got to do is click this link and follow the simple instructions.