As you sit in the hospital waiting room, waiting for the baby to be born, you think back to the day when you had your first child. Now, here you are, looking forward to your first great-grand child. It's amazing how time flies by, and looking back can leave you feeling old! But just because you've got several decades behind you doesn't mean you have to feel old. Here's how to stay young in mind and spirit.
- Keep age in perspective. Never think of age as being anything but just a number. There are some things in life we have no control over, such as when we were born. Age is no more than a circumstantial detail, like the color of your eyes, or the names of your parents; it does not define who you are. There are other things that do--those things we do have control over, such as how we think and what we do.
- Live and enjoy each day. There is always something positive or something to look forward to each day. Enjoy the sun shining on your plants, or movies you are going to see. Look forward to reading a good book, or meeting with friends for lunch. If you feel lonely, go to the library. It is a great place to meet and talk to people who have a similar interest. Surround yourself with people, even if you might never see them again. You can do this at a supermarket, or even a department store or coffee shop.
- Don't waste your time thinking that you're too old to do this or that. As long as you have your health, you can do just about anything you find an interest in doing. If you have never used a computer, buy one! Learn how to use it. If you find it interesting enough, learn how they work and how to fix problems or to program them! You will find you have brought the whole world into your room, and maybe some knowledge that will save you from spending money and make you feel younger. Just learn new things that you haven't learned before, don't worry if it's too "young," nothing is.
- Take care of your body. Take vitamins and eat healthy. Exercise at either a gym or at home. Dance to the music on a CD, as moving your body is great exercise. Get a full physical and visit your dentist at least once a year.
- The exercise aspect is vital. Our bodies need to move. They need to be used to their full range and ability every day. Tai Chi is a good form of movement that will provide this whole body activity but it's not for everyone. Explore physical activities to find one that you enjoy, makes you feel good after practicing, and that you can do every day. Hiking and swimming are also excellent options.
- Don't look back. Don't worry about what happened in the past. Live just for today. The one thing that no one can change is the past. What has been is over and done with. The future has not yet come, so all we have is today. So enjoy today, let the past go, and plan for the future.
- Keep your mind alert. Do crossword puzzles, learn a new language, or take up a hobby you were always too busy for. Exercise an Open Mind. Become a volunteer editor on a website like wikiHow or Wikipedia. By volunteering time to a wiki you will meet other contributors online and keep your writing ability sharp, while helping others receive free knowledge.
- Keep up with the news. By doing this, you always will be able to converse with most people. Be up to date on what is new in politics, fashion, and/or in computers. Learn about the new methods of treatments and the new drugs available so you can advise your family members, who might need the information.
- Find ways to interact. Even with no close friends or family around, there are many opportunities to talk to new people. Strike up a conversation with people you meet in the supermarket. Greet people you pass on the street, and ask them how they're doing. You'll be surprised at how refreshed offering a kind word to a stranger will make you feel.
- Be Optimistic. Try to avoid thinking negative thoughts as it will get you no place except sadness. For example, trying to figure out why a mate died and left you alone will only bring tears to your eyes. Instead, remember all the wonderful years you shared, and how you both brought such wonderful children into this world. Go out with a smile on your face, and enjoy the rest of your life as best as you can. There may even be a new mate on the horizon. You never know!
- Do something different every day. The local newspapers usually have a weekly schedule of activities. Find one that you would enjoy and go for it! Perhaps the museum or a flower show might tickle your fancy this week.
- Join a group, club, or volunteer at a library or senior center. Take dancing lessons. Ballroom dancing is back, and just think of how great you would feel dancing the Cha Cha once again, as you did in your youth. Go to bingo night at your local community center. Meet with like-minded people, and help those less fortunate than yourself. Most of all, have fun doing it.
- Follow your dream. Look at something you always wanted to do or did on the side and love doing, ask whether it can become a new career. Many great painters didn't start till their sixties, seventies or eighties. Retirement income can become starting capital for a new independent business. The arts are a good direction in many ways because retirement income can support you while you learn the trade but there's no age discrimination involved.
- Continue to do things you used to do -- biking, camping, swimming, dancing, or canoeing. You can still do them!
- The difference between a spry "oldster" and a non-spry "oldster" is phenomenal. Stay flexible and sprightly by walking 20 minutes a day and re-think that elevator. Stairs are a wonderful thing. So is yoga class.
- Select one character trait to work on for the year, for example, overcoming a short temper, becoming a better listener, etc.). Then, next year, when you look back, you'll feel really accomplished; you're not the same person!
- See your doctor at least once a year. If you don't, you may regret it. Preventive testings are available, but you can't get them if you do not visit your doctor for a check-up.
- Visit your dentist at least once a year, more often if needed. Gum disease and cavities can cause physical illnesses, so take care of your teeth, floss daily, brush twice a day, use a water pic for stronger gums. Every thing you do to make yourself healthier will add one more year of good health to your life.
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