Positive Approaches to Aging

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Here’s a question for our Friday musings: How can we positively approach aging?

Recently I met three older gentlemen and I have a few observations to share.

The first gentleman I met always has been a great reader of history and literature and has met many challenges head-on through the decades. Conversing with him was full of literary and historical allusions as we exchanged a few pleasantries.

The second man, also a great reader also, but in more limited areas, and now is content to remember his one great challenge in life and pursue new hobbies. Spending time together was a great time of remembering shared experiences and interesting little details about life today.

The third man also has been a great reader throughout his life. And, like the first gentleman, this third man has met and conquered challenges over and over, spent much time writing and reading books in a wide variety of areas. Conversation with him is lively and challenging across the whole spectrum of life and social and political commentary.

All three are within 10 years of each other, mid-80s to late 90s. They are all in different places physically. All three still have good minds and are surrounded by family members who support them as they continue to live in their own homes. Chatting with all three brought a few thoughts to my own mind—set me to thinking about my own aging.

What makes the difference in how people age? That has been a much-pondered question through the ages. Unless something catastrophic happens, most of us can expect to live much longer than our grandparents or even our parents lived. Improvements in diet and medicine have been two of the biggest contributors to our longevity. Someone told me recently that she had heard about the latest diet ideas of how to avoid dementia in old age—coffee, blueberries, pecans, were just a few of the diet suggestions. Doctors tell us to get shots for disease prevention, like singles or pneumonia. These advances help us live longer.

So, the question becomes what should we do with all these extra years denied to many people around the world and throughout history. That is what really matters, isn’t it? We don’t want the quality of our daily lives to deteriorate, but what is our benchmark? As children, we thought that if we could just be a few years older, we could do more. Then when after we have added those few years, we think that if we could just be younger, we could do more. We are just never totally satisfied.

The one aspect of a successful aging is a good attitude and connections with other people—not just focusing on ourselves and our problems—no matter how big they might seem. Those connections help us learn something new and add to the richness of our days. A great topic of conversation, of course, is our stories from times gone by, especially if we can relate those stories to events going on right now—either in the world or in our own little world of family and friends.

Cheery handpainted coffee cup

Even a special coffee cup can brighten up your day!

How can we foster a good attitude each day?

Here are just a few ideas:

1. Enjoy the unexpected today—maybe some sun in a week of rain or a song on the radio or even a seldom-used coffee cup.
2. Learn something new today—a new recipe or maybe a new activity.
3. Speak a positive—not a negative word—to another person. Perhaps a compliment or just thanking them for coming by today.
4. Be friendly to the other person, and not grouchy.
5. Realize that relationships are more important than possessions. We are remembered for how we treated others, not for what we possessed and hoarded.
6. Give to others more than you expect to get back, even if that is just a kind smile.
7. Exchange your stories with someone else, enjoying each other.

So, we must make the most of today. Get up and drink that cup of coffee and eat a handful of blueberries and whatever else you think might help you get through the day. Who can you share your story with today?

Remember: When you are ready to share your story, we are ready to help!

One Comment

  1. Janet
    Posted April 15, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I’m so glad I took time to catch up on your blog today, Mom. I love reading your thoughts and your beautiful writing.

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