Welcome to Retirement: Embracing Aging
Getting older presents itself in a variety of ways — emotionally, physically, mentally. Whether you like it or not, the dull pulse of the second hand catches up with us all, eventually.
It’s a difficult concept for our feeble human brains to process. High school felt like yesterday and college was just a few moments ago. Existential crises aside, growing old is inevitable, challenging, and most importantly, a matter of perspective.
That’s right. Positive or negative, how you react to the slow creep of father time determines if it’s good or bad. If you choose to complain about it, forget about it, or let it halt your ambition, growing old may get the best of you. However, should you choose to embrace this natural progression, the possibilities are endless.
Today on Healthversed, we explore the importance of a positive, healthy perspective on the aging process. We’ll look at the benefits, deconstruct the downsides and explore a few time-tested ways in which even you can embrace aging. Let’s go!
How Old is Old?
Age is just a number. You’re only as old as you feel, yadda-yadda. The truth is, and you’re not going to like this, that once you hit 38, you’re unofficially considered old. Though you may be over a decade away from your seniors’ discount, your body begins to show its wear and tear at around 38. That’s not to say that anyone over the age of 38 should reserve their spot at the local community center’s water aerobics class, yet.
Another old age benchmark is age of retirement. Though many work into their 70s, 65 is considered average. Sure, 65 can look a lot different than 38 (unless you’re Jack LaLanne), but it’s important to place your age on this spectrum before we move forward.
Why It Sucks
Let’s get this part out of the way immediately. Yes, the aging process is challenging. As you get older, your body doesn’t quite work like it used to. Pickle jars are harder to open, aches and pains begin to surface or intensify, new technologies and an ever-evolving cultural landscape can make you feel out of touch and obsolete, and your memory can get hazy. Not to mention the psychological challenges you may face along the way.
There’s more. Add to that the various adult obligations, financial restraints, and a decrease in independence and you’ve got a seemingly negative sum. It’s no secret. Getting old is tough. But hey, you never would have gotten this far in life if you weren’t tough too. So, take a breath, embrace the moment, and click that next button. Because from here on out, we’re only talking positives.
Why It’s Great
Now we’re talking. Turning 60 may come with its challenges, but also, pretty much everything is cheaper. In North America, popular retailers offer anywhere from 15 to 20% off once per month to people over the age of 60.
In most countries, movie tickets become cheaper, restaurants often charge less, public transportation is offered at a reduced price, you’ll enjoy more free services from local banks, and so much more. See? Getting old isn’t all that bad. And what’s more, taking advantage of these exclusive seniors’ discounts can make growing old feel like a well-earned privilege.
One of the great perks to growing old is the ability to sit back and appreciate your hard-earned stability. You’ve worked hard to get where you are today. And as such, life has settled down. Either you’ve established your place in the day-to-day rat race or you’ve removed yourself from the race entirely.
The older you get, the further removed you’ve become from the most difficult aspects of your life. Home ownership, job interviews, school, romantic insecurity — they’re all behind you. Now, we’re not saying that you can’t drop your daily routines and try something new, but as you age your foundation is often more secure. Which results in a lot less stress.
Why It’s Great
You’ve lived and boy, have you ever learned. Your life experiences have provided you with a wealth of practical knowledge. You understand the world better, you understand yourself better, and you’re better at making decisions.
Why? Well, your experience and brain chemistry result in a more logical (and less emotional) approach to decision making. We bet you’ve noticed that you’ve become more confidant in your decision making as you’ve aged. It’s science, and it’s on your side.
One word: freedom. Freedom to do whatever you want, work wherever you please, and travel wherever you want are all aspects of life that those younger than you can’t as easily enjoy. Family, work, and housing obligations keep most young people locked in and locked down for years.
You, however, have already paid your dues. The kids are out of the house, the house is (almost) paid off, and your career is winding down. The older you get, the more independent you truly are. Not only do your daily responsibilities decrease dramatically, but you have access to more resources than you did when you were younger. It’s a recipe for adventure. All you need to do is embrace it and move forward.
How it Can Be Better
See, getting older isn’t bad. It’s awesome! But, as with anything, it can always be improved. As we discussed earlier, old age causes the body to slowly break down. Your reaction time slows, your muscles lose strength, and aches and pains slowly creep in. No sweat though. Because exercise is the perfect counterbalance.
Yoga, walking, and a moderate weight training regimen can work wonders to preserve your mobility and strength as you get older. The older you get the more important physical activity becomes. Find a physical activity that you enjoy doing, keep doing it, and enjoy the positive benefits. Not only will you help stave off common aging maladies like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, but it’ll also help your mental health too!
Less time working and stressing out means a lot more time for activities. Getting older means that you should have more time to pick up new hobbies or strengthen old ones. Don’t just sit around watching re-runs — use the extra time to get out and explore the world.
Watch more movies, read more books, go to more live concerts, or join a local meet-up group that interests you. Just because you have more time doesn’t mean that things will magically fall into place. Take some initiative, pack your days full of your favorite activities, or discover new favorites. The world is your oyster.
It’s no secret that maintaining strong relationships gets more difficult as you age. Friends and family get busy and may not be as available as they used to be. Relationships take more work as you get older.
What does that mean? It means that you need to pull up your socks and get to work! Be available for family members, integrate yourself in the local community to make some new friends, and, most importantly, pick up the phone and call the people that you love!
These days, calling someone out of the blue is a bit taboo, but that’s only because nobody does it anymore. Call the ones that you love whenever you want. Another benefit of growing old? They can’t hang up on you without feeling awful about it.
Why You Should Embrace It
You’ve accepted that you’re getting older, you understand the drawbacks, you know why it’s awesome and you know how to make it even more awesome. So, why embrace old age?
Embrace old age because the alternative is much worse. Embrace old age because you’re still alive. Embrace old age because the world is vast, and mysterious, and exciting. Embrace old age because life is short, fragile, and fleeting. And, most importantly, embrace old age because once you do, you’ll be much happier.