What age do we start thinking of ourselves as being old? I remember when in my teens, I thought 35 was going to be my middle-age. That thought quickly changed when upon reaching 35 it didn’t feel any different than 25.
Transitioning Through the Milestones
Fifty years of age then became that ominous mark of middle-age, but upon reaching that milestone I still felt pretty good and decided middle-age just might be an acceptable condition.
Soon 60 years of age came along and being a senior became the norm. My hair was gray, a few wrinkles started to show, and my body was starting to respond to gravity.
It’s simply unfair how nature plays this trick on us as we get older. For example, we are walking downtown feeling pretty good and suddenly we catch our reflection in the store window — wow is that me???
Our Self Image Changes • Sometimes Surprisingly!
Our life lived was one of the sacrifices for our children, family, and careers. No wonder the image reflected in the window shows the reality of the years. But, this isn’t something that warrants sadness on our part.
Instead, embrace those gray hairs and believe that every wrinkle is earned, and our body reflects years of work and giving to others. That makes being a senior an exciting adventure of accumulation of knowledge and life experiences.
The image in our memory is one of how we look when we are 25 or 45 when suddenly this mature looking older person appears, then a revelation occurs. We are a new beautiful person.
The gray hair, the slightly stooped shoulders, the softness of our body is an accumulation of our lives – not something to hide. Rather, let’s be proud that we’re still contributing to a worthwhile life on this earth.
Exercise • Find What Works for You
As a non-athletic person, I used to walk as a necessity. A nice casual stroll to stop and smell the roses or to sit down on a nice comfortable looking bench when it presented itself was my version of walking for exercise. Friends gave up including me in their daily walks as power walking was not my style.
Moreover, I do not like wearing earplugs to listen to music while walking. Instead, I want to hear my surroundings such as the birds singing, dogs barking, the cars going by, but, most importantly someone trying to sneak up on me. In other words, I feel more comfortable when I am acutely aware of my surroundings rather than drowning it out with music.
I know, if I walked more I would be in better shape but it doesn’t feel comfortable to me. However, water aerobics is a wonderful exercise so if you don’t like walking, take to the water. It’s fun and stress-free on your body which makes a great overall exercise for seniors everywhere.
Ultimately, when it comes to exercise, it’s always best to explore your options and decide what works best for you.
Exercise for the Brain and Continual Learning
Throughout our entire life, it’s so important to keep one’s mind in a constant learning mode. Change is difficult for everyone. But, especially as we progress from middle-age to senior, it becomes more difficult to flow with the constant changes going on around us.
The rapid changes in new technology is a big one for most of us, however, if you stick to the basics such as an inexpensive smartphone and a good tablet or laptop, you’ll find it less overwhelming. Remember, something as ominous as new technology only needs to be taken in small bites at a time to be more palatable and workable in your life.
Additionally, find something new every day to put into your memory banks, no matter how small it seems. Challenge yourself to try new things that might feel a little uncomfortable at first. And remember, no one needs to rush into anything. At our age, we like to think things through and strive to make better decisions than when we were younger.
What’s more, all the experiences we have in our life creates a wealth of wisdom which we apply to our daily decisions and when we face new problems. Our brain is probably one of the most important muscles that we need to keep in training.
Keeping up on the basics of changing technology is important. Moreover, learning to embrace change enhances your life.
Recently my granddaughter asked me, “Grandma, how on earth did you do homework when you were in school and had no computer?” My answer, “Well, we looked up information in an encyclopedia, a dictionary, or went to the library.” Her response, “What is an encyclopedia?” Often, for the younger generations, the thought of being without their electronic devices is unimaginable to them!
Embrace the Process and the Changes
The process of aging is frustrating for even the most robust. When you transition from hearing the response that acknowledges you have grandchildren as “You don’t look like a grandma!” to the statement of “How many grandchildren do you have?”. OK! That’s when you know that milestone is past but that’s beautiful because being a grandma is such a very special blessing.
For myself, I get to lavish my grandchildren with love and hugs, have fun with them and then send them home with their parents. I find it very encouraging that our DNA continues to live on through time through our grandchildren. Generation after generation of our lifeline continues. Such a beautiful thought…
Embrace getting older as you transition from middle-age to senior. We are all going in that direction. So, keep a sense of humor, don’t judge others and understand that you are so important to YOU!
Quotes from Famous People about Aging
“And the beauty of a woman, with passing years, only grows.” — Audrey Hepburn
“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” — Betty Friedan
“Aging can be fun if you lay back and enjoy it.” — Clint Eastwood
“Aging has a wonderful beauty and we should have respect for that.” — Eartha Kitt
Have a great day! Lela signing off!
Guest Author: Lela Taylor
Suggested Reading about Aging