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Growing old gracefully.

Updated on July 18, 2013

Is old age all in the mind?

I've just read through the list of subjects on Hubpages for Ageing and Longevity and it’s made me cross. It reads like a doctor's schedule, it's just a list of ailments. There’s absolutely nothing upbeat about it.

So in an attempt to self-medicate, I've just fixed myself a gin and tonic to avoid terminal depression. It's definitely working, but there is something that works even better... positivity. You know, glass half-full stuff.

And as my glass is now only half-full I better go and fill it up again. Just let me know if I start rambling.

Old age is no place for cissies, as they say.

We all know old age has a down-side, quite apart from the ultimate prospect of dropping off the twig that is.

You’ve got to rock back and forwards a few times to get up the momentum to propel yourself out of low chairs, you may go to the bathroom more, usually, and inconveniently, at night. There's that intermittent ache in your knees and of course, the old short term memory starts to forget what it is there for.

Campaign for justice.
Campaign for justice. | Source
Have a winter picnic.
Have a winter picnic. | Source
Try to retain a playful outlook on life.
Try to retain a playful outlook on life. | Source
Keep using your brain.
Keep using your brain. | Source

Self-pity is optional.

But having said that no-one said you had to wallow about and indulge yourself in your old age infirmities. Self-pity is optional and if you allow it to have free rein you may just end up making yourself seem even older.

Not to mention lonelier as younger family members dread, and often avoid, visiting you because you constantly regale them with long and boring diatribes about your bowels not working or some such.

So, it’s time to give self-pity, and blow by blow accounts of your ailments, the boot.

A couple of positive positives.

Confidence: For sure there are positives to growing old and this is one of them. Old age usually means you have finally cranked up enough confidence not to give a rat’s behind what anyone thinks about how you look anymore.

This is definitely a blessing as not having your glasses on in a morning can sometimes make your choice of apparel a little er … ‘wayward’ ... shall we say, to be kind?

And whilst we are on about clothing, never let anyone ever tell you you are too old for jeans! Too fat maybe but never too old. I’m talking to all you one-time flower children, yes, all you old rockers out there ... we invented jeans. We gave them publicity, we put them on the map, jeans owe us big time!

Time: And for most of us who retire this is the time when you actually have the time to live. Time to do what you've always wanted to do.

It is never too late to write that novel, to sculpt or start the business you've always dreamed of, to run for local government, write inflammatory pamphlets and become a right nuisance campaigning or work as a charity volunteer.

The most important thing is to make yourself feel good about yourself and to make sure you get to the point where you wonder how you ever found the time to go to work.

Feeling fulfilled is one of the best medicines, one of the most effective antidotes, to the blues of old age I have ever seen that actually works.

The strange anomaly of pensioner’s time.

Although being retired should, on paper, mean we usually have more time it does seem to pass quicker. At this stage of our lives the laws of physics seem to have abandoned us and our minutes, hours and days seem to be shorter than anyone else’s. One day I’m sure someone will prove this.

Despite this it is always important to make time for your children, though without allowing them to guilt-trip you into becoming their doormat. You gave them their lives, it's up to them to make the best of the life you given them.

Even so, it must always be a given that we will be there for our kids when they are in crisis and being old and experienced means we should give freely of our knowledge if it is asked for. Note well the words ‘asked for’, anything else is just plain interfering and is usually vastly unwelcome.

At work in the studio ...
At work in the studio ... | Source

The definitive answer to ageing.

So the answer, all my fellow geriatrics out there, is to go for it, go all out for it … now, and quickly.

  • Work on changing your mindset for the better and it will help you forget the passing years.
  • Follow your dream and if you can't afford to follow it in all its present Technicolor format, pare it down to a more manageable size.
  • Be creative! If you always wanted to cruise the world and can't afford it, buy yourself a kayak and learn to use it.Then take it to the places around you that you can reach and explore them instead. You may even find you prefer it.

The clock is ticking. If you haven’t fulfilled your life’s dream already then it’s time to make your dream come to you, you cannot afford to sit back and just hope it turns up on your doorstep.

Remember, most of us are only aware of one life at a time so it's up to you to make sure that the one you are living now is a memorable one.

For more of my singular thoughts on old age see: The poignancy of ageing and What if middle-age spread is meant to be?


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