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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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    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 6 years ago from TEXAS


    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hi Nellieanna ... I'm afraid I'm no wine expert ... I tend to go with anything that has an appellation controle (so its usually French) and is full bodied. I'm afraid I love a long gin and tonic (lots of ice/tonic and lemon or lime) and Pimms in summer (again with lots of lemonade).

      I have a lot of bad habits ... but it doesn't make life any less enjoyable and to ease my conscience I do try to be moderate ... but that wasn't always the case. :-/

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 6 years ago from TEXAS

      Yes, Angie -medications! hehe

      I love nuts, too, Ken. Being a Texan, I have to love pecans. Other healthy nuts work for me, too. They're packed with good stuff, at least the varieties which aren't laden with cholesterol-producing fats. Many have the "good" cholesterols, so one can enjoy them with a good conscience.

      Well, I like chocolate ONLY in its firm state (no chocolate flavored things - they taste so watered-down). I used to eat only Godiva chocolates, if any, but for years I avoided all that kind of thing, till the recent heath benefits of dark chocolate began to circulate.

      Growing up in my home, candy was quite rationed. I had to swat 100 flies at the ranch for ONE lemon drop! haha! Mother had no sense of smell, so the basic flavors were her mainstay, but she was also borderline diabetic and kept desserts simple. (She was a total teetotaler, too.) So I've never been big on sugary things and eat precious few sweets other than my regular big bowl of fresh fruit in the mornings after my hot lemonade and then steaming coffee. I am a life-long coffee addict, I admit it! Enjoy hot tea, as well. I'm a disgrace to Texas, though. I'm not wild about iced tea!

      I got into wine (or any alcohol) late in life - - in my 40s - -. I have a passion for good Riesling and for good White Zinfandel. George loved port and sherry, which I could enjoy occasionally, though a bit too sweet and strong for my taste. Occasionally I stumble across a red I like, but I'd rather go wine-less than drink many of them, since I don't really like severely brut wines, either. My experience is simply rather limited, since we seldom had any reds in the house except the ports and sherries George preferred. What is a good one? I'm thinking maybe a Pinot Noir? I guess I'm unsophisticated. I know some of what I don't prefer but not enough about what I might enjoy - for health's sake! ;-> Don't want it to be like Kool-Aid, but - - what, then? haha.

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Hello Saddlerider! Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment.

      I don't really eat a great deal of chocolate but I have to have one large fresh fairtrade coffee in a morning (to sharpen the mind and keep the Alzheimer's at bay) and I usually have a glass of red (full of anti-oxidents) for my heart (yeah, right) as I cook on an evening. These are the sort of medications of which I fully approve. :-)

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      That's one weakness I don't have is chocolate, however I admire those who have a fondness for it, I tend to lean towards nuts, maybe because I am one:0)) Kidding apart though yes the doctors are selling dark chocolate, coffee and red wine as the rave for living longer. These seem to be the newest medications being offered by the docs.

      I enjoy my organic free trade java most mornings and this Poet will not do without his red wine, I always have a few bottles at hand in my wine rack, when I sit to write I usually have a glass or two at the ready...Cheers and blessings to two fine ladies Angie and Nellieanna...hugs

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 6 years ago from TEXAS

      :-)) I should have added - the bite-size ones, not whole candy bars. haha In fact at one grocery store a stock clerk mentioned that one customer's doctor recommends the Dove small dark chocolates!

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Good for you, Nellieanna ... :-)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 6 years ago from TEXAS

      Yup - that is I. Lots of healthy habits help, too. Thank you!

      And moderate DARK chocolate is beneficial. I eat a couple of Dove or Hershey's dark ones most days. :-)

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Yo, Saddlerider1, thank you for joining Nellieanna and me and leaving such a positive comment.

      I am very much impressed by your credentials (my old man aka the husband) also played a lot of hockey up to his late fifties. We are both 62 like you and we are enjoying the freedom we have been given by retirement.

      I too am a great believer in the right food ... with only a minimum of the woman's friend - chocolate. Let's all keep one step ahead of physicians, eh?

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Nellieanna ... many thanks for your wise comment. Now let me have a close look at that photo ... that can't be you, surely? Nearing 80?! Wow! Now you are something to aspire to! I am incredibly impressed ... and will try to avoid all doctors from now on ... lol.


    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      I agree with Nellieanna, this poet is pushing 62 never sick a day in my life, no medications, eat right, exercised most of my life, played hockey, ran marathons and all round kept in shape. It's paying me dividends now as I enter my senior years. I feel productive and look forward unless God willing I am taken sooner, plan on achieving a few more things in my life. I to want to avoid DOCTORS and great write.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 6 years ago from TEXAS

      Amen! This near-octagenarian is all for LIVING it all, which is always my current project.

      I heard a 104-year old woman on a late-night talk show telling about her gold scores. The host asked her the secret of her abundant longevity. I really loved her reply: "Avoid doctors!' I buy into that, too!