“The fear of becoming old is born of the recognition that one is not living now the life that one wishes. It is equivalent to a sense of abusing the present.”
Susan Sontag, Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963
“Ageing is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Betty Friedan
Living well in our older years is a transition. It’s a different way of living. We can’t do what we used to do. We don’t want to do what we used to do. We look different to our younger selves. We have different views and interests. We have different roles in society. We care about different things.
We AGE. Chasing youth is a futile pursuit. Being present in our ageing and exploring its shape and boundaries are the opportunities we are given. Living well is part of this process.
Many of us have spent time and money perhaps exploring who we are, our careers, our relationships and we have built empathy, understanding, some wisdom and insight. We arrive in our 50’s and beyond with a different body, different responsibilities and the hopes and dreams of an older self.
So how do we explore this new territory of ageing and make it ours? Our unique tailored, individual response to a natural process of becoming older?
Over the next few weeks we’ll take a look at 5 different aspects of living well in our older years. I call them the 5 B’s. These are
Be Curious – maintain your inquisitive, questioning way of engaging with the world. Seek out the new. Learn. Think differently. Be agile in your decision making. Don’t walk past opportunities to engage with others. Search and research. Don’t accept the obvious? Change worn out habits.
Be Connected- look for new tribes and friendships. Five connections a day is said to be the minimum no of interactions to maintain healthy social connections. We know good mental health is linked to belonging. Finding new friends, having different interests and searching out people who might be different to you are all ways of connecting for growth.
Be Moderate- Ok yawn boring! But in a world of fad diets, competing ideas on what’s good for you, gimmicky exercise regimes and diseases linked to obesity. ..Go back to basics. Look at the tea cups of our previous generation. Look at the size of the plates! Think moderate. Eat and drink moderately.
Be Still- we have earned the right to have some quiet time. To be alone with our thoughts, not checking our phones, not running the to-do list through our minds. Stillness can be meditation or it can be quiet times looking at the garden or listening to music. Stillness feeds the soul and our energy reserves. It quiets the monkey brain and gives us the opportunity to examine our thinking.
Be Active – the ying and yang- stillness AND activity. Moving is so good for so many reasons. Whether is physical or mental health and a feeling of vitality? Our bodies are made to move. Walking, gardening, stretching and a million different activities are available to us to make us active.
There’s nothing new here. Pick up any magazine and it will give you similar messages. The bit they don’t tell you is HOW to do these things when they aren’t part of your daily habits. We are habitual creatures. How do we change mindsets and behaviours that we have well practiced over 50 or 70 years or more?
This is where Life Coaching comes in. It’s not a mystical process. You don’t need Lycra or expensive programs. Over the next 3 weeks, every Tuesday and Thursday we’ll take one of these B’s and you’ll have a free guide to how to make these habits a part of your life. This is one of the VIVA70 Life Coaching programs we’ll bring to you every few months.
We’d love to learn from you how you are shaping your life in your older age. Do these 5 B’s resonate? What works for you? Please share your ideas in the Comments box below.