We don’t all stay young forever. What the keys to being happy as we age? Here are a few.
This is a tough blog to write. I have probably seen about 50,000 patients in my career, of every age, every body type and every decade of age. 90 year olds who look 60. Sixty year-olds who look 90. I’ve seen smokers. Athletes. Stuntmen. Professional athletes. Nurses. Doctors. Miners. Hair stylists. You name it. I’ve watched people at every age. I’ve watched the built in obsolescence in action as they all slowly fade, rueing what was and what may be. It makes you a little philosophical guiding these patients to dealing with a machine that is wearing out and the following pearls I think are helpful for everyone. There are most things to consider but there things seem consistent.
“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” – Oscar Wilde
We all seem to learn this the hard way at every stage of life. If we push ourselves in our twenties in sports, get lots of injuries we pay in our 40s and 50s.
Look at everything we do- alcohol, eating, etc etc If we do too much of anything we pay for it. I see golfers who play 3 times a week at age 60 and want me to fix their back pain. I see elite runners who run hundreds of miles a week. We repair but we wear out. Oscar Wilde was right. Pick and activity, any activity but don’t over do it.
2. Accept Change- Nothing Stays The Same
Boy, I can’t tell you how many times I see 40 year-olds acting like 20-year olds physically etc etc. Our bodies are made to do different things as we age. We can’t all play 2 hours of tennis a day at 60 or chop logs for hours. I usually also say it it feels good or tastes good it’s generally bad! This dictum should be tattooed on our foreheads. The transient nature of all we do is how we should all live. We enter the world with nothing and leave with nothing.
3. Be Kind to Yourself
This is huge! I always pushed myself. Overachieve. 120%. Gave it my all and them some. There is a point however where it matters less. My saying as I age is be kind to myself. I saw this one and could not say it better than Anthony Hopkins. We should live like this:
4. Be Kind to Others
There is a satisfaction of giving without expecting anything back that cannot be matched. The giving does not have to be financial. It can be your attention, your time, a reference, a review. Helping someone around you who does not expect to be helped is probably one of the things that feeds the inner soul like nothing else. Kindness starts with yourself and then passes to others. Surround yourself with people you love and care about and stay away from those who give you grief.
Be a giver not a taker.
5. Enjoy the Little Things
The first thing I put on the cover of my blog was the following:
Think about it for a minute. Albert Einstein, arguably the most intelligent human that ever walked. Einstein lived in the scientific world yet his comments resonate to all those looking for more. We will talk more about this when we talk about religion. Stop and smell the flowers. Enjoy the little things. Everything really is a miracle if you think about it.
6 .Keep Active
This is huge. By active I mean the mind not just the body. Set goals. Books to read. Courses to do. Have goals. Do something physical at least 3 days a week.
Use it or lose it
Your muscles waste after 50. You will lose some cognition. Keep it all sharp and it will keep you in better stead.
For real. Your face, hands and feet. Your skin will thank you for it.
8. It’s all Temporary Anyway
I love this poem by Shelley. Focus on the last five lines. Even kings fade away.
Whatever we have, whatever we build in this life is temporary. We come into the world with nothing. We leave with nothing. The material goods pass to others. How we affected other people may linger. How we raise our children may be our own legacy. Realizing it’s all temporary and we should enjoy the ride is key. Enjoy the wisdom we gain with ageing:
A final video to enjoy. yes, it’s more about death than gracefully ageing and it would be better in our death talk but what can I say? Great video and the final destination, no matter how we live is the same!
I’m sure you can think of more. Please feel free to leave me a comment or a question and share if you like!