You wake up with the Rocky Horror Time Warp music playing in your head. What the @!#%? Where did that come from? What year did that movie come out? Oh yeah, 1975.
Memories flood your mind. Fun times. Sad occasions. Blush-worthy moments. It seems like it was just a couple of years ago you wore the crazy get-up every Friday night at the local movie house.
As you begin to roll out of bed, reality strikes. Cranky joints remind you that it was decades ago. Getting old does suck.
But does it have to? You still have choices, so you can give up and get old…or you can fight the good fight.
It might feel like you’re doing battle most days, but isn’t quality of life the better choice? You can choose to be a guerilla in the war on aging and outsmart the enemy with winning tactics.
1. Manage Your Mindset to Maintain Your Sanity
What’s your focus when you realize you’re getting older? Feeling regrets? Or are you looking forward to what comes next?
Looking backward is a slippery slope that can lead to negativity and depression. Instead, commit to yourself to be present today with hope for tomorrow.
Take a walk in nature and tap into your senses. Share your day with a friend and know you aren’t alone. Remind yourself that you are still you and always will be.
You’ve reached a point where you have more freedom than ever. Leverage that hard-earned status to your advantage.
2. Check-in with Yourself on a Regular Basis to Maintain Your Confidence
Does it seem like you’re living in slow motion at times? Younger people buzzing past like you’re standing still? Are celebrities unrecognizable?
Stop doubting yourself. Remind yourself of what you do know. It’s a lot. Take inventory. Record your value in a journal, so you can read it from time to time.
Stand proud and walk at your own pace. Those young whippersnappers can’t hold a candle to your life experiences and wisdom.
3. Keep Learning to Challenge Your Brainpower
Do you ever feel like you’re the dumbest person in the room? That your education is from the dark ages? It’s never too late to learn something new.
It’s good for your self-esteem, not to mention your brain cells. Take a class on a completely frivolous subject. Learn a new skill. Pick up a new or abandoned hobby.
Learning something new keeps your mind running like a well-oiled machine. Show off what you know about archeology. Brag about the native plants in your garden. You’ve got the right stuff!
4. Make Your Own Art to Fill the Joy Space
Do you think that creativity is for kids and artists? That art is only about drawing and painting? If so, you would be among the majority of people who are wrong.
Everyone is creative. Art wears many faces. Are you passionate about cooking? Create a new recipe. Do you sing in the shower? You don’t have to be Celine Dion to belt it out.
Tapping into whatever medium attracts you is a salve for the soul at any age. Try something new or resurrect a long-lost talent. Then let the joy unfold.
5. Know Your Limits and Adapt Without Shame
Do you sometimes struggle for words? Walk a little slower? Does the speed limit feel too fast? These experiences are normal.
The secret is to notice, accept, and adapt. It doesn’t mean it’s time to retire to the recliner. Take your time and let the synapses fire, walk at your pace, and drive when the crazies are fewer.
This is when a healthy mindset and practiced confidence are important. Stand tall. Reframe your thoughts. Keep going. You’ve got this.
6. Tend to Friends for a Sense of Camaraderie
Are conversations with your dog the most meaningful? Do you know too many names in the obituaries? Is contact with family infrequent? You still have social options.
Reach out to existing friends. Meet for lunch. Organize an outing. Or make new friends. Join a senior center. Volunteer. Become a regular at the local coffee shop.
Choosing to be with people you relate to is much healthier than isolation. Things in common are bonding, and discovering someone else’s history is enriching. Party like it’s 1999!
7. Find and Ask for Help When You Need It
Do you let things go because you don’t want to ask for help? Think it’s an inconvenience to others? Do you perform risky tasks by yourself? Turn down offers of help?
Let others give you a hand. Don’t let your pride rob someone of the satisfaction in giving service. Tap into agencies and organizations who exist for that purpose.
Asking for help is a skill. When cultivated, you can solve problems, achieve goals, and deepen relationships. Practice asking for help. The rewards are great.
8. Stay Grounded in a Hopeful Reality
Do you think all these ideas are pie in the sky for an older person? What if you have physical limitations? It’s possible.
The reality is that our bodies eventually fail us. Each new physical betrayal hits hard. Prepare yourself for those times.
Hope springs eternal is both cliche and truth. Everyone needs hope. Without it, humans can’t survive. Know that clouds will rain on your parade and then look for the silver lining.
9. Be True to Yourself Above All Else
You are the expert on YOU. You know your own experiences, joys, heartbreaks, dreams, and accomplishments better than anyone.
Likely, people will question your thoughts, behaviors, or capabilities based on your age. It might push doubt buttons in you. But remember, you are still the same person.
Summon your courage and calmly express who you are. Help them see their misconceptions about you. Stand firm in your convictions.
The Fork in the Road: Which Way Will You Go?
It all comes down to your choice. Getting older is inevitable and how we each approach it is that choice.
Imagine filling your time with fun and interesting new endeavors.
Imagine your social life is more than enough time spent with friends and family. Going places and making new memories.
Imagine knowing that you are capable, confident, and motivated. You can accept challenges and manage difficulties on your own terms.
The moment of truth is here.
Procrastination won’t change that fact. The time warp is not reality.
You can take charge of this season of your life now.