How can we live longer? That’s a conversation most of us on the tail end of the baby boom and just after that, thought we would never ask. We were wild, we were free, we were sex, drugs and rock and roll, and now we are not.
So, if you are one of us, in your early 50’s to late 60’s, when the kids are gone and it’s time to think about the last stages of our lives, what can we do to make them good, to make them last, but also to make them productive and rewarding.
In teaching my classes at the Senior Center, I don’t see “old people” or senior citizens, I see vibrant active people who still have a lust for life, for knowledge and a desire to give back to their community. I know firsthand that one of the best parts of retirement is leaving the daily pressures of a workplace. For women that pleasure can actually be twofold, for while raising a family and maintaining a household, many of them had businesses or full time jobs as well. As you can imagine losing all that stimulation, even if it was stressful, can be quite damaging. What do to?
- Keep active in your community and church
- Go back to college, or if you never went, start college
- Become an adopted Grandparent. If your grandchildren are far away, why not help a family who could use a little grandparent love.
- Become a mentor there are people who want to start their own business, but have no clue as to how to run a business. If you have practical experience on the mechanics of running a business, or marketing and sales, become a mentor for a budding entrepreneur.
- Become a crossing guard. I have a friend who is a healthy, active 70-year-old, and who no longer wanted to work full-time. She became a crossing guard in her community. She loves it. Twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon, she gets to see Mom’s and Dad’s walk their children to school. The children are happy and full of energy, and yes sometimes people are grumpy, but mostly it is a rewarding experience and it’s social. It’s not a high paying career, but it supplements her retirement and social security, and gives her interaction each day.
- Exercise – make a commitment to physical activity. Nothing keeps our minds and bodies working like physical activity. You don’t have to engage in the same type of strenuous activity. Try stretching, some dancing, hike outdoors, and one of the best forms of exercise is swimming. It is much easier on your joints that many other forms of exercise, it burns calories, helps you learn how to regulate your breathing, and the water can be soothing to swollen joints.
- Read – if you were busy, busy, busy in your life, the habit of reading may have gone by the wayside. Splurge on yourself, buy a Kindle or download an E-reader app on your computer and start reading again. Read one book that’s good for your brain, then one purely fun novel. Renew your library card if you are on a budget, or even if you’re not. Libraries have Videos, DVD’s and EBooks for you to borrow and enjoy.
Bottom line, keep active and involved, work a little if you can, help a little where you can, and let yourself enjoy life.