I’ve been living in a retirement community for almost nine years now and you might think I’m crazy but I couldn’t wait to turn 55 so that I could get senior discounts at all the stores here in town. Now, I’m near 60 and I actually look forward to each birthday. Some say they wish they could go back and be a teenager again, NOT ME! My past is something I want to keep way behind me!
Sometimes the thought of growing older scares me as my body is changing. I feel more pains, less vitality, need more sleep, etc., and I never wanted to be an old woman who talks only about her bad health, LOL! But WOW, when you get to that point, you do talk about it a lot. I understand now what my grandmother went through when she couldn’t live alone anymore and had to move in with my mom. She resisted for years until she realized she was not able to take care of herself anymore.
As we grow older, we feel our independence slipping away and that’s never something we want to give up. Now, I’m not saying that life is over at age 60, NOT AT ALL! What I’m saying is you begin to realize your mortality. Some seniors are in better health than others, there’s folks here in my town that walk 3 miles a day and they’re in the 70s and 80s! I applaud them!
Today, I thought I’d share my 10 tips for growing older gracefully that hopefully will help you and me live happily for as long as we can. Let me begin with this scripture:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
This is an important verse, because we should take good care of our bodies and not dishonor them and there’s many ways to do that. For example, I would eat sweets when I got depressed or nervous. I gained so much weight that it was painful to stand and walk when I first moved here.
We also shouldn’t intentionally put products into our bodies that hurt like: cigarettes, intoxicants, alcohol for the purpose of escape or to somehow feel better. Excessive eating leads to all kinds of weight disorders. All these cause more problems later on even terminal illnesses and we shouldn’t mistreat the outside of our bodies either.
How can we grow older gracefully?
While we can’t completely stop the aging process, we can, however, do some things both physical and emotional to enjoy this time of life:
- Give God thanks. In everything, even when you get up in the morning and you feel cramps in your neck or back or perhaps you wake up with a bad headache. Thank God anyway that you woke up because without Him, we wouldn’t be here. It’s important to remain grateful for where we are in life as God loves a cheerful heart. And as you get going, sometimes those aches and pains go away.
- Get a little exercise. Even if you’re not able to walk or be mobile, you can try to do some stretching movements with your arms and/or upper body. But, be sure to discuss any formal exercise routine with your doctor before trying something. There’s dozens of videos online demonstrating exercises we can do but you want to be sure you don’t injure yourself. If you are able to go for walks, try a short one maybe at a nearby park. Walking isn’t just for losing weight, but also enjoying the outdoors which can both clear and cleanse our minds.
- Eat healthier foods. Fresh fruits are so good for us as they don’t contain bad sugars. I love eating berries and they also curb my craving for sweets. I also added more veggies to my meals. They give vitality and energy. And, if you can dwindle down on eating donuts, cakes, pies, cookies, etc., that would be a huge help overall to how you feel. If you’re looking for healthier recipes, follow my Pinterest Board, “My Journey to a Healthier Me“, there’s a bunch of pins with delicious, healthy meals!
- Treat your skin. I’m not an expert here so I’ll just share what I do. I have very, very dry skin to the point that it peels. So, I researched and found that Vaseline makes a lotion for extremely dry skin that also repairs. I began using it on my legs, feet and ankles and I started noticing a difference in about a week. It moisturizes my skin and smooths it too. Whatever type of skin you have, I would suggest find a product that gives you the right amount of moisture, allows your skin to breathe and leaves you with a soft touch.
- Vitamins. Again, not an expert here but I do know us women lose iron among other things when we get older and when we experience menopause. You may want to talk to your doctor if there is a supplement he or she can prescribe to you that will give you the right amount of iron or vitamins that your body needs.
- Drink tea. I LOVE raspberry lemon tea, it always makes me feel better. There are many teas for different ingredients to help with physical and mental ailments. I think also having a special pretty teacup set to drink tea from makes this even more special. I love vintage floral teacups with the saucers!
- Take up a hobby. When we work most of our lives, the last thing we want is another job after retirement right?! But, it’s not a good thing to do nothing either. A hobby or a volunteer assignment might be just what you need to keep your brain active and because it’s a hobby, something you want to do, it’ll add enjoyment to your life. Planting a garden, building things from wood, baking for charity functions, sewing masks are just a few ideas. If you’re not sure what you’d like to do, just ask yourself what you like and if you could do it, what would that be? Start there and then do some research. You’d be surprised at how easy it might be to take up a hobby. Also, having something you like to do gives you something to look forward to everyday.
- Laugh often. Even the Bible talks about this (“A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22 NKJV). Laughing definitely improves the emotions and creates memories that can pop up at any time. I’ve had moments where I might be doing something and all of a sudden, I remember a friend saying something that cracked me up and I begin to laugh all over again. Laughter is a lot like how medicine attacks the pain or illness and makes you feel better.
- Interaction with friends. There’s nothing like having a good friend to talk to. They can be as close or closer than relatives because they understand where you are. The support from a good friend has no monetary value. You can share personal things with a friend that sometimes you just can’t with anyone else. Having a friend pray for you and with you is also a blessing. Just think, even 1 good friend is better than 100 acquaintances.
- Try new things. We are typically creatures of habit and we get used to the way things are. But every once in awhile it’s good to shake things up and try something new like: a different hairstyle, a new recipe or maybe rearrange some décor in your house to give it a fresh look. I usually do this every few months so that it feels like I’m in a brand new room. Or, try changing your daily routine to break up the monotony so that your days won’t become drab and boring.
The last thing I want to say goes back to #1. Be grateful that you’ve lived this long, because God has given you a measure of wisdom that you can pass down to the younger generations or even encourage another person. And remember, to stay active, keep dreaming, keep plugging along.
Don’t stop living because your hair is white or your wrinkles are showing! Life doesn’t have to be mundane just because we’re seniors. This is the time of life that we should enjoy, because we’ve either put in all our work years or we’re near retirement.
Gracefully growing older with God and with our loved ones…there’s no better place to be, I believe.