Each person experiences growing older differently. Some live with joint pain, chronic illnesses, and limited income. While others seem to grow healthier, continue to work, and find time for hobbies and to travel.
If you’d ask the second group, those who appear to thrive, “How does one continue to enjoy life to the fullest with fewer complaints and issues,” I bet you’d discover they don’t let any challenge interfere.
In a group of over 6,000 people, 55 and over, on Facebook, I see it firsthand. There are stories of loneliness, physical pain, emotional hardships, and also the flip side of adversity, like traveling the world, retiring to another country, finding a more challenging job, while others go back to school for a second or third degree. It’s fun to read the stories and observe how some move out of tough circumstances.
The differences are clear. Those who thrive are active, resourceful, and curious. Growing older isn’t a road block, but instead a new phase of advancement and here’s what they do differently:
Play games or solve crossword puzzles, and tackle brain exercises
Volunteer to make a difference
Learn a new hobby or skill
Travel and meet people of different cultures
Grow a vegetable or flower garden
Work part-time to get out of the house
Make friends to build a support team
Attend classes at the library, senior center or community college
Help a neighbor next door
Take cooking classes
In other words, they have purpose and live like a young child hungry to discover “what’s next.” Retirement for them isn’t a dead end or a final destination. Instead, it’s a period in life that can provoke inspiration, an enlivened journey, and enjoying a life that matters.
When people live beyond society’s expectations, they find new friends, rare opportunities, new love and adventure. More than likely, they will also become more creative and healthy, I speculate.
How do you envision your next phase? Is it through the eyes of a curious believer, or will you pick up your marbles, call it quits, and go home to hide?
If you’re open to new adventures and want to expand and be more than who you are today, I invite you to opt-in to my upcoming Newsletter called Age with Purpose. It will roll out in a few weeks, and arrive via email every Wednesday. No doubt you’ll enjoy and look forward to its arrival. Just send an email to [email protected] and in the subject line put Newsletter. It’s that simple.
Carol Marak, aging advocate, and editor at Seniorcare.com. She’s earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology.