Saturday, November 22, 2008

You Are Getting Older, And You’re Also Getting Better!

         You may no longer be the “hot babe” or the “handsome hunk” you used to be; so what? Some things do improve with age – fine wine, good cheese, even Galapagos tortoises. They never age. Scientists say, and they should know, that Galapagos tortoises lose none of their strength or physical functions as they grow older.

         Well, we’re not tortoises, we are human beings, and although we may physically change (look in the mirror!), there are many ways we become better, wiser, more able to navigate the tides of yearly wear and tear.

         We are now part of the “silver tsunami”, older Americans who are the fastest growing segment of the national population. We are experiencing the changes in our bodies that are the inevitable part of normal human aging: our muscles lose strength, our skin gets thinner and more easily damaged; the lenses of our eyes become thicker, so we have a harder time reading small print and driving at night. We may even notice in the mirror that our nose and ears are a little longer, our eyebrows grow a bit faster.

         As we notice these superficial, but critical  physical changes, we must also  be aware of the many benefits of aging. We gain wisdom as well as experience. We can learn to make better decisions, thanks to our earlier mistakes.

Life can become smoother and less worrisome as we prepare for this very interesting second half of life. We join the growing number of “successful agers” by maintaining and indeed strengthening our physical and mental health by improving our diet with more vegetables and fewer fatty foods, more exercise for body and mind and less “couch potato” lifestyles. We build stronger social networks of friends and family around us for greater community, comfort, security and enjoyment.

And now we have the time to give back to our community by offering our energy and expertise to local groups such as hospitals, hospice care, children’s reading and mentoring programs, senior’s programs, and the many other organizations that need our help.

This is how we turn our “olden years” into golden years! We now have the freedom to create a new life, and maybe a new profession as well, after retirement, after our children have grown, after we have successfully survived those youthful challenges and middle-aged responsibilities. Finally, we can look forward to helping ourselves by helping others -- gathering a new kind of gold in our golden years.

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