How old are you?
What is your chronological age and what would you say is your mental and physical age?
What was your reaction to the question and how do you feel about getting older? Fearful? Excited? Terrified? Are you blanking it out all together, pretending it won’t happen?
What are the images in your head associated with older age? Feebleness, needing help, losing agency, weakness, decrepitude, stiffness, deafness, being over looked, giving up, narrowed horizons, medication, hospital visits…….
Or wisdom, power, knowledge, interest, patience, strength, happiness, calm, curiosity, intelligence (both emotional and mental).
One of the great assets of older age is more time, you may have retired or semi retired, you have the space to pursue other interests and projects. Also you may have developed more patience so you allow things to develop at their natural pace and rhythm. If you aren’t near retirement considering these principles will help you towards a healthier older age.
Stopping and noticing your thoughts about ageing is important, because attitude is everything. Many people won’t start a new project or exercise regime ‘I’m too old what is the point?” The point is that this is your life and there are no done deals, everything is possible no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to start. Do you feel medication is inevitable? No it isn’t, taking care of yourself by eating and exercising sensibly is the first thing. Follow the Japanese principle of hara hachi bu; stop eating when you are 80% full. Then being actively engaged with something, from train spotting to petit point it doesn’t matter. Again another Japanese principle, Ikigeu, purpose in life. Thirdly Moai, your social group or tribe playing a part in your community life is also life enhancing and connects you positively with your tribe and like minded souls.
Nearly 2/3rds of 97 yr olds in Okinawa function independently. We need to consider our physiological age, not our chronological one; older age doesn’t have to mean poor health.
What do you feel passionate about? Do you have an ambition? Engage with it like a 21 year old, you will be enhancing your life at every level.
What stimulated this newsletter was a programme about Alex Rostas who photographs elderly athletes, people competing in their 70’s.80’s,90’s and 100’s. It was totally life affirming and shows what a can do attitude can achieve. Plus reading about the residents of Okinawa who seem to have old age sorted, they don’t consider you to be old until you are in your 90’s.
Check out my FB page to see Alex Rosta’s images of some remarkable athletes.