By Bill Storie
“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.”
Robert Browning (1812-1889)
English Poet and Playwright
This very inspiring characterization of old age fits with the concept of “successful aging,” provides the view that it is possible to enjoy your later years in a way that exceeds your expectations.
In some respects this wonderful quote is self-evident. The clock runs forwards not backwards, therefore the past is behind us, only the future is ahead of us. We can’t change the past but we can, by and large, arrange our future. Ok, we can’t predict illness or misfortunes, and therefore we can’t manage them in advance, but we can certainly decide whether we intend to enjoy our latter years.
The great thing about getting older is that we recognize that we are at the back end of our lives not the front end, and as such we can either make the best of them, or curl up on the sofa, watch daytime television, and wait until the knock comes to the door so to speak.
You can decide if you want to do things you’ve always wanted to do.
Obviously health issues and money issues may prevent you from white water rafting down the Amazon, but is there anything standing in your way if you’d prefer to glide along the canals of Venice? No, I didn’t think so.
The secret is to make your MIND up to do stuff.
Think young, act old. If you think old and try to act young you’re in deep wotsit. Don’t over-reach. You can’t do the physical things you did twenty years ago. Fair enough. But if you choose to continually convince yourself (nobody else cares !) that you are old and that you must act and think accordingly, then you’ll be old. And guess what, over time, your body will catch on to your “instructions” and react negatively. Don’t take my word for it, but try wearing pajamas at home for a week, eat whatever you want, lie on the sofa all day, tale lots of naps, stay indoors all week, don’t see anyone …. Go on try it. I bet by the third day you’ll be climbing the walls.
Actually, don’t try it. Please don’t.
These years can be the best years as Browning says, but only if you let them. You have the freedom to, within reason, do anything you want. Yes, you probably have commitments (family, financial, community, etc), but this is your life and you must be given every opportunity to run it the way you want.
But the biggest effort must come from inside you. You simply must keep active, both physically and mentally. Make the effort.
Lastly this week, here in Bermuda, we went through a hurricane (Joaquin) last weekend. It wasn’t a direct hit thankfully but it was a long stormy, windy and wet weekend. An indoors weekend in other words. I leave it to my fellow columnist John Skinner whose excellent article entitled “Lessons from a Hurricane” came out yesterday in Olderhood, to share more experienced comments on big wind… !!
The storm is bad enough of course but it is over within a few hours generally – the biggest task is the clean-up. This takes days. It seems that every time we have a lot of wind (behave yourself, I’m talking about the weather !!!), I have to take care of the same trees and bushes. Why can’t they withstand the rain?
Oh well, maybe that’s the hurricane season over for another year. And maybe this is me rambling as usual over for another week. Have fun.
By Bill Storie