When I’ve had a few rough days, days where my mobility is more limited by arthritis pain, or by sadness from the passing of a friend, I need to remind myself with gratitude of the goodness of my aging life.
Getting older can be a challenge from time to time, and it’s good to be reminded of all that we have and all that we can do during these years. Therefore, I routinely make lists of the perks of getting older. So, when I’ve had a difficult patch, I review this list, and these reminders help me stay in gratitude regardless of what is swirling around in the hurricane of life.
Here is a list of five things I love about my senior life:
- Leaving work behind: It’s been twelve years since I’ve worked, and I don’t miss a day of it! There was a period of adjustment while I disengaged my identity from important tasks that affected the lives of lots of people to a life less spotlight-ish. I never miss the alarm clock, the commute, the Sunday night blues, or spending so much of my time outside of work, prepping for work.
- Time for fun: Without the majority of my time spent for work and work-related activities (including out-of-town travel), I have time to pursue more creative activities like writing for fun, crafts, experimenting in the kitchen, and play time with friends and my fur baby, Kali. Over the years I’ve enjoyed pursuing fun things like juggling, knitting, coloring, and gardening – all things I didn’t have time for when I was younger.
- Volunteering: While volunteering looks like its doing for others, its really doing for oneself. Any uncomfortable or upsetting situation gets better when the focus shifts from those things I can’t control to focus on helping others. Nothing makes me feel as good as doing for others. It’s a win-win situation for all involved! Did you know that volunteering helps lower rates of depression and dementia and provides a sense of purpose and belonging? Lots of time our exercise levels increase when we volunteer too!
- Wearing whatever I want: No more suits, heels, or pantyhose! I used to get teased about always wearing black pants no matter if it was the cotton slacks I wore to work or the black silk ones I wore when I got married a few years ago. I still get ribbed about owning nothing but twenty pair of black pants for all my outfits. The difference is, I don’t care what others think as I’ve aged. I let their kidding about my wardrobe roll right off.
- An increased sense of well-being: Yes, our faculties may decline as we age — hearing, vision, patience with new-fangled technology, and health in general. Overall, however, I’ve never felt more contented with my life. I don’t sweat the small stuff, I’m slower to anger, and I’m much more willing to let others take center stage. I’ve become an excellent listener, asking more questions and allowing others to share their stories and experiences. I’ve got my eye on the long game, and I don’t want to muck it up by living a phony or selfish life. Life’s little annoyances no longer monopolize my life.
Living in gratitude for the abundance of goodness in my life will carry me through those days when I want to stay in bed and hide from the world. Good friends and family help me stay grounded in this abundance. I’m fortunate to be able to check in with people I respect – to get that reality check on the importance or not of events that occupy my time.
These are just five of my ways I’m happier as a senior. I bet you’ve got lots more ways. What are they?