The key to old age is the ability to adapt. It’s as simple as that.
Without the ability to change as life changes, we become stiff and immovable. We become rooted in the past. That being stuck position is where our eventual characterization as being an old curmudgeon comes from.
Along with independence and cognitive functioning, adaptability is considered a major hallmark of successful aging.
Baring adaptability, an elder may be unable to go after any of the other components of successful aging, which include: social functioning, life satisfaction, maintaining one’s purpose, learning new things, maintaining one’s health and physical appearance, and effective coping strategies. The ability to adapt to people, situations and surroundings affords people a greater opportunity to get what they want and what they need.
How can we as senior citizens continue to be open to change and more able to adapt as we age? The best way to improve adaptability is to realize that it’s a choice.
Hopefully, no one is forcing you to change, update, or let go of something but rather it’s you realizing that your life will be greatly enhanced if you are able to go with the flow instead of resisting anything new or different that comes into your life. Until you get the hang of greater adaptability, perhaps it’s good to make a pro/con list of any situation. For instance, are you continuing to work because the thought of retirement is too frightening? You’d have to adapt to a whole new set of circumstances – a complete life makeover – if you retire. A list of the pros and cons might help you see the value in adapting to the newness of any situation, big or small.
Well, this blog hit me where I live right now. NOT my greatest skill, adapting to change. I’ve spent much of my life on the picket fence–uncomfortable, but safe and well-known. Thanks for the reminder that either way I jump may be less painful.
My Mom is turning 100 in a few months. She’s adapted to more things than I can even name. She’s still going strong and adapting to circumstances beyond her control. She’s better at it now than I am.
Thanks for sharing this, Christine. Perhaps your Mom’s experience means we’ll improve with our ability to handle change as we age. There’s always hope!
Thank you for another meaningful post Antonia. I think you are right, the ability to Adapt is a key to aging well. Along with that I would name the ability to stay Curious. For if we remain interested and interesting, surely we will retain something of our spirit and zest for life. I will reread this as I find myself, on certain days, flagging in adaptability, wishing to hold on to some aspect of the past. Stay well, and strong of Spirit. Though I don’t always contribute in written word, I value your writings so much. Cathleen
I can’t agree more about curiosity, Cathleen. Interested, interesting, involved, leaning in with zest — it’s all part of helping us stay adaptable to change. And the changes seem to come swiftly as we age. Thanks for your participation in this blog … I appreciate you!