“You can’t turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again.”
A week or so ago I spoke to a group of baby boomers as well as some of their elders. My pitch was that with a tweak here, a tuck there, along with a pace change and a little life spice you can have fun and be active until you don’t care anymore. I have learned through experience that zest and verve do not require being fleet of foot or to be a regular participant in the hot party scene to enjoy the so golden years. Writer Bob White recently wrote that we have the capacity to live backwards and I am a big believer in that. Here are some of his tips.
How to Successfully Age Backwards
If you are at all like me, (a “Baby boomer”) you’ve probably heard expressions like “60 is the new 40.” The truth is actually that anyone can be 68 going on 50. All you need is a motivational mindset. Then you, too, can start counting the calendar backwards at each birthday. Beyond good diet and exercise — which are critical for anyone at any age — getting motivated is the key to aging well. Here are five ways to adopt a motivational mindset, launch your own age rollback and engage the world at any age:
Change your WOE to WOW ratio.
There’s nothing more de-motivating than living in a world of WOE (which is an acronym that stands for What On Earth). The world of WOE is dark and consists largely of finding fault and blame. WOE is like a leech that sucks the life spirit out of you. Its opposite, WOW (which means Wonderfully Obsessed with Winning) infuses every moment with excitement about the world. WOW is that frame of mind that motivates you to fully embrace whatever you’re doing. No, you can’t get rid of WOE — it’s part of the human condition. But you can choose to minimize the presence of WOE and focus on WOW; the key is to become more aware of WOE’s presence and to consciously opt for WOW. Try it. Keep a notebook of how much time you spend in a WOE state versus a WOW state. Then set a goal to focus on WOW for 15 minutes as you start your day. Soon, it will become a habit, and you won’t even have to think about it.
Many studies have shown the more you flex your mind as you age, the healthier your mind will be. In addition to engaging in brain-cell building activities like puzzles, ask questions about how things work and why things are. Nothing motivates like a good question. Find a headline story each day that you want to learn more about. Find a topic each week that you want to research through books or using online resources. Adopt the curiosity of a child. The more new things you learn, the more you’ll be motivated to discover new areas of interest.
Invest in the moment.
It’s so easy to look back with regrets or nostalgia that we forget to see the joy of what’s happening in the present. Ditto for spending time gazing into the future with apprehension or fear. Try an experiment: every day, spend five minutes focusing on the here and now, and allow yourself to feel totally invested in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s work or play. Be conscious that you’re in the moment. When you get comfortable with that notion, expand the time you spend in the here and now each day.
Let go and take a higher perspective.
When you were younger, you were probably in the mode of striving for more — more money, more status, more security or more attention. More anything. As you age, that pressure starts to diminish. But if you’re like most of us, you still likely cling to the notion you’re in some kind of a race you must win. Let it go! When you stop competing against others, you’ll be motivated to appreciate those things that really matter and you probably already have.
Do things that put you in a good mood.
Good moods don’t just happen. They come about from doing things that make us feel happy, things we enjoy. When we were younger, it was easy to feel good because we weren’t shy about letting our hair down and having fun. You can recapture that habit now. Incorporate at least one thing a day into your routine that puts you in a good mood whether it’s taking a walk, completing a puzzle or pulling out a board game or a deck of cards with friends. When you’re feeling good, you’ll likely be more motivated to try new things. And you can almost hear the clock ticking backwards.
Be aware a motivational mindset doesn’t come overnight. But the more receptive you are to it, the more you’ll enjoy waking up every morning — and flipping another page back on your internal calendar!
“You’re never too old to become younger.”
“I was relaxing in my favorite chair on Sunday,” said Doug to Bill, “reading the newspaper, watching a ball game on TV and listening to another on the radio, drinking a beer, eating a snack, and scratching the dog with my foot — and my wife has the nerve to accuse me of just sitting there doing nothing !”
Why do you get on a bus and a train but get into a car?
A class professor was giving a lecture on company slogans and was asking his students if they were familiar with them.
“Joe,” he asked, “which company has the slogan, ‘come fly the friendly skies’?”
Joe answered the correct airline.
“Brenda, can you tell me which company has the slogan, “Don’t leave home without it?”
Brenda answered the correct credit card company with no difficulty.
“Now John, Tell me which company bears the slogan, ‘Just do it’?”
And John answered, “Mom….”
Always keep several get well cards on the mantel; if unexpected guests arrive, they will think you’ve been sick and unable to clean.
On a beautiful Summer’s day, a father and his eight-year-old son were lying on the grass by the river bank, looking up at the sky and watching the wisps of cloud float gently overhead.
After a few minutes of silence, the boy turned to the father and said: “Dad, why are we here?”
“That’s a good question, son. I think we’re here to enjoy days such as this, to experience nature in all its glory, the vastness of the sky, the beauty of the trees, the song of the birds, the rippling flow of the water. We’re here to help make the world a better place, to pass on our wisdom to future generations who will hopefully profit from our achievements and learn from our mistakes.
We’re here to savor the small triumphs of life – passing your school exams, the birth of a new member of the family, promotion at work, a win for the home team. And we’re here to comfort those dearest to us in times of distress, to provide kindness and compassion, support and strength, to let them know that, no matter how bad a situation may seem, they are not alone.
Does that answer your question, son?”
“Not really, Dad.”
“No, what I meant was, why are we here when Mom said to pick her up over an hour ago?”
The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which mean never losing your enthusiasm.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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