“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”
George Bernard Shaw
Saturday I will reach another milestone, I will be older than I ever thought I would be and my family is gathering from hither and yon to celebrate the event. Unfortunately I have a new medical problem that is interrupting my workout routines for a few days but hopefully will not interfere with the four days of family events that include close family members that I see once a year at most.
I will get some test results today and am scheduled to see a GI specialist on Thursday. You have to admit my life stays interesting. Just yesterday I was in a meeting reviewing the possibility of offering series of classes on aging gracefully. Sometimes the graceful part is not easy.
Here some excerpts from a Web MD article for those who have decided they are going to join me in the long life adventure.
The Art of Aging Gracefully
By Katherine Kam
Experts who have worked with thousands of seniors share their insights into how you can navigate emotional challenges in order to age gracefully.
The Old Are Survivors
It’s true that aging brings hardships, but remember that the old are survivors — a select group. Wisdom, resilience and a mature perspective are often cited as the hard-won prizes of aging. But growing old itself is an accomplishment. “But if you get to be older, you have survived a lot of the threats to your physical and psychological integrity that have affected other people who are no longer around,” psychologist Whitbourne says.
Through good luck or good genes or both, the old have dodged fatal accidents, premature disease, and other things that kill the young. “You are stronger, and you get to live longer,” she says. “Most people think that’s a benefit.”
A dose of healthy denial can improve outlook in one’s later years, she adds. “The people who do the best with aging aren’t thinking that much about getting older. They’re not really focusing on what’s not working anymore. If you sit around mulling over the meaning of existence and how time is running out, you’re building in a scenario where you’re not going to age as successfully.”
Accept the inevitable changes of aging, rather than seeing them as aberrant crises.
During the course of his career, Illinois psychologist Mark Frazier, PsyD, has worked with thousands of older people “ages 65 to 105,” he says. Again and again, he’s seen an important key to psychological health: accepting that your life won’t stay the same. Aging changes everyone.
“If you live until you’re 95 years old, you’re probably not going to be living alone in a beautiful apartment and driving your car to the grocery store and picking up your dry cleaning and walking a mile to the park. But if you know that ahead of time, it’s much easier to manage it,” he says.
“To age gracefully, one needs to anticipate the changes that are inevitable,” Frazier says. “People who think rigidly do not do that. As they encounter the natural changes and health status that are part of aging, these things are experienced as negative and adding a lot of stress and strain to their life. Rigid thinkers tend to get overwhelmed. They can’t manage it, and they get depressed.”
Finding Meaningful Activities
Continue to find meaning later in life. “Retirement has always been a time when we see people withdraw from their roles,” says Pauline Abbott, EdD, director of gerontology at the Institute of Gerontology, California State University, Fullerton. During this risky time, some older people succumb to depression and a sense of meaninglessness.
“Part of the challenge of aging gracefully is that you have to continue to find things that are important to you,” Frazier says. That can include travel, spiritual pursuits, hobbies, new social groups, lifelong learning, or recapturing time with family if one lacked the chance during the career years, experts say.
Plan for purposeful activities before you retire, Abbott says. “It should be a transition. It shouldn’t be, ‘Stop work one day and fall off a cliff.’ It’s time to follow where your passions lie.”
“It is not a question of how old you are, but a question of how you are old.”
A traveling evangelist always put on a grand finale at his revival meetings, when he was to preach at a church, he would secretly hire a small boy to sit in the ceiling rafters with a dove in a cage. Toward the end of his sermon, the preacher would shout for the Holy Spirit to come down, and the boy in the rafters would dutifully release the dove. At one revival meeting, however, nothing happened when the preacher called for the Holy Spirit to descend. He again raised his arms and exclaimed: “Come down, Holy Spirit!” Still no sign of the dove.
The preacher then heard the anxious voice of a small boy call down from the rafters:
“Sir, a yellow cat just ate the Holy Spirit. Shall I throw down the yellow cat?”
What we see depends on mainly what we look for.
A life-long city man, tired of the rat race, decided that he was going to give up the city life, move to the country, and become a chicken farmer. He found a nice, used chicken farm, which he bought. It turns out that his next-door neighbor was also a chicken farmer. The neighbor came for a visit one day and said, “Chicken farming isn’t easy. Tell you what. To help you get started, I’ll give you 100 chickens.”
The new chicken farmer was thrilled. Two weeks later, the new neighbor stopped by to see how things were going. The new farmer said, “Not too good. All 100 chickens died.”
The neighbor said, “Oh, I can’t believe that. I’ve never had any trouble with my chickens. I’ll give you 100 more.” Another two weeks went by, and the neighbor stopped in again.
The new farmer said, “You’re not going to believe this, but the second 100 chickens died too.”
Astounded, the neighbor asked, “What did you do to them? What went wrong?”
“Well,” said the new farmer, “I’m not sure. But I think I’m not planting them far enough apart.”
All general statements are false, except this one.
New Testament: Many are called, but few are chosen.
Marie Dolan: Many are called, but most are e-mailed.
Ron Morse: Many are called, but few actually switch long-distance carriers.
Ed Wintermantel: Many are called, but they face another wait in the examining room.
I can’t go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.
The trooper said that this excuse is the most effective because it’s believable and any officer can relate: When you get pulled over and the officer comes up to the driver’s window, look at them with desperation in your face and say, “I’m sorry. I know I was speeding but I have to go to the bathroom sooooo badly that I’m about to explode!” You could also add, “Do you know of a restroom really close by that I can get to in the next 60 seconds?”
“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”
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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