Gail Oliver Cambridge | October 1, 2022
Most of you who read my love notes are over age fifty, and, apart from having the aches and pains that come with getting older, are in good physical health. That’s because we know aging well means eating healthy foods, limiting alcoholic intake, exercising, and staying active. We pay attention and attend to those ailments affecting our bodies, but are we also cognizant of our mental state and how that affects the aging process?
Dr. Charles Stanley, founder of In Touch Ministries, turned 90 years this past September. In one of his sermons, he outlined how to stay young and live a useful life: keep loving and learning, leave our cares behind, dream, look our best, labor in what we do, and listen to God and lean on his Word. Dr. Stanley certainly is living according to his instructions!
What struck me as I listened to his sermon is that we should first cultivate the mindset of feeling great whatever our age. Such positive self-awareness can then enable us to embrace other means of aging well. Of course, the very act of living means we must also deal with stress, which can throw a monkey wrench into things. However, having an optimistic outlook can help us worry less about the things that really don’t matter and which we can’t control.
In addition to Dr. Stanley’s suggestions for remaining young at heart, we can take advantage of what we have around us right now. For example, we can dial into the young people and small children in our lives. The teens can teach us how to use technology and navigate the internet and social media, and the children can amuse and fill us with wonder as they discover things. In turn, we can share our pearls of wisdom, both serious and humorous to keep them engaged.
When we connect with our friends, let's forgo dwelling about all that’s going wrong in our lives and the world. Instead, let’s head outdoors, catch up over coffee/tea, ride the train, go to the movies, or take in the sights of a new neighborhood.
Learning new skills and engaging in different hobbies can improve our memory and mood and foster connections with others. We might think about practicing yoga and meditation. Both have tremendous benefits on the body and brain…notwithstanding the challenge of twisting ourselves to get into position and quieting our minds!
As we all know, and as I have often written about, giving of ourselves results in greater benefits to our brain than receiving. When we open our hearts to loving others and giving in whatever ways we can, we energize our lives.
Younger folks who read my blogs can also get into forming these habits to make for healthier lifestyles and longevity. Let’s face it, there will come a time when we all wouldn’t be able to move around and take advantage of the suggestions above.
In aging well, we must find ways to bring joy into our lives and not make our age a barrier by focusing on all the things we can’t do. And for those days when we’re not feeling the motivation, Zig Ziglar, American author and motivational speaker, has this comment: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Most of all, let’s feel gratitude—we have reached this age because God is granting us the gift to see another day. What are we going to do with it?