Tne Secret about Aging You Need to Know

Looking for the best advice about aging? We asked over 1200 older Americans to offer their lessons on how toelder humor be happier, healthier, and more fulfilled. Some of the most interesting insights in the book from the project, 30 Lessons for Livingwere about aging itself. Of all these lessons (having hit 60 recently myself), there’s one I like the best.

Here is the elders’ secret: Being old is much better than you think it will be.

It’s a bit difficult to believe, perhaps, because of our negative stereotypes about aging as a period of loss and decline. But I found that the Legacy Project elders defied these stereotypes. Over and over, I got the message that being old (and sometimes really old) was much better than people ever expected. Let’s hear from three elders about their surprising experience of aging.

Ursula, 94, is surprised when people comment about her longevity. She told me:

Worry about aging? No. I wake up and I know where I am, I lead a very normal life. I eat, I drink, I like to talk, as you can see! I have an interest in what’s going on in the world. Flexibility, that is important. I don’t have to worry. I get very upset when people complain. You wouldn’t believe the complainers. I tell you, you have to think positively. And if you think positive, physically and mentally, things are all right. So one day I don’t feel so good, so what, you know? I think positive and that is my blessing. I have my mind and my wonderful memories. You need to do things, you see, or there’s no quality of life, sitting home and crying doesn’t help. I have been lucky to be healthy. I have everyday a glass of wine.

Davia,74, discovered her knack for business later in life and runs a successful bed-and-breakfast.

Well, when it comes to aging, it sure as heck not the way I would have thought old age or growing older would be like! I never thought it would be anything like this. I always thought: Oh, I don’t want to think about that or that sounds terrible. That was when I was young and I would be thinking about what old age might be like, if it somehow cam up as a topic of conversation.

But I still feel like I’m on the road of life to somewhere, and there’s so many things I still want to do, that I love to do. I don’t look at old age as something to be pitied or dismissed. Now very young people, they’re going to do that anyway I know, up to certain point in their lives anyway, they will.

But there are so many things I’d like to do. I’d like to do more traveling. I don’t have great funds to do it with, but I’m going to do some more. And I’m happy to have a bed and breakfast to run and it still excites me. It’s tiring when it’s busy, but I can sleep when I need to. I can manage to rest up. My health is pretty good and I make a point of eating healthy foods ands trying to go a little exercise on a regular basis. So I don’t feel like it’s the end of a life, not yet.

The most inspiring elder I spoke with was Edwina, 94: Whenever I worry about getting older, I take a look at her view of the later part of life:

My advice to people about growing old? I’d tell them to find the magic.  The world is a magical place in lots of ways.  To enjoy getting up in the morning and watching the sun come up.  And that’s something that you can do when you are growing older.  You can be grateful, happy for the things that have happened.  You should enjoy your life.  Grow a little.  Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean that you need to stop growing. I used to think that when you got old you sat back in a rocking chair and let the world go by.  Well that’s not for me and that’s not for a lot of people.  I can’t dance anymore, but if I could I would.

There’s no reason for anybody in this world to ever be bored.  That’s one thing I’ve always said.  Well if I died and went to heaven, I’d be bored to death with how they say heaven is.  There’s no need for you to be bored in this world.  There’s so much out there.

Our society is filled with negative attitudes about growing old. But what if they are all wrong? Based on the elder’s advice, many of us can all look forward to a happier old age than we expect!

6 thoughts on “Tne Secret about Aging You Need to Know

  1. Your secret is misleading. The word “is” should be replaced with “can.” Your 1200 is a mere pittance against the thousands of the aged & aging who would agree with me. And it is no secret that mind & body will serve you better if given care & concern in our younger years. But there are no guarantees.

    Your Legacy Project is a great idea in & of itself. People should realize that getting older should not be feared because it CAN be very rewarding & beneficial. But Life at any age is always a challenge that we either overcome or falter. It’s rather demeaning to judge a segment of the population when you don’t know all their circumstances, etc. Keep in mind that old adage about walking in someone else’s shoes & to be politically Incorrect … There but for the Grace of God go I..

  2. Getting old sucks. It’s not fun. I am alarmed at the way I look day after day. I look at pictures from 30’s 40’s and the person I see at 60 is barely there. The eyes and chin took the brunt of it. But all is vanity! I am just as energetic as I have ever been. But getting to the list of things to do, seems more daunting now than ever. I think I’d like to be a part of a study. A study about mind over matter. For most of my 30’s n 40’s I was diagnosed as BiPolar. I stopped taking my medication because I couldn’t afford it, or the Dr. who prescribes it. Now I feel better than I have in 30 years. No bouts of ups and downs. Just life rolling along. I stay busy, swim daily, have a beer now and then, and love living in the Pacific Northwest. So take the good with the bad, aging is just a part of this life.

  3. Life’s what you make it, day by day. As long as you’re not sick and can get around you can make this a great day. It’s up to you. I roll into a new age-group next year, when I turn 70, so I’ll have a better chance of qualifying for Kona. I’m learning new business skills to keep my income stable able being ‘terminated’ (better than being terminal. I see life as something that happens now, and happiness is often a choice not luck. Dumbledore got it right, when talking to Harry Potter, about us being more defined by our decisions than our abilities. Make today the very best day you can, stay in shape as best you can, and live for heaven’s sake. Wishing everyone well with this new challenge of getting older. Wiser is up to you. -k (FitOldDog)

  4. You are so right. I turned 70 last September 6, and have relaxed into Avon Park, Fl.
    It took 70 years for me to learn to let God be God and let His will be done. If He ordains our steps, which He does, be happy and relax.

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