During a long drawn out January head cold that lingered into February, there was ample time to ponder issues I tend to avoid .
A recent exchange with one of my more responsible friends encouraged me to pass on some of their words of wisdom, along with my personal take.
It’s Too Powerful to Stop
If your stage of life is 60+ (I personally past that number several years ago), we are old enough to think about the finality of life. We will die eventually, but in the meantime, we have responsibilities to fulfill, challenges to face and new roads to travel (or run).
Magical Cures Can Be a Waste
I know you will try them, and I won’t say I told you so. From an early age, we have been sold on every form of fountain of youth, including magical cures, pills, potions and lotions. We’ve tried all the concoctions billed to help us run faster, ache less, recover more quickly.
Prepare for Aging: Financially, Physically, Socially, Emotionally and Spiritually
Any one of those five categories can seem daunting, but preparing for one of them makes taking on the next easier.
There is no day like today to look hard at your finances. Treat your money with respect. With any luck, you will need it for a while, and those race registration fees aren’t getting any cheaper.
I don’t need to emphasize physical activity with most of my readers, but get that physical exam, take your doctor’s advice about exercise and diet, health-literate, ask questions. Learn what you can about any new condition that finds its way to your doorstep.
Avoid junk food – most of the time – and eat the good stuff. Those health problems will eventually come, but give them a run for their money.
Be good to your friends. I expect some of you, like me, at this point in our lives have lost one or two. If a dear friend is having a bad time, plan a silly birthday outing, share joys together, go for a run or walk together, support one another at whatever ability level we find ourselves.
The Emotional Factor
Let go of the grudges, anger, would-haves, should-haves. If you still need help after venting this to a trusted friend, see a professional counselor or a spiritual guide.
Speaking of the spiritual, you may feel a need for a deeper spiritual experience, to spend time in prayer or meditation. Doing so may help make sense of your journey and offer a world of inner exploration.
Prepare for the End of Your Life
If we don’t do this, others will have to handle our assets and our end-of-life decisions. While we’re at it, let’s clean up what we no longer need or use. How about those worn out tights you keep around because you wore them that day in 1980 when you PR’d? Again, if we don’t purge it, someone else must – and really, isn’t that our responsibility?
Manage Life on Your Own When You Can, Accept Help Graciously When You Must
Even if it’s for a brief, temporary period, be willing to ask a trusted professional, friend or relative for their thoughts when difficult decisions must be made. Be willing to accept or reach out if it will help you through a tough period.
Having done the above, what’s left?
Live an Enjoyable, Active and Fulfilling Life
Finish strong. You’ve made the tough decisions, prepared this stage of your life in every way you can. You’ve done all the responsible things, now go do what your heart yearns to do.
You may want to explore literature in a deeper way – I’m looking at Emily Wilson’s new translation of the Odyssey. You may want to do some form of volunteer work in a field you always wanted to tackle, but didn’t.
You could help build something, literally or figuratively that will be there when you are not. You may want to just go have fun – dance, play, run, travel, laugh with friends and family. Go. Do it. You deserve it.
I can’t say I’ve conquered any of my suggestions, but I have nibbled around the edges and know this too is a continuing journey.
How many of the above categories to you tend to avoid?