Do Not Resent Growing Old...Many Are Denied the Privilege. Finding the Pot of Gold in the Golden Years
By Jackie White
I have to admit something. I am of Irish descent, yet I don’t know much about my Irish heritage. Upon the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to do a little investigation, and I found that if you are looking for a definition of how to live a well-lived life, you should look to the Irish. I looked to see if I could find some wisdom in some of their sayings and I was struck by one particular saying that I felt was quite profound:
Do not resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege.
Wow. That one hit me between the eyes. It is easy to get caught up in the complaining of getting older, isn’t it? I mean things are going south, wrinkles setting in, and busting a move takes on a whole different meaning! But, here’s the thing, getting older shouldn’t be such a negative
experience. Resenting our bodies and minds for failing us shouldn’t be as we actually are the privileged ones.
We are thankfully still here, and we get another day to take in all life has to offer. We get another day to laugh or make someone else smile. I know there are times when you acknowledge your fortune in still being here. We all have people in our lives who “died too young”, and it is in those times, we feel truly grateful to have creaky knees to carry us through another day.
They call getting older, the “golden years” and by God, I am looking for a pot of gold during these golden years! As it turns out the centenarian population in Ireland has grown by 20% over the past 5 years and is on track to increase ten-fold by 2050 and by the turn of the century 25 million worldwide will be 100 years or older. These folks are living not only longer, but also healthier and more meaningful lives, now if that isn’t a pot of gold, I don’t know what is!
This year, I turned double nickels, that’s 55 for those of you who may not have reached that milestone yet. I will still tell you I am 28, but that’s because I am old enough to choose however old it is I want to be! Now, there are a couple of advantages to hitting the speed limit of life and the first is you can now qualify for the “senior specials” at restaurants and many stores offer discounts to seniors. You can also become a member of AARP and get more discounts! Getting old means discounts, baby and hey, I am one for a deal, so I will take it!
But besides the discounts, I was still curious about how I get a piece of this aging gracefully thing? As it turns out there are a few things we can all do to continue living our best lives even as we age. Here are the three things (plus one bonus) that researchers have found that make all the difference in living longer, happier, and healthier.
Stay Connected: This is a critical thing we must all take to heart. We cannot allow ourselves to live in a state of loneliness. Loneliness is considered the “silent killer”. When people become disconnected they spiral down into depression. Let’s make a clear distinction here, too. We are talking about face-to-face live interactions with others. Ugh, Covid has prevented this from happening as it should and so we need to do what we can to stay connected. Zoom calls and social media are helpful, but in no way are an equal substitute for actual human interaction. Note that many teens who rely heavily on social media interaction are experiencing depression at alarming rates. Bottom line, do not let yourself become a hermit! Get out and see friends, family, or volunteer. Just don’t allow yourself to be lonely.
Hobbies, Goals, and Roles: If you have spent any time with us on SoulShine Life Connections, you will hear us preaching about finding your thing and following your dreams and goals. This stuff is important! It’s who you are and what you are meant to be doing. So, go ahead and get involved in that stuff that makes you happy! Bottom line: You need to go after those dreams and have plans to pursue life for all the years to come! It’s that important!
Resilience and Positivity: People who focus on the negative and complain are not doing themselves any favors. Negative focused energy will not only affect your mental health but also can affect you physically. Bottom line, you have to knock it off! When you catch yourself getting crabby, refocus on the positive. Also, when times get tough, know that you will get through. This is called resilience. Think about it, for these centenarians, they could not have lived to be 100 and been helpless through the hard times. Those people are resilient and you can be too!
Have Fun: I am adding the fun category as mandatory for life at any age. I had a mom who lived to be 86 years old, and she was funnier than hell. She cracked everyone up and laughed most days. I saw how living life with such lightness made a difference. Now that I am 55 and am following in my mother’s footsteps, I have to recommend that having fun and enjoying life are a must to grow old gracefully! And seriously, if you can laugh at getting older then that’s half the battle!
So, starting today, let’s take a tip from the Irish and not resent growing old. Instead, let’s be thankful for having the privilege of just being here. Think of it like this, you get to grace this world with your presence! How are you going to do that? With connection, following your dreams, doing what you love, staying resilient, positive, and having a damn good time while you are at it!
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.