Today’s article is a continuation of the first “Ten Rules for a Good Old Age” shared with you on May 14. Here we go:
- If your spouse is still alive, be intentional about expressing your love. Say “I love you!” as often as possible. Enjoy your time together now. Don’t wait till later. She/he is one of God’s most important gifts to you. Thank Him daily and openly express your love. If your spouse is no longer with you, remember with a thankful heart the years and times you shared.
- Avoid using the phrase “In my time.” Your time is now. As long as you’re alive, you are part of this time. You have been younger, but you are still you now, having fun and enjoying life.
- Stay positive about today. Some people embrace their golden years, while others become bitter and surly. Life is too short to waste your days in the latter mode. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people, it’ll rub off on you and your days will seem that much better. Spending your time with bitter people will make you older and harder to be around.
- If possible, avoid living with your children or grandchildren. It’s fine to live close to family but we all need our privacy. They need theirs and you need yours. If you’ve lost your spouse, then find a place in the midst of others with whom you can readily identify and share similar values. Move only if you feel you really need the help or do not want to live alone.
- Try not to abandon your hobbies. If you don’t have any, find one. If physically and financially possible, you can travel, hike, cook, read, and dance. You can adopt a cat or a dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer at church or your favorite charity. Find something you like to do and spend time having fun with it.
- Even if you don’t always feel like it, try to accept invitations. Baptisms, confirmations, graduations, birthdays, weddings, conferences, funerals. Try to go. Meet people you haven’t seen in a while, go to museums, walk through a field. The important thing is to leave the house from time to time. Get out there. If humanly possible.
- Talk less and listen more. Some people go on and on about the past, not caring if their listeners are really interested. That’s a great way of truncating conversations. Listen first and answer questions, but don’t go off into long stories unless asked to. Speak in courteous tones and try not to complain or criticize too much. Always find some good things to say as well.
- Pain and discomfort go hand in hand with getting older. Try not to dwell on them but accept them as a part of the cycle of life everyone goes through. Try to minimize them in your mind. They are not who you are, they are something that life added to you. If they become your entire focus, you lose sight of the person you used to be and still are.
- If you’ve been offended by others, forgive them. If you’ve offended someone, apologize. Don’t drag resentment around with you. It will make you sad and bitter. It doesn’t matter who was right. Someone once said, “Holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Don’t take that poison. Forgive and move on with your life.
- If you have a strong belief, savor it. But be wise when trying to convince others. People will make their own choices no matter what you tell them. Guided by the Spirit, live your faith and set an example. Actions speak louder than words.
- Laugh. Laugh a lot. Remember, you are one of the fortunate ones. If you’re over 70, you’ve been blessed with life, a long one. Many never get to be your age and never experience a life of fulfillment. But you have. Try to find the humor in your daily circumstance. Laugh at yourself.
- Take no notice of negative comments people say about you and even less of what they might be thinking. Let them talk and don’t worry. They likely have no idea about your history, your memories and the life you’ve lived so far. There’s still much to be written, so get busy writing and don’t waste time thinking about what others might think.
With all these tidbits of advice in mind, don’t forget to remember God’s promise: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Is. 40:31