By Sally Pyne
I’ll be 60 years old this summer. I think that makes me “officially” old. I’m not complaining though—I don’t know if you’ve heard: there is no “Plan B.” At this age I find many of my peers are either retired, or on the cusp of retiring. I was able to start my mailbox-income almost two years ago, and I find that I really enjoy it. But some folks aren’t embracing aging or retirement so much. I have made some observations, and will offer some tips:
- Take care of your body. Now is the time to try to get as healthy as possible. I spend my weekday mornings walking and in yoga class. This has become a habit and works for me. The structure is good for my days as well. Eat well and sleep well. It gets harder to remain healthy as we age. I told my daughter to really appreciate how good it feels to be in her young healthy body. But don’t dwell on your aches and pains. Accept them as part of the natural cycle we all go through. They are not who you are. Don’t let them become your entire focus.
- Focus on happiness. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people. Even if you don’t feel like it, try to accept invitations. Get out of the house, meet new people, catch up with those you haven’t seen in a while. Try something new. “Stretch” your comfort zone once in a while. This all falls under the category of brain health as well. Participate in your hobbies, or find a new one. Do a puzzle or two. Read. Go to a museum. Go walk through a park. You get the idea.
- Don’t say things like “back in my day.” THIS is your day. You are alive so you are a part of this time. In fact, hang out with people younger than you. Learn to respect and appreciate the younger generation and their opinions. They, after all, are our future. Give advice, not criticism.
- Keep informed. Read a newspaper. Don’t be afraid of social media. You can figure it out and may even find you enjoy it. I’ve found the visual aspect of Facebook actually helps me remember names. We can all use a little help remembering stuff as we get older, right? Where was I? Oh yeah.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ve had some good times and some bad times, but don’t let the past drag you down. Stay in the present. Enjoy time with family and friends. Don’t worry about what people say about you. Take care of your appearance. Keep going to the hairdresser or barber. Try a new color. Get a makeover—why not?
You can choose to embrace your golden years, or you can be that grumpy, bitter old person yelling at the kids to get off your lawn. You choose, but in my opinion life is too short to waste time on the latter. The best is yet to come!
Dr. Sally Pyne is a lifelong resident of Normal. She is a retired educator and served both Illinois State University and Lincoln College Normal. Her husband Ed owns the Normalite newspaper as well as seven other weeklies in McLean County.
The opinions expressed within WJBC’s Voices are solely those of the Voices’ author, and are not necessarily those of WJBC or Cumulus Media, Inc.