Ok, so maybe this isn't the the most brilliant quotation ever uttered on the subject of aging. But I believe it is true. Someone famously once said, "Age is a gift that many are denied." And when you really think about it, it can be very humbling. Those of us who live to a certain age should feel honored, and be filled with gratitude, for each and every one of those years. Yet, modern civilization wants us to keep believing that we're only viable if we're young and beautiful. You rarely see older humans in TV commercials. And there aren't many TV shows or movies about senior citizens. Not enough people would watch them. But why is it that humans have such a negative attitude when it comes to aging? I sure don't know. From everything I've read, we should embrace getting older. Here's why:
Research shows that having a positive attitude about aging can help us live a longer, healthier, and happy life. Even armed with this knowledge, humans tend to shrink away from the subject of age...it makes many of them uncomfortable. Views on aging are cultural. Eastern cultures revere their aged while in the West, age is looked upon as something to dread; as if it's the end of the line. Recents studies have shown than having a positive attitude about aging can add up to 7.5 years of life! What makes this particular study unique, is that it focused on positive factors influencing length and quality of life, where others have focused on the negative ones, such as disease, injury, and cognitive decline. The most important factor coming out of the positive study is that having a positive atitude on aging has more of an impact than other things like lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The study showed that those humans who had a positive attitude on aging at the beginning of the study, outlived those who did not. Researchers tell us that it's important to participate in enjoyable activities throughout your lifetime, and to keep that interest going into old age. And it's never too late to start finding pursuits of interest and pleasure...whatever your age. Grandma Moses didn't start painting until she was 79! The point is to start.
Along with participating in enjoyable activities, it is equally important to have a positive view of oneself; believing in yourself, and in the world, is a major factor in positive aging.
So how can we improve out chances for a better quality of life? Try these easy steps.
I bet you do many of them already!
Appreciate the little things in life
Start early and make changes that will keep you healthy, both mentally and hysically.
Find someone who is having a positive aging experience and learn from them.
Find meaningful goals and interests that outlive your career so you're not bored by retirement.
Develop a sense of purpose; such as spirituality or volunteer work.
Build a strong social support network and nourish those relationships. They become much more important as we age.
Take care of your body; eat well and exercise regularly.
I like to think that aging beautifully, is a beautiful thing. Aging is a gift. Accept it gracefully and embrace it whole-heartedly.