There is a lot to be said for finding positivity and happiness at any age. One sure way of living happily after 60 is to be grateful. There are several ways I’ve found gratitude, and therefore positivity and happiness, now that I’m over 60 and I use the word itself — gratitude — to guide me.
I start each day with thankful thoughts. None of us are going to get out of here alive and many do not make it to senior status, so be thankful for what is precious to you. I have found when times are tough, writing a daily positive statement in a gratitude journal to be useful. Ageing in most instances is cruel, but it can also be graceful through acceptance of the different stages of life. If you need some ambulant support (sticks, walkers) use it, rock it, walk with grace and gratitude.
You have to risk a little. I don’t mean jump out of an airplane, but risk your pride; make new friends, join that club, visit that friend, or volunteer your time to others in need. In the past, my whole life purpose was to be the perfect mother and grandmother and most supportive partner to my husband (who does not enjoy the best of health). I tried too hard and sadly neglected my own needs. It was difficult, but I took a risk and started to explore activities that would assist my health and wellbeing. I joined a Tai Chi group, I busied my brain writing a memoir, short stories and blogs. The risk has paid off, I have a voice, a social life and I am reasonably active.
Attitude plus determination and passion. I believe these are essential in seeing us through this period of life. If you can face your fears and find passion, and the will to pursue it, life will continue to open doors. The plus being (hopefully), you will not vegetate as you age. I had to look deep within to find my creative passion, which I have discovered is through writing. It may not be everyone’s choice, but if you can, find your passion, be it dancing, sport, painting, pottery, fashion, socialising, or body building. Get to it. Make sure whatever it is, it excites and involves you. Life is short, run with what makes you passionate.
You will be need it to pursue your passion. There will be obstacles along the way, be it time, transport, illness, a partner or other family crisis. Stick with it. Accept the setbacks. Others may criticise and not understand your new passion, but don’t let it hold you back. Enrol in that course, do the extra class, walk the extra mile. Do it for you. I can personally advise you will feel and be a better person if you pursue your passion and goals.
Intelligence and remaining inquisitive about life are essential as we age. Maintain your intellect for as long as possible. I find it essential to keep up with world and current events (real news not the fake stuff). Read the paper or digitised forms if you can. Don’t rely on social media reporting, find out for yourself. Use Google or other online sites to increase your knowledge. I am inquisitive by nature and try to find answers or information to further my intellect. Keeping my knowledge up-to-date assists to start, maintain or join in conversations.
Travel and holiday as much as you can. Retirement is the time to see places dreamed about. If finances allow it, take that cruise, visit other countries, climb the Statue of Liberty, absorb the peace of Tanah Lot or visit the Eiffel Tower. Whatever your passion, do it if you can. Travel overseas or within your country or state. Visit local tourist destinations. Travel can broaden your aspect and environment making you more interesting and interested. If your travel time is limited, or restricted, visit within your local area, use your free, senior vouchers, get on buses and trains and become familiar with local public transport.
Remain useful to people. Help others out, assist your neighbour to fix that fence, plant that garden. Show kindness and keep involved in your suburb and community. However small your contribution, your kindness and thoughtfulness will always be thankfully acknowledged. Volunteer, join the local library, donate your wares or time to local charities. Take those old towels and used bedding to the RSPCA, they sure can use it to keep the animals warm. Support your family and community; who knows, maybe they will pay it forward.
Just DO it, don’t just think about it. Do it now. Life and time are short.
By that I mean exercise your mind and body. Find an exercise that will assist to maintain your health and mobility. Join that yoga, exercise or Tai Chi class, sign up with the walking group. Stay as physically active as your body allows. Exercise your soul by smiling, laughing and talking with others. Exercise your mind by thinking about your legacy. Have you ever been to a funeral and listened to the eulogy of the departed, then thought, wow, I didn’t know that about them? Well think about that now, reflect. What would you like people to know or think about you after you have gone? Start with a timeline of significant events (happenings in your life), and if you wish to broaden this, add some short verses, stories or photos that will enable your life to be shared with future generations. Let them know about you, and how you lived your life. Share a part of you with the future.