I used to think that the best part about growing older was that I could make my own rules, like starting dinner with dessert if I wanted. But, I’m finding there are even better benefits of growing older, and they include realizing that while I may be growing older, I’m not getting older — I’m getting better. Better? Yes, better.
I feel that I’m in better health, have better finances, in a better state of mind, and I feel I have a better encyclopedia of life experiences to share. As I grow older I feel I am growing younger. Age is a mindset and a calendar point in your life. (Birthdays are great excuses to celebrate life!)
What is your mindset about age? You’ve heard that you are as old as you feel, right? You’ve seen that in play, as I have. In my way of thinking, choose to feel young and see what happens for you. You may have to change some of your lifestyle choices to support the younger age you want to feel — and that change is good for you. I’ll share a few ideas here.
Then there is growing older where you have more to share with others who are coming up behind you. You can’t help but pick up numerous pearls of wisdom as you live. Sharing those pearls with others is a great way to pay it forward. Giving your life’s lessons to others will come back to you in untold ways, starting with learning something new. I believe that we learn from others when we are interacting and that makes your collection of wisdom more complete and useful. You are living out your Why and purpose when you share your wisdom.
A recent post in the Facebook group Modern Elder Academy listed a group of people who went from obscurity to success, some at an older age. The message on the post was about keeping your mindset positive and not turning it against yourself. It was a reminder that we don’t know where our destiny is, and to keep working toward it.
The message also is to live into your purpose and don’t give up on it. If you love what you do and the world needs that thing that you do, then it’s your obligation to keep doing it. Do it regardless of your age. What else are you going to do with your talents, time, energy, and mind?
The size of your destiny, be it into the limelight, to your own business, or to spread smiles around town, isn’t what matters. I have several tips to keep you on your path, presented in this Getting Better series. What can you do to pursue your destiny with optimal vibrancy? Lots: get enough sleep; move enough; drink enough water; laugh enough; maintain enough human contact; express gratitude enough; use your brain enough; play enough; keep your mindset young enough.
Now you’re going to ask: how much is enough? You’re right in asking that. There is no one answer that applies to everyone. At the very least, it’s a concept to be aware of and think about as you maneuver your day and make life decisions. One of the exciting results of improving your vibrancy is that you feel and look better — younger. People will wonder what you are doing. And that provides another opportunity to share more of your wisdom.
Giving sleep more priority in your life is important on many levels. Strive for an average of eight hours each night. Do you realize how busy your brain is while you sleep? It needs lots of time to get all of its tasks done. You are getting a “brainwashing”, which gets rid of toxic waste that builds up as a result of your brain’s work during the day. Then there’s grooving and solidifying your memory circuits with the new information from the day and getting it stored for future use. Your brain and body go into recovery mode, restore energy, repair cells, and synthesize protein. Your nerve cells communicate and reorganize during the night. Abundant sleep is also good for your emotional health.
To get good sleep, give yourself an edge. Make your room dark and quiet, wear a sleep mask if you need to block light. Cool sleeping temperatures support your body’s circadian rhythm temperature changes during the night, helping you get better, undisturbed sleep. Of course, there’s the usual advice of don’t eat or drink within three hours of bedtime, and cut the blue light devices about three hours of bedtime, too.
When you have enough sleep, you are on top of your game and your mood, and your immune system is stronger. This puts you in a great position to share your wisdom with others. And in a great position to learn from others. The give and take you have is good for everyone.
Notice I said “move” enough. I didn’t say exercise enough. Move to the best of your ability as often as possible. The more frequently you move the better your body works. When you move your blood flows through your body better, moving nourishment and oxygen to the muscles and organs that need it. You pump your lymphatic system to move waste products out. And, you get a change of scenery. Move hourly.
What do I mean by move? Stretch. Lift. Bend. Do something aerobic, or mildly aerobic like walk, bike, or swim. Jump rope, skip, or play hopscotch. Maybe do a few yoga moves that strengthen your core which improves your balance and posture.
Here’s a move — a single-leg balance — you can use to strengthen your core and improve your balance. Begin by standing on one leg with your knee soft or slightly bent, and a flat, relaxed foot. Stand as still as you can. Hold that pose as long as you can. Then, switch legs and repeat. You can do this while brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, or standing in line somewhere.
When you move enough, you stay stronger, more limber, happier, and overall healthier.
Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts your mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into a healthy balance than a good laugh.
There are myths about how kids laugh 300 times a day and adults laugh only something like 30 times a day. It is a myth, though it does seem that kids laugh more than adults. You want to be and feel younger, so, act like a kid and laugh. When you are open to engaging with the world, you’ll find lots of things that will make you laugh. Watching baby animals play, be they human or not, opens the door to laughter. Telling jokes, or calling a friend who will tell you jokes, will make you laugh. Laughing at yourself when you do something silly or wacky is good for you, too.
When you laugh enough, you are developing a youthful outlook on life. That will reflect throughout your body and life. What a great way to get better, not older.
Enjoy turning your thinking around regarding growing older. Start dinner with dessert, tell a joke, or do whatever you want that will make you feel good. And, share your wisdom and gifts with others. Maybe you can turn them around so they start getting better, not older.
Stay tuned for the second article in the Getting Better series to read about three other tips to keep you on your path to your destiny.
More thoughts on this subject can be heard at Some Of The Ways You Are Getting Better — Not Older