Wednesday, April 07, 2010
I recently contributed to a booklet , "Tips, Tools and Resources for The Second Half of Life" published by Paulette Ensign at Tips Products International (www.tipsbooklets.com
For my part of the project, I had to distill the best of what I know about managing the aging process into five tips. Deciding what to say wasn't easy. I am always aware that something about my take on managing the aging process probably offends someone. When you are at a place in life where you can't do a whole lot to change your circumstances, or, even if you are happy with your life, you don't need some know-it-all telling you that your lifestyle sucks.
For that reason, I try to focus on giving advice to women who still can and want to make positive lifestyle choices.
So with that in mind, I proceeded to list my best tips. Number two on the list is really my number one best tip and it is: Stay in the "real world" as you age, connected to productive people who support your mindset and lifestyle. Do not buy into a senior community, join senior organizations, or participate exclusively in senior activities. Becoming part of the traditional senior culture is the number one reason healthy women age prematurely.
Is that harsh, antisocial, unrealistic advice? Not at all. It is the ultimate antiaging secret. It's advice based on my experience listening to and observing women living the traditional retired lifestyle.
Imagine my surprise when I received an email from a subscriber who said the tip should be "bronzed."
I asked why she thought it should be bronzed. She gave me a brief but detailed run-down on what life is like in her retirement community. It confirmed for me that I'm on the right track, and I need to be shouting my "stay in the real world" message ever more loudly, without concern that someone may be offended.
I've said it so many times and I'll keep saying it: Retirement is not ordained by God nor is it enshrined as "Thou shall retire" in the Ten Commandments. Retirement took hold along with the creation of Social Security during the Great Depression when most people didn't live much beyond age sixty-five. Since then, the lifespan has increased dramatically yet people still retire at age sixty-five, ill-prepared financially, mentally, and physically for the bonus years ahead. Many wind up huddled together, yet alone, in decline oriented senior communities.
As long as we are mentally and physically competent, we can be independent and productive in our mature years--of value to ourselves and others. Being productive after age sixty-five is not a form of punishment; it's a gift that promotes freedom and independence.
Because of that, I'm sticking with my cranky advice: Stay in the "real world" as you age, connected to productive people who support your mindset and lifestyle. Do not buy into a senior community, join senior organizations, or participate exclusively in senior activities. Becoming part of the traditional senior culture is the number one reason healthy women age prematurely.
Do I hear an "Amen"?
Barbara Morris, R. Ph.