I stood on the advanced tees at the golf tournament saying to myself, “I don’t believe I am supposed to be hitting from these tees. They are for ‘old’ people. You had to be 70 years old to hit from the forward tees. You were classified as a ‘super senior.’ I was 73 at the time and for three years I had pushed to the back of my mine the fact I was not a ‘super’ senior. Turning 70 was rifted with emotional landmines. All this hullabaloo about aging gracefully was ‘for the birds.’ “I’ll show them!” Off to the gym on a regular regime, eating all that healthy food and oh! yes, a little aging cream to make my eyes look normal. I didn’t have an aging problem. I had an attitude problem. I had to accept the inevitable changes of aging rather than seeing them as a crisis. Aging changes everyone.
The realization of the my attitude came to me as I sat in a restaurant when in came several “blue-haired” ladies with red hats on their heads. For the next 45 minutes I observed some of the happiest people I have seen. Their enthusiasm was contagious and their laughter made the entire restaurant fill with glee. That’s who I wanted to be.
During my semi-crisis I had told a friend “I don’t mind growing old, I just mind growing ugly.” The Red Hat Society made me realize there is more to life than how you look. Start with a great sense of humor, find meaning to life, find things that are important to you, follow your passion, keep things out in front of you, ‘be cool’. Keep the sizzle in your love life.
That sounds all great but how? Let’s begin with not getting bogged down. It can drive you mad. There is not anything you can do—-the clock is ticking. If you live to be 90 years of age you are probably not going to be living alone in a beautiful apartment and driving your car to the grocery store or walking a mile every day. Accept this statement and you have begun your first step. You are in the process of being ‘born again,’ only this time not as a baby or as a Christian but as a Senior Citizen.
Phase two after your new birth is to get over the stereotypes about being old. It is not disgraceful to morn the lost of your beauty, but don’t be a mama cat trying to be a kitten. Find out what to expect for someone your age. A good source of information is on line at Web MD. Stay active with moderate exercise everyday. Don’t drift into isolation or bitterness as this will lead to depression. If you are going down, go down swinging. And by all means don’t focus on “what is not working.”
The famous psychologist Carl Yung said “humans are created with the longing for belonging which is found in a community. Consistently engage with others who are like-hearted, cultivating your vertical relationship with God and your horizontal relationship with others.
So I journey with rejoicing
Toward the city of God’s light,
While each day my joy is deeper,
And the pathway grows more bright.