Sometimes we get so caught up in our fears about aging that we forget to appreciate the journey – and the benefits of growing older. My client, Mark, a retired attorney, who is working on planning his future post-retirement told me how rewarding it was to spend time with his grandchildren and enjoy a slower pace of life.
“I worked hard my entire career to provide for my family, but I missed out on so many family events because of my job: birthday parties, school plays, recitals, holiday celebrations, you name it. Most nights I didn’t come home from the office until late and I worked weekends too. But now I have a chance to get to know my grandkids and I love taking them places like museums, the aquarium, and the zoo. Plus, it gives my kids a break – now they’re the ones working hard,” he said. “And I get a kick out of telling my grandkids what the world was like without cell phones, the Internet, and social media. They’re shocked to hear that when I was a kid, we would play outside all day long during the summer and not come home until dinnertime.”
While our society may not value the wisdom and experience of elders as much as we’d like, some studies show that older adults have improved mental health and are happier than younger adults. They’ve learned to cope with disappointment and adversity and have come to terms with their successes and failures. They also have more freedom to do the things they always wanted to do.
“The other thing I can do now is volunteer,” Mark added. “I spend 5 hours a week mentoring entrepreneurs through the Small Business Administration SCORE program, and I also do some pro-bono legal work for the Legal Aid Society. When I’m not doing that or spending time with the grandkids, I’m out on the golf course and FINALLY improving my swing!”
Strong social connections, having a sense of meaning and purpose, and taking good care of yourself mentally and physically all contribute to happiness and healthy aging. As C.S. Lewis, the author of Alice in Wonderland said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 765-341-9295 or email us at Shannon@AgingLifeCareConsultants.com. We’ll be happy to assist!