Three Key Things to Do in Your Senior Years

Fulfillment in Senior Years. Copyright: aesta1

Now that I am way back into my senior years, I have had a taste of what to do. Some things I did were fantastic, and some were failures. Some were memorable, and some I just erased from my memory. So much garbage, I have to tell you. But if we don’t try, we’ll end up sitting or lying on our couches and being entertained by K-dramas or other soap operas. 

After hours of this, I often ask myself, what have I done? 

So, today, my mind wandered into some things seniors like me can do, and my thoughts, assisted by online research and whine from my other senior friends, came up with these.

Some may think these all require resources you may not have. You’re in for a surprise at how much of these you can enjoy for less money or free once you put your mind to it. I almost forgot where I was. Here they are:

Take care of your body.

Exercise, eat healthily, hydrate, and see your doctor regularly. The dollar signs are showing in your mind $for Pilates Courses, Yoga, Acupuncture, Massage, or Chiropractors. Yes, these cost money, but some can be paid for by your insurance, especially if you have your doctor’s referral. Many of these exercises will not cost you money.

For a week, I had been looking at a card from a chiropractor who promised that he could change your posture as it affects your health. I planned to give the clinic a visit. But as I lay on my couch browsing what I could watch, I considered what YouTube could offer. I was surprised at how many chiropractors provide tips on how to work on your posture. I focused only on those I could do in my lazy state of no exercise. I did the exercise not regularly but only on times when I remembered and wherever I could do it. After about two weeks of doing these, I was surprised at my change, so I was encouraged to do it more and look for other exercises I could do. 

It is not simply the exercises but also the food we ingest. Shall we talk about these? Once, I baked a cake, and since I was alone, I ate it all. And I’m not even an expert baker. Sweets, baked goods, and so many favourites tempt us as we’re at home, and the fridge and the pantry are only steps away. Now, I buy fresh and dried berries and place bowls in front of my couch, so I often reach out for them and forget to search for other snacks. 

Hydrate. Often, we need to remember to drink water. A whole morning can pass without me drinking water. Of course, dehydration leads to other problems like dry skin leading to eczema, or even more severe than this. To remember, I place two glasses of water in front of my couch, and once, I finish one glass, I replenish it, so each time I look at these glasses, I drink. 

Sometimes, I laugh when I think of doctors’ and dentists’ visits as the starred activities in my calendar. Such appointments competed with meetings and conferences in the past. Now, they are the highlights of our week. Well, go for it.

Improve your mental health.

Losing our memory is often a concern at this stage, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. When I talk with my friends, loneliness comes up. A number complain that they need someone to talk to, as many Seniors live independently. I have Alexa to harass, and each time I tell her something to do, I have a smile on my face. 

You have to be more creative in finding ways to socialize. We are lucky now that we are connected. You can talk to friends and other family members online if those close to you cannot see you. Pursue a hobby and join clubs around this. Read books and enjoy the ups and downs of the characters. You can learn from them how to handle life’s challenges. 

Make sure you get enough sleep. Try to spend time with nature and with funny people. Watch comedians you like and laugh. There’s nothing like laughter to make your day. 

Treat yourself to something you love. You have overworked yourself in the past. Now is the time to be kind to yourself. Go and have an affogato. Watch your favourite actor or actress. Buy yourself something nice. Go to a spa.

Feed your Spirit

Expand your consciousness each day. Travel and explore new places. Meet new people. Engage in new activities. Try new food. Let its flavours wake up your taste. Go beyond what you’ve always done. Try meditation. Join classes and get transported to a world beyond your senses. 

Over and beyond these, be yourself. Do what feels good to you, what brings you joy and fulfillment. You are unique. Don’t be a copycat. Appreciate what your friends do and what is happening to them but know You. Only You knows what will be good for You. Your Senior Years are your biggest bonus. You can do whatever you want now—no boss to break you in, no child to care for, and no more fears about looks. So, go and make your senior years your best.

Anger As A Valid Emotion

The other day as I was walking back from my trip to the pharmacy, I saw a man take his shirt off and hit the pole with it several times until he got exhausted, shouting simultaneously. The words were incoherent, but the anger was palpable. It was a sunny morning and many people were walking so I was not afraid. I was a bit concerned. 

Suppressed Anger. Copyright: aesta1

I went on with my walk home and drove to the cottage. My thoughts returned to that man’s anger in the lake’s quiet. Slowly, I was down into my depths, and I felt the rage as well. Persons, events, and memories flooded my mind, and I understood how much anger I repressed and denied in my life. I could hit a pole, too, like that man—more than a hundred times. 

Going back to my childhood, I felt anger but never got a handle on my feeling. I remembered my mother asking me why I was happy in school and with my friends, but the moment I arrived home, I got angry and vented my anger on anyone or anything.

I never thought about it then, or maybe because, at that time, I did not have the answer, so I let it slide. Looking back, my teachers and classmates had a say in my performance. My teachers rated me, and my classmates voted in classroom elections. My parents and people at home did not. So, in school and outside of the house, I pleased people. I was outstanding at pleasing people. I was a model student and topped everything, but something nagged inside me.

Maybe, because I was a second child and tried to get more attention, I hated home because my elder sister, the firstborn, was there. I resented this without anyone noticing it, or maybe they saw and recognized it as normal behaviour in a second child.

After years of this anger, I became an expert in hiding my anger from others. I hid it as my pride would never allow me to let others know that anything hurt or affected me. No way will they get such satisfaction. But the outbursts came, often at people I expected to understand me. Of course, they didn’t, as I had never expressed how I felt. Outwardly, I was an achiever, so nobody thought of the feelings I had as a second fiddle. They only saw the pride and wanted to deflate the inflated ego.

Sometimes, these outbursts would come at the most unexpected times. A word or comment could trigger it. After such strong emotions, my husband would say, Eow, where did that come from? 

Now, I am seriously taking the steps to acknowledge and accept this anger. 

Anger was inside me, ignored or denied for many years. I grew up in a culture where you do this. You are encouraged to keep to yourself negative emotions for harmony within the family and the more extensive group the family is part of.

Acknowledging anger started my liberation. I accept it as a valid emotion responding to what threatens or hurts me. It no longer has a hold on me. I have a handle on it.

Silver Laughter: The Transformative Power of Humour in Seniors

Humour. Copyright: aesta1

When my 70-plus-year-old friends and I go on long trips, we always ask our funny friends to sit by us. You know why. We overlook the time when we keep laughing.

Humour brings joy, alleviates stress, and enhances our social connections. I only wish I have this sense of humour. Sadly, when the Angel of God distributed this gift, I was not around. Still, I am here to share how humour can benefit Seniors.

Here are a few:

  1. Laughter boosts mood.
    Humour and laughter release endorphins, which are natural feel-good chemicals. Seniors who engage in humour and laughter experience an improved mood and increased happiness.
  2. Stress relief.
    Aging can come with challenges, but humour can be a stress reliever. Finding humour in everyday situations helps seniors cope with stress, lighten their outlook, and maintain a positive mindset.
  3. Social connection.
    Sharing laughter and humour strengthens social bonds and fosters connections with others. Simply sharing funny stories with friends can create a sense of camaraderie and alleviate feelings of loneliness or isolation.
  4. Mental health.
    Humour stimulates the brain and promotes mental agility. It improves cognitive functioning, memory, and creativity. Activities like solving puzzles, playing games, or watching comedy shows can be mentally stimulating and entertaining.
  5. Perspective and resilience.
    Humour helps seniors maintain a sense of perspective and resilience when facing challenges. It allows us to find the lighter side of life and approach difficulties with a positive attitude.

It is, however, essential to note that humour should always be respectful and sensitive to individual preferences. What may be funny to one person might not be to another. When using humour with seniors, it’s essential to consider their cultural background, values, and personal circumstances. Otherwise, it can break relationships.

How Do We Integrate Mindfulness into Our Lives?

Still Nature Scene. Copyright: aesta1

In the previous post on mindfulness, I focused on mindfulness and its benefits for us, Seniors. This post will outline mindfulness techniques we can easily incorporate into our daily lives to cultivate a greater sense of present-moment awareness and well-being. I included here the ones that I have tried to practice:

1. Mindful Breathing

Paying attention to your breath is a fundamental mindfulness practice. You can do this easily while doing your everyday chores. All you have to do is to find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and bring your attention to the sensation of your breath as it enters and leaves your body. Become aware of the rise and fall of your abdomen or the feeling of air passing through your nostrils. Whenever your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath.

2. Body Scan

This technique involves systematically bringing awareness to different parts of your body. Starting from your toes and moving upward, gently scan your body, noticing any sensations or areas of tension. As you do this, keep a non-judgmental awareness of each part of your body. Allow any feeling to be present and be present to it. Do not try to change any of them.

3. Mindful Observation

Choose an object or element from your surroundings, such as a flower, a piece of art, or a scene in Nature. Direct your attention to that object and observe it as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Notice its colours, shapes, textures, and any other details. Engage all your senses and fully immerse yourself in observing that object.

4. Walking Meditation

Walking meditation is a way to practice mindfulness while moving. Choose a quiet space and amble, paying attention to each step and the sensations in your feet as they make contact with the ground. Feel the energy from the ground under your feet. 

Notice the movements of your body and the environment around you. If your mind wanders, gently guide your attention back to the sensations of walking.

5. Loving-Kindness Meditation 

This practice involves cultivating love, compassion, and kindness towards oneself and others. Start by sitting comfortably and bring to mind someone for whom you have warm feelings. Repeat phrases such as “May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be safe” while genuinely extending those well-wishes to that person. Gradually expand your circle of well-wishing to include yourself, loved ones, neutral individuals, and even difficult people. I often light a candle for the person I want to send love to.

6. Mindful Eating

While eating, take a moment to slow down and fully engage your senses. Notice the colours, smells, and textures of your food. Chew slowly and savour each bite, paying attention to the flavours and sensations. Be present with the entire eating experience, from the moment you pick up your food to the moment you finish.

Remember that mindfulness is a practice, and it’s normal for your mind to wander during these exercises. The key is gently bringing your attention back to the moment without judgment. As you integrate these techniques into your daily life, you’ll gradually develop a greater sense of mindfulness and present-moment awareness.

Embracing the Present: The Gift of Mindfulness for Seniors

Practicing Mindfulness

Isn’t it wonderful to be fully present to someone or something? It’s a moment full of magic. Mindfulness is a powerful tool to cultivate a resounding presence, enhance well-being, and find joy in simple moments. It offers you a doorway to engaging with life fully, embracing each day with gratitude and awareness.

Ages ago, a missionary sister from Africa told us how the locals she was living with in Kenya would come to visit and stay for hours, just being there. We don’t do these visits. When nothing happens for even a few minutes, we get anxious. We can’t even wait in stores.

For Seniors, we have the time to spend with those we love, with something we enjoy or are curious about. So, this is our moment to be more mindful and look at people and events with patience and appreciation. But what is mindfulness?

1. The Essence of Mindfulness: Living in the Present Moment

The key to Mindfulness is to be present in the here and now. It is embracing each moment with curiosity and non-judgment.

I was talking with a friend who is now in her 80s, and we acknowledged that we immediately make judgments. Instantaneously, we do. We were programmed to do so.

Mindfulness cultivates a deeper appreciation for life’s simple events and for people we encounter everyday. Each person is unique and every event is full of meaning.

2. Cultivating Emotional Well-being: Nurturing Inner Harmony

Mindfulness can support emotional well-being in Seniors. It offers techniques for recognizing and managing emotions, cultivating self-compassion, and fostering resilience. As we transition to being alone or be neglected, we need ways to manage our feelings and our ways of being with everyone especially with people around us.

It includes mindful breathing, body scan meditation, and loving-kindness meditation to promote emotional balance and inner harmony.

3. Enhancing Physical Health: Mindful Movement and Self-Care

Mindfulness promotes physical health and vitality for Seniors. Mindfulness encourages gentle movement practices, such as mindful walking, chair yoga, or Tai Chi, to improve balance, flexibility, and overall well-being. 

4. Sharpening Cognitive Abilities: Focus and Mental Clarity

Mindfulness practices can support Seniors’ cognitive health and mental clarity. It improves focus, attention, and memory through mindfulness-based exercises Engaging in mindfulness practices stimulates mental agility and improves overall cognitive abilities.

Some Religious Sisters practice “presence de Dieu,” during which they ring the bell at specific points of the day and then recollect themselves. It makes them focus on what is essential in their lives in the midst of activities.

5. Nurturing Social Connections: Compassionate Interactions

Mindfulness enhances social interactions and fosters deeper connections through mindful communication techniques that promote active listening, empathy, and understanding.

It also includes practices for cultivating gratitude and appreciation for loved ones, fostering meaningful relationships, and contributing to a sense of community.

6. Cultivating Self-Care Rituals: Moments of Stillness and Reflection

There are some mindfulness exercises that you can incorporate into daily routines, such as morning rituals, mindful pauses throughout the day, or evening reflection practices. Start with creating a tranquil space at home for meditation, relaxation, and self-care.

Sometimes, I light a candle and send a friend or a family member loving-kindness wherever they are and whatever they do. It makes me present to the person.

Mindfulness is a profound gift that you can embrace to bring a sense of calm, clarity, and contentment to your life. For Seniors, practicing Mindfulness can cultivate emotional well-being, enhance physical health, sharpen cognitive abilities, nurture social connections, and create moments of stillness and reflection. When fully present to someone or something, magic happens. Give your senior years more magic.

A Seniors’ Day Out

We’re all in our 70s, about 33 of us, going for a day in a city famous for seafood. We mainly wanted to eat a whole array of seafood, a favourite for this group. We grew up in the same town and went to the same grade school and high school, so there is a camaraderie among us brought about by years of growing up. Now, we are growing old together. Though some of us live in other parts of the world, we try to be home in our village, and when we are around, we get together as much as possible. 

Today, we were off to Roxas City, about three hours from our place in Iloilo. We decided to go early as most of us woke up early anyway. So, at 5 in the morning, we gathered in our town center, and there, two vans provided by two in our group waited for us.

Off we went, and one of the valuable tips I’ve learned is to have a bag of jokes to entertain everyone in the van. You will have so much fun. To energize the group further, bring a collection of old songs. Download it on your phone. They will remember their old days when you play the songs and enjoy singing along with the recording. More stories will come out of their memories. Make sure you have your battery pack. 

When planning this trip, most of the group who had been there before told us of some of the challenges they encountered. These guided us in our choices of restaurants. Knowing that most in our group were diabetic, many brought snacks, so there was enough food and drinks in the van. 

We only planned for lunch but seeing how early we arrived in the city, we proceeded to a restaurant on top of a hill big enough to accommodate us and serve breakfast immediately. We found one attached to the Convention Center. It was raining, and they immediately prepared the table and food for us because they had enough staff. Some staff even carried umbrellas for those in our group who braved the drizzle to take pictures.

The hilltop Cafe Terraza ended up as the perfect place for us. We enjoyed our breakfast and rested a bit while the others went to take pictures. Many started bringing out their pills and randomly sharing stories around the table—a great start to our day.

The restaurant for lunch, Coco Veranda, is on the beach, and you can enjoy watching the waves as you eat when the weather is fine. The weather prevented us from doing this, but it did not diminish our fun in being together and enjoying each other’s company.

Days before we left on this trip, we contacted the restaurant manager of the chosen place and outlined the dishes we wanted to enjoy. Also the time we wanted it ready, so when we arrived, they were prepared for us. After they’d served the food, silence reigned as we delved into the different seafood dishes. We had fun tasting some of our favourites and some unusual dishes. 

The trip is complete with picture taking. We are advancing in age, and a few pass on each year, so we enjoy each other’s company when we can. 

We saw the oldest bell in Pan-ay and went to Banika market, where they sell the best-dried fish. More picture-taking and buying, activities we always relish and do with gusto.  

We all enjoyed the trip, and the group wants to plan another soon.

A Senior’s Memory-A Poem

The tremendous power
Of memory unearth
Life’s incredible wealth
Fill the minds of Seniors

A Senior Reciting Rhodora

I thought of my friend,
Who recited Rhodora
A poem we learned when
In high school

That night my sister and
I searched the internet for all
The classic poems we’ve learned
Through years of literary exposure

Longfellow, Emerson, Gray, Allan Poe
All came to mind
With Shakespeare’s sonnets too
Even Flanders field inserted itself

Words came back
More to my sister than me
She has always been the literary
In the family

And feelings came as memories claimed
It made me wonder why some I remembered
And others I could not
Like the poem Rhodora
Our friend recited

Our minds are tricky,
Playing with our memory
Some things we remember and
Some we forget

Indeed our memory we treasure
As Seniors think they start fading more
But it’s because our memories of yore
Crowd our minds with so much lore.

Revisiting Your Roots

I used to visit my home province, but only sometimes and only for short periods. Thus, I couldn’t explore the changes since I was a child growing up in this place.

Revisiting Your Roots. Copyright: aesta1

This time, I decided to stay on for four months, and after a month, yes, it took me a month to settle down and fully appreciate the experience of being a local again, not just a foreigner visiting another place.

Even inserting back into my family again, knowing the new members and seeing the growth in each one is a bit baffling. Sometimes, it is hard to comprehend how some people can change so much, but they do. The dynamics have changed, too. It is interesting to watch and find out what role I can play, especially in celebrations they have done without me for many years.

It used to be that I was only visiting, and everyone tried to accommodate me, knowing that I would be gone in a week or two. These days, it is different. I am putting down roots again, which shows continuity. I am reestablishing relationships to which I have not given any attention for years, knowing my former friends and relating with them again. I have changed, and they, too, have changed. It is interesting how this plays out.

Some have detached themselves from the group, but many try to be part of the interaction. We visit each other and organize activities to bond once more and refresh our memories of things we used to enjoy. Some have passed, and we hold masses for them lest we forget. It is sad because, at our age, we face our passing daily.

We had our Christmas party this year, and I hosted it, but each one brought food. It started at nine and ended at 5. I thought at first, what are we going to do? Time was even lacking for other things we wanted to do. It’s as if we were in high school once more.

Those who had not attended other previous celebrations enjoyed themselves so much that they promised, from now on, to be in all of the gatherings. They had so much fun that they wanted to experience it again. We forgot ourselves, and we were children in the playground of the past, playing, shoving, dancing, singing, showing our talent, and taunting each other. We were together our whole childhood but lost touch after high school graduation.

The years of building a career and raising families have left our relationships without attention. Only when the kids had grown did we find time to connect again. This connection strengthened when we saw each other at our golden jubilee, 50 years after graduation from high school. Many of us had not seen each other or talked to many.

Strengthening these connections gave us so much joy that we tried to gather whenever there were occasions to celebrate or gather. We always find reasons, of course, especially when some who now live in other countries come home. These were occasions to connect, celebrate, and share whatever we had, even around snacks in the afternoon.

Gathering of friends. Copyright: aesta1

These occasions always lead to reminiscing about our childhood days, what we remembered and what news we received about our classmates and friends. We often learn about the families in our town since childhood. Some information brings joy, some pain, and others, sorrow, but whatever they are, they are always welcome. If the persons are around, they will get congratulated, praised, reprimanded, or sternly talked to, depending on what is shared.

Because we grew up and knew each other’s families, we feel free to react to the sharing as in a family circle. We could be brutal among friends who have grown up together because we are secure in our care for each other. It is such a comfort to be with people one could be one’s self.

Our roots are solid. We belong to the same town knowing the same families. We knew each other’s families and shared our joys, frustrations, and pains. Going back to one’s roots is a very comforting experience. If you still need to do this, start now.

Lessons My Garden Taught Me

Patola with Fruits. Copyright: aesta1

Little did I know that starting this garden would yield not only produce but lessons that I keep learning every day.

I started this garden because I love to putter around a garden early morning with my cup of coffee in one hand and a song in my heart, looking at every plant’s daily changes.

As the garden progressed, things kept changing. The changes are not only in the plant’s growth but also in people directly or indirectly involved in the garden.

I was the only one interested in having this garden. I had no idea I started something several in the family love to be involved in. So, this is the first lesson I learned. At that time, my husband and I were still working and could not take substantial time to be in the garden. Other family members took the lead, and I gave up designing and landscaping my garden.

The first time this happened, I resented it. However, I was realistic enough to know that time was not with me. Other people have the interest, the workforce, and the time.

Because of this, the garden expanded and grew beautifully. Different people used it for their interests, so the garden became a series of beautiful memories. At one time, sunflowers filled it, becoming the setting of celebrations and photo opportunities.

These days, plots of different kinds of vegetables grace it, yielding produce for our consumption and the market. The garden is now earning little to defray its maintenance and development expenses.

Black Beans and Corn. Copyright: aesta1

One of the lessons I have learned is that a garden requires time and presence. In the Tropics, where plants grow or die fast when not watered, you must keep your watch or lose some expensive plants. Until the plants take root, you must give them care.

When the plants start producing, your job is not over. They come in abundance that you can hardly harvest them at their peak. There’s a time when they’re just suitable for cooking. Not too ripe or mature and not too young. The gardeners also told me that with some plants, you couldn’t leave the fruits to mature on the vines as that would stop them from growing new shoots. When the plants are healthy, the produce is so abundant that you can’t eat them all, so you need to share or sell them. I was appalled one day when I spent hours harvesting string beans, and all the vendors paid for it when I sent it to the market was a little less than $2. So two hours or probably more of my day was only worth that much? I was discouraged, but the benefits of eating fresh produce gave me hope and a new resolve.

Squash and Okra. Copyright: aesta1

There is satisfaction in having your garden. Every morning, I watch for new blooms, shoots, or fruits. In the tropics, it is fast to grow native varieties. Aside from eating fresh produce, I get to help others. One of these vendors comes regularly, and she picks the vegetables she would cook and sell for the workers at the irrigation close to us. She has eight kids and a husband who cannot support the family. But this lady wanted all her kids to go to school and earn degrees later. So, she does whatever she can to achieve her dream. She picks up what she wants and gives our gardener a fair price when she comes. Sometimes, she has only so much money, and she would tell us she’ll share more next time. Do I bother? No, I am happy that this person works hard to improve her life and that of her children.

So, we keep investing in the garden, giving us produce and joy. We couldn’t be happier.

Celebrate Change with Anticipation


From the side of your eyes, nothing changed. For others looking at you, the changes are pretty remarkable.

Often, we’re the last ones to understand the impact of change on ourselves because we usually can’t see it.

As your body migrates south, the ultimate destiny being 30-inch ankles, we hope wisdom migrates north, accepting both the losses and the gains.

But in each landmark, our pace slows down a little bit of knowledge and experience and insight make us much more sure and creative.

For a long time, lifetime change is a whole world of trade-offs between the physical and the intellectual and if we celebrate what is going well and what is doing better, each of life’s seasons becomes enjoyable.

Twenty years ago, we could visit a medieval city and one day feel we’ve given it a review. Today, we’re lucky if we can get out of the main square in a day. We’d not really see more, but everything we see has much more meaning, kickstarts more thoughts and ideas, and reaches sideways to hold hands with many memories.

What we’re looking at hasn’t changed, but what we bring to the viewing has changed remarkably. Thoughtfulness replaced speed, and variety has changed, linking up memory chains.

So as we look at lifestyle change, the focus is not on deterioration and loss. Its expansion of capacities and gain new layers of experience in everything we see and do.

The fun quotient is either stable or goes up if we understand that sprinting is not the only way of moving through life. So, in personal appearance, we’ve come to move a little further up the index. In food, clarity of taste and presentation moves up the ladder past bulk and portability. In opinions, balance becomes more evident. In travel, comfort takes precedence over ticking boxes.

Research becomes as essential as a surprise—the search for meaning moves ahead of the need for new jolts of experience.

Life becomes much more satisfying and engaging as the constant need for fireworks abates. Marriage, the first children, college, their marriage, jobs, and grandchildren cause massive lifestyle changes. The anticipation of these events must always outweigh any sense of loss if we want to grow with the years.