Seniors and Social Isolation: Understanding the Causes and Mitigating the Risks

Recently, I went to help out a friend who had a double mastectomy. I had to fly out of Canada to the U.S. I realized that getting help from people around us at our age is difficult. Most of our friends also have health issues, If not them, their spouses. A number no longer drives.

At her age of 77, it is difficult to find friends and family who could be with her as most are no longer able, even if they want to help. I saw how much social isolation is a startling reality among many Seniors.

Social Isolation in Seniors. Copyright: aesta1

I also clearly saw why social isolation is a serious concern among seniors. I saw in my friends’ circle the reasons why they live an isolated existence:

  • Lack of Mobility. A number no longer drives and can’t move around quickly. 
  • Losing a spouse, family, and friends can lead to isolation. Much of the news we get every morning is about someone in our circle passing on or having health problems.
  • Retirement. When we retire, we lose not only our contacts but also our sense of purpose and identity. I asked a friend why she continues working when there’s no need for it. She replied that work gives her a reason to get up and dress up. Otherwise, many retirees stay in their pyjamas most of the day. 
  • Health problems. Some of us may have mini-strokes, cancer, or other illnesses and, thus, avoid many social interactions. 
  • Lack of access to transportation. As we age, our confidence diminishes, so we hesitate to drive. Some of us got used to having our spouses drive us, and when they pass on or become unable to do so, we find it difficult to attend social events.
  • Negativism. In several cultures, families are protective of seniors. They are discouraged from going out on their own. They need a companion each time they go out, which limits their attendance to social activities or even just visiting their friends or doing things they enjoy.

Negative consequences often follow as more isolation occurs in a Senior’s life. These include:

  • Depression and Anxiety. In the absence of social interaction, Seniors tend to focus on themselves, and issues around health make them feel sad and concerned. Social activities tend to help them forget whatever discomfort they feel.
  • Loneliness. Seniors who live alone often feel lonely. There are only enough soap operas to keep them entertained. 
  • Cognitive Decline. The lack of interaction limits the use of our mental faculties. Our forgetfulness becomes more intense, and our capacity to do things erodes. Some of my friends have driving issues and need more reminders of familiar routes. Even playing games is less helpful. Interacting with friends engages and stimulates our mental faculties.
  • Increased risks of health problems. Being alone and lonely leads to heart issues and mental breakdown. 

We must take this issue of social isolation among seniors seriously. There are things we can do to address this issue of social interaction:

  • Sharing Accommodation. In some societies, Seniors live with their families. Our friends discussed it with their kids and divided the year between two families. In many Asian cultures, unmarried or widowed aunts and uncles live with families. Their presence is a big help in the kids’ development process. They often help cook or be present when the kids come home from school.
  • Providing transportation. Friends and family can do this to enable Seniors in their families to attend social events. 
  • Becoming part of a group. Seniors can join a club, take a class in a community or senior center near them, or volunteer for important causes.
  • Introducing them to active Seniors defying age-old prejudices so they have models of what is possible.
  • Living in age-friendly communities. If not, create one. You can do much to engage your neighbourhood in becoming friendly and supportive of Seniors.
  • Hiring caregivers who can be with them and provide them with the company and support necessary. Someone who can drive and have a license is a big help.

With a bit of concern, this problem need not be serious. Individuals and communities can help make Seniors in our neighbourhood less socially isolated and more engaged. It is a concern that we can all address.

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.

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.

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.

Lessons I’ve Learned From the Loss of A Loved One

Well, what says you? I have been retired for some years now and so are my friends. Not only that, many in my circle have now passed on—a staggering reality for many Seniors. 

Loss of a Loved One
Loss of a Loved One

My husband passed away three years ago, and only today, another in our high school class more than 50 years ago also died. 

Death is so much a part of life. More so in our senior years. The earlier we accept this reality, the better will be our appreciation when it takes place in our lives.

We all dread it, I understand. But, at one time or another, someone who is so much a part of our life passes on. The pain and the loss are something you don’t want to wish on, even your worst enemy. 

How do you go through this? How do you manage? When, even amid fun, the memory of the loved one who passed on occupies your thoughts? How do you forget? 

How do you hold the tears that, at any moment, pour out? How can you enjoy anything when your thoughts often return to not being there?

Loss can be debilitating. It can ground you in misery, fear, and loneliness. Even with supportive family and friends, it is not like having your loved one there.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned:

  1. I realized how valuable companionship is, to have someone to laugh with, express your fears, foresee your reaction and smile at it understandably, hold your hand when the movie scares you, or discuss the often perplexing events in today’s world. 
  2. I have to learn to do many things on my own. Eating out alone in a restaurant gives me a bit of discomfort. Or going to a movie or a show on my own. There’s no one to whisper some comments to or share your delight over a dish or a performance.
  3. I don’t enjoy long drives alone. When my husband was around, our long drives were moments of getting to know things in our past, childhood, or thoughts about many things. The sharing somehow becomes more intimate and genuine. Listening to the radio now doesn’t cut it.
  4. I don’t enjoy socializing on my own. It’s like half is missing. My husband was very gregarious and never wanting for words and stories. I, on the other hand, would prefer only to listen. Now, I have to talk more. Maybe, this is not so bad after all.
  5. It’s always fun to have someone around you to harass, laugh with, cry on, love, and be loved. No matter how much you search for a replacement, it is not the same. Mourn your loss. It is important to do this. However, you have to move on and look for ways to live life after your loss. It is not the end. It is the beginning of something different, fascinating and satisfying when you allow yourself to experience it.

A friend told me that those who died are still with us, and I like this. I talk to my husband all the time. When driving, I ask him to help me navigate the traffic, make it easy to merge on the highway, and don’t forget to close the gas cover or leave my credit card or wallet on the pump.

I see friends in other countries. At least I have company in seeing places and enjoying restaurants in those cities. I see friends where I live. 

I have learned to be close to family, travel with them once in a while, visit them, and hang out with them. As was the case before, I have come to appreciate them more as I relate with them directly and not through my husband. 

I have worked on my fears and my tendency to depend on someone. I learn to do things like driving long distances, fixing things, taking care of things on my own, and dealing with loneliness. 

Each one of us deals with loss in a different way. 

But I have many friends who have lived alone because they have not married, divorced, or widowed. I’ve learned how to take things in stride from them and not let matters overwhelm me. They kept telling me that they’d done it for many years. Why am I complaining? Somehow, this pushes me to do the things I dread doing.

After three years, I feel I’m getting into the rhythm of living alone. As much as the first day it happened, I am still my husband, but I can cope with life alone.

I found how valuable a good relationship with our families and friends is. It’s strong support as I deal with my loss. I don’t think I would have managed if not for these relationships.

A Walk in the Woods

It’s Spring—time to be at the cottage. When I arrived, the leaves were not out yet. The trees were bare, and I could see much more.

Wild Flowers in the Woods

Because the plants growing underneath these trees are getting more sun, they’ve come to open themselves to the rays of the mighty sun and open themselves in beautiful blooms carpeting the woods with its flowers. It’s lovely to see these blooms coming out of the rotting leaves. Life is back. It is in color.

Lily of the Valley

This year, there are many surprises. One of the best is the Lily of the Valley. I haven’t seen it for years, but this year, it surprised me. I thought I was dreaming, but it was there with its fragrant tiny flowers.

But my favorite is always the trillium. In the early Spring, it fills the woods with white flowers. Then, after pollination, they turn to mauve. There’s the occasional mix of deep purple and yellow.

The violets are out, too. Mixed with the bright dandelions, it’s a field to admire.

These flowers bloom whether we are there or not to admire them. It just is—Nature’s prime lesson at this time. This being is what we can model in our lives as seniors. Wilting and dropping are parts of life. We celebrate it as we do the rising and the blooming.

Observing Nature with its changes every season, I think of the seasons in our lives. We go through stages, and when this happens, we resist with force and try all ways to alter them. Instead, Nature shows us how to be with the changes and live through them. Be excited about them.

Living through these changes is not at all a passive stance. It is a complete acceptance of what is happening and living it thoroughly, just as we delight to watch what will spring out every season and where one’s favorite flower will show itself this year.

Every year added to our age is something we need to celebrate. It always brings with it something new, something different. It expands our awareness of our being and how wonderfully made we are.

Today, for example, I found out I can move my left chest and right chest, my left hip, and my right hip, and as I breathe into them, I give them more energy. I am discovering more of my body as it calls my attention with its aches and pains.

Being old is not that bad. At times, we only focus on the deterioration of our bodies. We miss listening to the wisdom our bodies have learned in all its years of existence.

As I walk through the woods and look up at the trees, I see the new leaves sprouted. I thought to myself, and they’re all new. I thought of how they proudly displayed their beautiful colors in the Fall, and off they went when the winds blew.

As we age, we think of our prime days when we were vigorous, highly productive, and recognized. When we retire, we look with envy at the accomplishments of the younger ones and sometimes put them down. We talk of the good old days, much better than they have now.

Is this what we have learned from those many years? Is this what we can offer the younger generation? There must be a wiser way.

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Do Something WOW at Retirement


Seniors, what is that WOW you so desire? This is your chance at living it. Some of us may think this WOW is beyond our means. Maybe it is. But this is the challenge and having one at retirement makes life more exciting. 

We are now retired for 20 years the joy of early retirement) and each year is an adventure. Some are fun and easy and smooth sailing. Others are more challenging but all these contribute to what retirement is all about.

Before we retired, we struggled about what we will do. We had options laid out. We were clear about what we did not want but for what we want to do, we had no clue at all.

I can clearly remember the many walks we had on Siesta Key beach in Florida talking endlessly of what we want to do, each of us often left with thoughts on what the implications of these possibilities are.

We were concerned. We were uncertain. We were afraid of what the future held for us. We were afraid of where our dreams would bring us or how the dream of one of us would affect our lives. We hesitated to think as we did not want so many changes to our already happy existence.

But we knew that we could not just sit and watch endless streams of movies on television. We had to explore opportunities out there. We were still too young not to be engaged.

Once we started, we just kept going. We used our experience to start our own consulting and we just did this for 20 years. We cannot even tell you how much we enjoyed it. Until now, we have friends and colleagues all over the world with whom we worked and shared life.

We would take contracts only scheduled for the winter months which we wanted to avoid in Canada. Summer months were reserved for family. Our families lived in different parts of the world so Summer became our special time with each other.

Enough of my own experience. Now, back to you.

What image comes to you when retirement looms in your horizon? The end of fun? A quiet life? A trip somewhere? A life with family? Live your dream?

Most of us think of that day when we can do what we really like. Often, we associate this with retirement. But I tell you honestly, many of us who are now retired sometimes feel that we still are not able to do this. 

Yes, we find that our days are spent in countless little errands that by the time the day is over, there is no more time to do what we really like other than stretch out and have that glass of wine. Does this count? Most of our friends will definitely say yes. 

Of course, it depends on your own goal.

Many retirees enjoy doing little errands and taking care of grandchildren. Full-time grandmas fill up their time and this is their life. 

I know many of my friends do this and they enjoy it. They go with their grandchildren to their swimming practise, piano lessons or bring them to school. it depends on what you enjoy doing. 

My husband is not the only one. We just worked with someone who is 73 years old and had already 3 heart attacks. He loves to collect rare ceramics in blue and he works to be able to buy the more expensive ones which may overstretch his retirement pension.

Younger people now work harder and smarter to reach a much younger age to retire and be able to live the lifestyle they want. Others, just declare early retirement and live it NOW.

The style you choose to live your retirement depends on you. Many people now retire early. Once they have achieved their commitment and goals, they’re gone. But many, continue to get engaged. My husband retired when he was 53.

He was one of those lucky ones to have that freedom at such a younger age but he continued working until he passed on at 75. This time, he was doing what he really likes. He was no longer responsible for an organization so the stress was less and he enjoyed what he was doing.

How will you live your retirement?

The quality of your retirement will largely depend on the plan you have laid out not when you’re about to retire but early in your life. 

There are retirement concerns you can plan for but there are others you will only discover when you are retired.  But planning for the ones you know will help you deal with those concerns that you only find out as you live your retirement.

The good news is you have more wisdom to deal with these challenges so look forward to these as opportunities to expand your life. Having these challenges may still be the best thing that will ever happen to you.

7 Reasons to Celebrate Ageing

Celebrating Ageing
Celebrating Ageing in a Song

Ageing with anger is a speciality of Irish poets, American novelists and aahhhhh maybe, Indian pilots. For the rest of us, ageing can be an absolute joy.

If we’re very lucky, a sense of grace falls over us and although enigmatic smiles sometimes betray indigestion or even secret flatulence, they can also suggest that we’ve come to terms with our lives, that we can live with our own histories, that we’re not competitive in our legacies and that the world is not only the place to be but by far the best.

Money could be a part of this but looking at poor villagers in any Asian country, the smile of peace is there, the sense of being a part of a family’s history and its endless future has brought watchful contentment. 

Here are a few key reasons that ageing can be a blessing:

1. We enjoy life

Laughing at our own and others foibles leads to curious glances from others but it can really make an average day a good one.

My friend recently told me that sometimes while doing something very ordinary as cleaning her house, she stops and enjoys the fact that she feels really happy. We seldom felt this before if we ever did. We were so busy with living that we did not have time to pause and just feel our joy.

But now, we do have the time to savour whatever we feel and better still, whatever it is we are feeling, they no longer threaten us. Lfe has taught us that nothing really stays. The next moment, it’s going to be different. Everything turns for the good.

2. We celebrate what we have 

We have climbed the mountains, we poked around in a few of the depths. and we can now relax and stop wrestling with missed promises.

We have nothing to prove. We’ve gone beyond that. If you still are trying to outdo your friends. you have not grown. By this time, your friends know you very well and accept you as you are, so, relax and accept yourself and enjoy life by just being you.

Some in our circle of Seniors have not yet reached this moment of self acceptance. They still try to prove they are somebody so they get stressed at little things which do not support their image of themselves. They do everything to prove that they are better than anyone else and pressure their kids to enhance their image. But because we really can’t control circumstances and people like our kids, we get frustrated and eventually depressed.

With depression comes poor health and sickness. It’s our way of manipulating people and events. Our Senior years must not be like this. It must be enjoyed and lived joyfully. Let the cares and concerns of our earlier lives go and embrace what is, enjoy it and cherish whatever you have.

Nothing like the breath of life felt every morning could compare to all these concerns. Enjoy every day. Remember, we have limited supply of these so enjoy every moment.

3. We accept our shortcomings

In our 40s and 50s, mirrors are a tragedy. As we age, and gently become self caricatures not just physically but emotionally, our weaknesses fit in nicely to the thing we’ve become.

No longer do we have shortcomings. We realize that shortcomings are part of life and will always be there. We know this from experience so we are now able to laugh when we look at them. We can’t deny the aching body, the stooping posture, the wrinkled face, the constant reminder of arthritis, the blurred vision. We do something about them but we don’t let these stop us from enjoying our lives.

Yes, what we have become is what we celebrate in our Senior years. When we look at ourselves, each one of us, there are so many things we can celebrate in our last 60, 70, 80 or 90 years of life. Just the fact that we have reached this age alive, we should be happy. This, alone, is reason to celebrate.

4. We have clearer priorities mainly because we don’t have so many of them. 

We have time and space to focus on what is really important whether that’s learning or family or sports nostalgia or the craziness of politics. we can pick our spots. Besides, age has made us realize that only few things really matter. The many things we pursued when we were younger no longer have the same intensity in our Senior years.

5. We accept our grumpiness and go and hide when we feel it coming on. 

The random savaging of children, grandchildren and trim adherents are at last controlled.

Age has taught us that most things can be managed. Also, we have less stress so very few things worry us. We have reached an age when we know we can no longer do much so we let go.

6. We embrace everything that we are

More searching for who we really are? We’ve stopped that. We have accepted who we are, knowing it or not.

I remember the angst of younger years when we were driven by getting to know what careers fit us, what will I do with my life, how can I make myself better, what job will really be fun for me and many more. Now, I laugh at the fact that at my age, I still don’t really know myself and will never fully know as it reveals more each time I think I have a handle to what I really am.

7. Most importantly, we can sit back and reflect on our lives and the age we’ve lived through.

Even if our own story is not filled with drama, the headlines and achievements and tragedies of the world that have been our companion can consume hours of review and end with some tentative conclusions or insights that if we’re really careful, we can sell to the young as wisdom.

So, ageing is not the only thing we have ahead of us. It may also be the best time of life.