In my quest to age well, I’ve been exploring three paths. The first path is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The second path is releasing outdated and unproductive habits, perceptions, and beliefs. The third path is addressing issues that cause distress to older adults, such as email scams and lack of preparation.
Maybe, though, there is a fourth path - adding life to your days. An old quote says
The Times of India website describes it this way.
Adding days to my life means prolonging the time I am alive, and adding life to my days means experiencing a feeling of well-being in circumstances that bring joy, creativity, and achievement to one's life.
Ronald Rook, a well-known runner, once wrote, “I don’t run to add days to my life. I run to add life to my days.”
Ann Kahl, who began running when she was 50 and created a calligraphy business at age 65, seems to be a noteworthy role model for adding life to one’s days. You can watch a brief Facebook interview with her by clicking here.
The words “add life to our days” caught my eye. What does that mean, and isn’t it a part of aging well?
My starting place when seeking answers is to read. I found a couple of online articles that offered beneficial information.
The first article, Here Are My Top Five Ways to Add More Life to Your Days, suggests
Doing something different. Maybe your daily routine is set in stone. Why not take a chance and change it?
Discovering something different. Learning something new can help your awareness of the world around you.
Traveling. Visit somewhere new.
Engaging with meaningful people. There's nothing like finding people that expand you.
Developing your purpose. Start your day with an article or podcast that fills you with inspiration.
The second article, 10 Simple Steps to Make the Most of Every Day, suggests
1. Waking up early. Early mornings are quiet, peaceful, productive, and energizing.
2. Accomplishing one big task. Everyone has projects, work, and time requirements – things they need to accomplish. But to make the most of this day, choose one of them and do it first. If you finish, move on to the next.
3. Doing one thing you love every day. Apart from the day-to-day requirements of living life, you have dreams, goals, and hopes. You have hobbies and activities that breathe life into who you are.
4. Nurturing your soul. Find time daily to feed your soul by embracing gratitude, laughter, hope, and faith.
5. Resetting. Take 10 minutes each evening to clear the clutter and refresh your home for the next day. Tomorrow, you will thank yourself.
MY FIVE WAYS TO ADD MORE LIFE TO MY DAY
My definition of bringing more life to each day is doing things that make me happy and finding good in the things that don’t. What might yours be?
My foundation is maintaining a healthy lifestyle based on the six dimensions of wellness and having a purpose.
In addition I plan to:
Reset each evening by taking care of lingering worries and tasks, having as much as possible ready for the next day, and nourishing my soul.
Get up early and set the day - make a to-do list, and do the ones I don’t want to do first.
Continue writing this newsletter, but expand it for caretakers and people who have older adults in their lives. This is a chosen purpose and what I love to do.
Learn how to paint well. My daughter and I have a daily “art date.”
Take short and small trips. They are revitalizing.
It seems as if those five ways enable me to bring life to my day - doing what I love, learning new things, growing, and, yes, aging well. However, the list may need tweaking over time.
My theory is that bringing more life to one’s days may help promote aging well and perhaps bring more days to life. What do you think?
Beautiful, Janice. And practical, as always. Thank you. When I was young I always had a to-do list on the kitchen counter and by the end of the day everything would be done! Not any more. At age 79, my "to-do" list has morphed into a "Got it done" list. Every evening I write down what I DID do today - mopped the kitchen, dead-headed the geraniums, finished writing an article, took a short walk. Every morning now begins with a pat on the back -"Look what I accomplished yesterday!" and that adds positive life to my new day first thing!
"Add life to your days, not days to your life." In my opinion, that's the best way to look at life going forward. Great article, Janice!