What choices are you making?
Do you know that you have been given an incredible and irrevocable gift - a gift that provides you with the power to choose your path in life?
Choice is the ability to make a decision when presented with two or more options and it is the purest expression of free will. This freedom allows you to shape your life exactly how you wish - provided you have the desire and resources to do so.
Some choices turn out to be very good and others turn out to be very bad. Let’s take a look at Bill for examples. On one hand, he made a very good choice when he went to the doctor for a wellness check. He hadn’t wanted to make the appointment, but was thankful that he did because his blood pressure was dangerously high. On the other hand, Bill made a very bad choice when he decided to buy the new truck he really wanted. He couldn’t afford it, but he ignored that fact. After making payments for a couple of months, he sold the truck - at a big loss. The monthly payments were just too high.
Good choices keep you going in the direction you want to go. Bad choices send you in the opposite direction and can quickly spiral into stress, confusion, and despair. You age is based on the summation of your choices. You are in charge!!
In terms of aging well, that means you make choices about your lifestyle, health care, personal pursuits, and plans for the future. They set the stage for you to experience healthy and active “golden years” or not.
If you want to age well you will want to make learning a priority throughout life. You will also want to participate in activities that combine physical, mental, and social activities. Finally, you will want to eat healthy foods, exercise, and enjoy an active social life.
Life expectancy was increasing for Americans until the pandemic hit. According to the Speaking of Women’s Health website:
The fastest-growing segment of the population is the 85-and-older age group. Despite advances in health care, however, many elderly people have chronic, incurable progressive diseases and need assistance with the activities of daily living. The greatest challenge facing people as they age is the prevention of physical disability and the extension of fulfilling life expectancy. Fortunately, recent studies suggest that healthy or successful aging is achievable, with sound planning for old age. Illnesses like diabetes, congestive heart failure, and some forms of dementia can be delayed or even prevented. Even loss of muscle strength with aging is partly preventable.
So, 78-year-old George and his wife Latisha can choose to watch TV, drink beer, and complain about their aching muscles and low energy or they can try something new like playing pool, enrolling in a class at the senior center, or joining an online social group. Very true, trying something new is challenging, but aging well seems worth the effort.
An important piece of aging well, will be George’s and Latisha’s attitude. In general, if their attitude is positive, they will be more optimistic about situations, interactions, and themselves. They will probably remain hopeful and see the best even in difficult situations. A positive attitude can help them overcome illness and personal loss as they look toward the future.
BUT, if their attitudes are negative, they may be more pessimistic and expect the worst possible outcome in tough situations. They may just go slowly down hill until death.
As Wayne Dyer, author and a motivational speaker says: