Want to Age Well?
One Way to Get Started #121
We’ve talked about aging well for over two years - 120 articles worth. Maybe you’ve been thinking, “this is all well and good, but how the heck do I start?”
After Dan died, I decided that aging well - being the best I could be as a single woman was my goal. While there are many ways to figure it out, I went through an informal three-step process that included
conducting a personal spring cleaning - what was working and what wasn’t
identifying my new normal - what I could and couldn’t do at this point in life
defining my goal - specifying steps to take in that direction
The Spring Cleaning
Despite the myths and misinformation about life as an older adult, I wanted to age well. The first step was assessing how satisfied I was with life. So, I conducted a spring cleaning, using questions I found on the Life Coach on the Go website.
What are you TOLERATING? What is FRUSTRATING you right now? These drain your energy – think about reducing them or delegating someone else to say “no.”
Where are you “SHOULD’NG” on yourself? It’s time to ask, “What do I want here? What do I think is most important?” or “What’s best for me?”
What are the Top 3 ENERGY ZAPPERS in my life at the moment? Energy zappers are great things to reduce or eliminate.
What do you want in life right now? How can you move forward if you don’t know what direction to head?
What ONE new DAILY HABIT could you introduce in your life that would make the most significant positive difference? Pick just one.
What do you need to LET GO OF? What, if you let it go, would lighten your load? - It might be a thought or limiting belief, a goal, a relationship, or something smaller.
a) WHO would you like to spend MORE TIME with? Who fully accepts, inspires, supports, and encourages you?
b) WHO would you like to spend LESS TIME with? Who drags you down, belittles, discourages, or drains you?
What do you need to GET DONE NOW? What are you procrastinating about that would DELIGHT you to complete?
Finally, think about your goal. What three things could you work on?
My spring cleaning revealed several things. I was drained from the worry and stress of caring for Dan and devastated from watching his decline. After his death, spending time with myself was the daily habit that helped most. I needed to find me - to let go of the doubts and decide what was next. But, first, I had to take care of the details - change the accounts, make the insurance claims, pay the bills, etc. - only then could I focus more fully on what I wanted to do next - what I wanted for me. The answer at the time was to:
spend time with my family
share the lessons I’d learned with others
Today my goal is to age well and that includes sharing my story with others through writing and spending time with my family.
The next step was determining what normal was because it changed significantly.
The past president of a Canadian Seniors Association said
I don't know what would be considered normal aging. What's normal for a 45-year-old? What's normal for an 80-year-old? Those are irrelevant terms, as far as I'm concerned.
As she says, there is no such thing as normal aging. Each person is unique and changes over time. However, the truth is that people’s energy levels, motivation, and dreams don’t remain the same. So, evaluating their strengths and weakness minus excuses, denial, and unwillingness to accept what is true seems wise from time to time.
The term New Normal refers to changes in our daily lifestyles and trends and was popularized during the pandemic.
Once the Covid-19 danger recedes, we may see a “new normal” consisting of several crucial factors, such as healthier diets, changing daily lifestyles, social adjustments, tourism innovations, and familial relations.
After Dan died, my life flip-flopped. I was
going places, running errands, and doing things by myself
taking care of the finances and managing the house
alone for the first time in my life - except for the cats
sleeping by myself with no one to warm my feet
feeling enormous fear and self-doubt as I took charge
making other choices for dinner, bedtime, and television watching
finding out that I could do more than I thought
Achieving the Goal
The final step was to create a plan for achieving the goal. Today, I would respond this way.
1. What do you want? I want to age well. That includes sharing my story with others through writing and spending time with my family.
2. How will you know when you have reached the goal? What do you want to happen, and with whom? I will write weekly articles, get together with my family, and do what it takes to age well.
3. What will you hear, see, and feel as you achieve this goal? I’ll move forward optimistically, make healthy choices, and feel good about myself.
4. Why is your goal relevant? I am independent and contributing to life.
5. What stops you from pursuing your goal wholeheartedly? I have many excuses and get discouraged.
6. What personal resources can you use to achieve this goal? I am healthy, willing, and committed to personal development.
7. What additional resources do you need to achieve your goal? I need a daily shot of confidence and ways to pick myself up when I get discouraged.
8. How can your goal affect essential people in your life? What gets in the way? My family is thrilled. They don’t have to worry about taking care of me as much. However, staying on track is a challenge many days.
9. What daily actions must you take to achieve your goal? What is the first step? I have to focus on what I can do and solutions. The first step is to figure out what stops me.
You, too, can conduct a spring housecleaning by asking yourself the same or similar questions, determining your new normal, and setting the goal of aging well.
Two articles I wanted to share this week are
Going Out on a Limb; 35 Useful Benefits of Kindness. We could all use a dose of kindness these days.
A Fork in the Road. The choices we make change the course of our lives. In retrospect, are you happy with yours?
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