None of us are getting any younger. With each passing year the months seem to dash past more quickly. We observe babies turning into toddlers and what seems just a few months later, hear ourselves exclaiming to the now teenager “my how you’ve grown.” The process of change never stops during our lives; it just becomes less noticeable.
People are living longer. By 2030 it is estimated that one in five Americans will be aged 65 years and older. The physiological processes associated with aging are normal; we are all mortal. It is recognized that biological aging takes place within a social context. Physically, our bodies may not be as agile as they were in our twenties, but cognition can continue to thrive.
An aside – Depression is not a normal part of aging, but rather a treatable medical condition. If you or an older person you know has unusual feelings of pessimism, hopelessness or worthlessness, is irritable and restless with decreased energy, has unusual changes to weight or eating habits, is experiencing insomnia or excessive sleeping and loss of interest and motivation, then I encourage you to seek an appropriate medical assessment.
The good news however, is that with maturity we can find new strengths via our Resilience, Wisdom, Creativity and Purpose. Sadly, all too often people equate aging with decline both physically and mentally, but you have the power to avoid assigning yourself to an out-of-date stereotyped box. I encourage you to contact those you have not seen for months; or make arrangements to try a new hobby – cooking, painting, learning a foreign language or a new topic about the world. Local library noticeboards are often good places to begin a search. There is no shortage of thought provoking ‘Ted Talks’ and other informational lectures on-line. Go for short walks and observe the environment around you. Why not visit a museum or art gallery you have always wanted to view? Offer to volunteer to read to young children or join a book group. Ask a friend to join you and enjoy your new adventures together.
You may address your old faithful car as that reliable jalopy that keeps going to the end, so why should we humans be any different! There are many more miles left in us all.
If you or an older relative is wondering “isn’t there more to life than this?” we invite you to come and talk with one our counselors. Call us at 936-524-7523 or go to our website at www.thecenterforhopeandhealing.net