Positive Aging: Six Things to Start Doing When You Turn 60 (Besides Celebrate!)
Article by Lin Schreiber
Copyright (c) 2009 Lin Schreiber
I love my birthday. Always have. I guess that’s because I love to celebrate, and because it’s my own special day of the year. It also helps that I share my birthday with my adored Grandma Alcorn who was a human dynamo and lived to the spritely age of 95.
Each new decade seems like the beginning of the next grand adventure. At 30, I was newly arrived in New York City and starting a career in marketing and public relations. Forty found me just married, taking on two pre-adolescent stepsons, and starting another career in television production. At 50, I was awakening to the idea that I didn’t have to kill myself to make a good living, and embarked on my current career as a retirement coach.
So, imagine my shock when a week before my big 6-0, I fell into a great, big, dark funk. I spent three awful days thinking that I was just 20, and soon I’d be 60, and where did the last 40 years go? What did I have to show for it? Certainly the days ahead of me are a lot fewer than the days behind me, and so on and so on.
On the fourth day, I decided to snap out of it. I focused my attention on all the many blessings I have in my life, to the countless things I’ve accomplished over the years, and to the hopes and dreams I have for the future.
If you’re one of the approximately 13,680 people who are turning sixty every day and you find yourself panicking, I invite you to take stock of your life, redefine your priorities, and begin to each day:
1. Take Really Good Care of Yourself. You only have one body, and even if you’ve taken pretty good care of it, by 60 it’s beginning to show signs of wear and tear.
Have you been on a diet most of your life? Not exercising regularly? Not getting enough sleep? Are you stressed out? Now is the time to relax, regroup, and try some new ways of being. You don’t have to do it all at once, and you don’t have to do it perfectly. Try the 15-minute rule.
How much sleep do you need to operate at your best? Start going to bed 15 minutes earlier, and when that becomes natural, back it up another 15 minutes until you’re getting the rest your body craves.
What helps you de-stress? A walk in nature? Deep breathing? Yoga? Sitting and doing nothing? Fifteen (or even 5 or 10) minutes will help. Try it.
And, forget dieting. You know your ideal body weight, and no, it’s not the weight you were at 18. Hold that weight as your goal, and then take small steps to change your habits. Add more vegetables by finding delicious recipes and trying exotic varieties. Do some deep breathing or say grace before you plunge into a meal. Chew slowly and savor the food and start by stretching that meal to 15 minutes if you normally race through.
Then, get moving slowly, by adding 5-15 minutes a day of something you enjoy: stretching, yoga, weight lifting, dancing, walking, etc. (You can do it longer if you feel like it!) You don’t have to be a marathon runner for your body to respond quickly.
2. Open Your Heart. There’s love all around you. Unfortunately, it is often drowned out by the constant drone of negative press, petty arguments, silly upsets, old grudges, etc. Who (or what) in your life have you not forgiven? Remember, forgiving is all about you and not the other person. By letting go of the poison, you’re free to live life fully. Is there tension or unresolved issues with your partner? Clean them up, and get back in touch with the love that brought you together. What is life about, if not love?
3. Focus on the Good. Ever notice how when something upsets you, you focus on it and suddenly it becomes such a huge part of your life when in reality it’s only one tiny bit? You can’t control what’s coming at you, but you’re in total control over how your react. Better yet, try acting instead of reacting, by refocusing on all that you have to be grateful for.
4. Make a Difference. How can you best share your talents, gifts, experience, and wisdom? Which of the myriad of problems on the planet could use your genius to solve? How can you make the world a more beautiful place by expressing yourself creatively? What legacy can you leave the next generation? Put your attention on how you can best serve, and do it. You’ll be happier. I guarantee it!
5. Cherish the Day. Even as you’re fully engaged in your life, remember to slow down, breathe, and be present. When was the last time you watched the sunrise? Or, stopped at the end of the day to enjoy a beautiful sunset? Welcome the gift of each day, and embrace each moment with gusto. See the opportunity gift in each situation, and take pleasure in the time you have left.
6. List 60 Things You Want to Do in Your 60s. Use the five criteria above to form who you want to be in your 60s. Next, add where you want to go, what you want to see, whom you want to meet, what you want to create, and where you want to live.
Remember how quickly the last 60 years have gone by? Don’t waste a minute. Start dong the things on your list today!
About the Author
Certified Retirement Coach Lin Schreiber, author of the popular ABC’s of Revolutionizing Retirement, helps self-reliant women reinvent themselves in the next stage of life, formerly known as “retirement.” To claim your free Revolutionize Retirement Starter Kit, visit her site at http://www.RevolutionizeRetirement.com.