Once we move into our late 50s and 60s (and beyond), it is true we are moving forward toward the elder years, but we don’t necessarily have to act (or look) like we are “old.”
I have noticed in myself and others certain traits or characteristics that we may have always displayed, changing with age. These same personality and temperament inclinations are beginning to be greatly exaggerated and are indicators we are, in fact, feeling and acting “old.”
Losing patience and complaining
You may have become much more impatient, getting easily annoyed or irritated with bad service, with having to wait in traffic or in line or for late appointments. Your toleration has decreased.
You find yourself complaining a lot. The weather is a big topic. It is too hot or too cold (a move to Florida may be considered). Or, the climate may be too dry or too rainy, the bed too hard or soft, the restaurant too noisy or the service too slow. Do you make unfavorable comparisons of today with how it use to be? The price of everything has risen ... on and on.
You may find yourself more careful about taking physical risks (probably a good idea) or that you are much more unwilling to take emotional risks or to try something new. Do you tend to come from an automatic “no” when something new and different is suggested?
Along with this we may become less creative and spontaneous, doing the same things over and over and over again. We become creatures of habit and afraid to shake things up. After all, there is comfort in familiarity and, as we age, we mostly do like to be comfortable.
Talking too much about nothing
Much of the conversation is about the weather, the planning of the next meal, the aches and pains and general health, the good old days. Do you find you are repeating yourself or not remembering if you had already told someone something?
Do you notice the long, involved and detailed stories soon lose the listener who can’t follow or gets bored?
Losing things and people
We have to hunt for the keys, the cellphone or the parked car. We lose what might have been perfect eyesight. There are hearing losses. Losing our income and financial stability is but one more challenge.
We lose more people we love and have begun to read the obituaries, recognizing our peers.
We lose our shape. Once the age-related spreading begins, we may just feel like letting it all go. Why bother? The good and not so good news is: It is not too late to recover much of what has been lost, but it will take some commitment and work. Still, it is worthwhile and rewarding to reclaim a more youthful, attractive body while, at the same time, being realistic and acknowledging that you will never look 20 years old again. But even more than how we look, by taking the extra weight off through a regular program of exercise and eating well, we will help to ensure that we feel good with a renewed vitality and a zest for life.
Recognizing the gains of getting older
On the other hand, as we act our age, we may notice some positive aspects. We have more time and more freedom with a less scheduled life and fewer responsibilities. We are slowing down or ending our work life; our parenting duties are mostly gone. We are liking the idea of simplifying and of having more fun.
We are, if fortunate, grateful for our body and take better care of it, better than ever before. We could get away with far more when we were younger.
We have more peacefulness, are more accepting and compassionate with ourselves and others. Our spiritual life has grown.
Growing older is not a piece of cake, but with the right ingredients, it may very well be the best time of our lives.