Since I was a pastor for all of those years, since I am the age I am, and since I am currently hanging out with my parents at a hospital, I have been thinking bout elderly people and aging. Having been around so many members of The Greatest Generation, I have, antidotally, learned a lot about aging. Well, at least I have made some observations.
So, here is my advice on aging for young people.
You are not invincible, though we all think we are when we are young. Since you are not invincible, please continue to read.
Right now you are determining the kind of old person you will be. Elderly people are extreme versions of their younger selves. Gone are the inhibitions and BS. Magnified are the eccentricities of a lifetime. I have encountered those who were cranky, ornery old characters and asked their family what they were like when they were younger. Guess what? They were cranky then too. We don’t get a new personality at age 60 or 70 or 80. The sweet people get sweeter. The laid back people get more laid back. The cranky people get crankier.
A personal passion will keep you alive. I have an 89-year-old uncle who can hardly walk, but finds a way to restore old cars. He changes engines and the whole bit. We all really need something other than our vocation to keep us fully alive. If we don’t develop the habit of staying fully engaged and completely alive and excited about something now, it probably will never happen. The alternative is becoming a sad, old person with nothing to live for or becoming obsessive and controlling about the mundane things in our own little world.
Your health habits now will significantly affect your health later. I don’t like doctors, dentists, or obsessing over my health. I don’t even like it when other people get obsessive about their health. However, a few years ago I realized when I got really old someone would have to take care of me. I want that to be as easy as possible for them, so I am not being an unnecessary burden. Therefore, I began getting regular check-ups for the first time in my life and I began doing what the doctor said.
Living regret free will optimize your mind, emotions, and relationships Make peace with your past. Splash around in God’s grace. Get rid of guilt. Also, live regret free in your relationships. I have seen family members hold on to some idiotic grudge for decades. When we do that it becomes our personal prison. Don’t hold on to that stuff. Make amends. Do whatever you need to do. Live regret free on a daily basis and you won’t have to worry about it when you get older.