More thoughts on Aging Gracefully

by Irwin Lengel
(Lakeland, FL)

The following quote by George Burns just about says it all. When we retire we give up one type of life for another. Now some of us, especially those of us that may have become involved with a hobby of some sort prior to retiring, are one step ahead of our counterparts.

Here is the quote I make reference to:

Age to me means nothing, I can’t get old; I’m working. I was old when I was twenty-one and out of work. As long as you’re working, you stay young. When I’m in front of an audience, all that love and vitality sweeps over me and I forget my age. George Burns (1896 – 1996)

Are you on your way to aging gracefully?

Is there a smile on your face, a spring in your step and do you sport a positive attitude? If you can say a resounding "Yes," to these questions, then you probably don't need to read this article (although reading it might just give you further insight into what allows us to age gracefully).

But, if you can't truthfully answer those questions with a "yes," then read on. While I may only think I know the answers to these questions, I do know that what I am about to share with you makes sense. Time for us to jog our memories a bit and make sure we're doing whatever is needed to age gracefully and do it in a fun way.

While I may or may not follow all that I am about to share with you on a daily or even weekly basis, I am here to tell you that for the most part, following these little tips has enabled me to thoroughly enjoy my retirement years and for those of you that do not know me, I have been retired sixteen years at the end of this year. Let’s face it we are on this aging journey together.

Of the many ways to age gracefully, several come to mind.

  • Be mindful of the types of food we eat.
  • Socialize with basically cheerful, happy people.
  • Continue learning and look at education as a life-long goal.
  • Do not be so complex – enjoy the little things in life.
  • Surround yourself with people and things you love.
  • Be kind to your body and treasure your health.
  • Be sure to tell the people you love that you love them and do so often.

    At present this is what we are doing during our retirement years. We try our best to eat right (of course there are times we fall off the wagon so to speak but hey – once you become septuagenarians, it is hard to pass up that piece of chocolate cake). We socialize both with members of our community as well as others meaning those individuals that are part of the line dance group we perform with at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and VA hospitals. In my role as an instructor I am constantly learning so that I am able to stay current with the material I am teaching my students.

    Having gone through three major surgeries within a five month period back in 2004, I have learned that it is the simple things in life that are the most important. Since then, I have tried not to take myself so seriously and in many instances I no longer allow things to bother me to the degree they used to.

    We make it a point to see our children as often as possible. Plus our line dancing keeps us physically and mentally alert. When we are line dancing, we feel like George Burns did whenever he was on stage. Finally we tell each other as well as our siblings and friends that we love them as often as we can.

    So, there you have it – while we aren’t working in the normal sense of the word work – we are keeping ourselves busy (actually busier than we did when we worked 9-5) and that, my friends is how we are aging gracefully.

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    Wealth Distribution Stage of our Life
    by: Retd. Prof. Mr. Durgesh Kumar Srivastava, New Delhi, India.

    I taught university/college students for more than 45 years. I taught my last class in April, 2010, and then quit teaching to undergo heart bypass surgery. My attitude towards my students went on changing as I grew older. I became more tolerant, relaxed and loving. Gradually, I adopted the same attitude towards all people.

    When I taught Insurance to my students during my late adult years I would explain to them the different stages of life and the insurance needs for each stage. After I crossed the age of 62 years, I would tell my students that there were just two stages in a person's life - Wealth accumulation stage and wealth distribution stage.

    I told them that they could have for keeps anything that I had including books, notes and small things like pens. They could consult me in the college or on the phone without any time limit.

    This generated a lot of good will in the class. Students would rush to take my briefcase on the stairs, bring me water to drink in the class, and place a chair near me to sit, if they sensed that I was tired.

    I have adopted the same attitude at home. I do not hoard anything and my grandchildren, the children in the neighborhood and in the extended family are free to take away my belongings.

    I gifted English and Hindi typewriters to a needy relative. Two big houses are under construction near my home and I regularly bring candies for the children of the building workers. The joy on the children's faces brings smiles to my soul. I do not note down anywhere the moneys that my children, relatives and friends borrow from me. If they return the money, I take it. If they don't I do not mention it.

    I do not make any critical comments on anything that others say or do. When my wife objects to my grandson taking out his bicycle and spoiling the polished floor of the house, I offer to lift the bicycle and carry it across to the road outside our home.

    This attitude gives me joy and peace. Let my dear-ones and friends take away from me everything that I have. I am enjoying the "WEALTH DISTRIBUTION STAGE OF MY LIFE"

    DKS, New Delhi

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