In Oscar Wilde’s novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” a handsome young man believes his life would not be worth living once his good looks faded with age. So, he sold his soul to the devil and the man remained young while a portrait of him aged instead. He meets a tragic end, and his corpse becomes old and horrible-looking while the portrait returns to its former beauty. Rest assured this is not the way today’s New Seniors are seemingly growing younger.
Some people claim 50 is the new 40 and 60 is the new 50. But what about those of us who are already 65? Once we reached the so-called “retirement age,” pre-boomers discovered an entirely new world lay ahead of us. Maybe that’s why our generation (those born between 1930 and 1945) believes we look 5 years younger, feel 10 years younger and think 15 years younger than our dates of birth may suggest.
Medical science, better lifestyle choices and positive attitudes have combined to help people enjoy longer, healthier lives. Folks turning 65 this year have many years ahead of them – 20, 25 or more – so we ‘re not finished yet. We have a wealth of experience, understanding and blessings to contribute to our families, friends and communities.
There’s not much we can do about the natural, physical aging process. Time takes its toll; however, proper eating and exercise are proved to help maintain the quality of life, longer. The one thing we often forget is the mental part of aging. Gone are the days of sitting in a rocking chair and waiting for the end to come. Our generation has been too active for that. As I heard someone say recently, “I may be retired, but I’m not tired.”
We can all take encouragement from that message. More and more New Seniors are getting involved in their communities: volunteering to help in schools, visiting and taking food to those who are homebound, sharing what they’ve learned over the years with younger generations – including their own grandchildren and great grandchildren. The opportunities to be of service are endless.
Being busy and being useful diverts our minds from ourselves and takes away those annoying aches and pains, or at least overrides them to some degree. Maybe more important is the mental well-being this brings as you do something for others. We did these kinds of things all our lives, and we felt good about doing them. So there’s no reason to stop now.
Please share with us your experience, observations and feelings about being a New Senior and what you have done or are doing about it. This will dispel some of the myths associated with turning 65 and will help make the transition a little easier and smoother for those still facing this life passage.