Recently, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a dear friend's 90th birthday celebration. Living nine decades is a feat for sure, but the number of years isn't my friend's true accomplishment. Over the years, he has quietly acted out of kindness with a desire to put others' needs before his own. While he often deserves recognition for his good deeds, he stays out of the spotlight and focuses on lifting others up.
You wouldn't find him boasting or talking about all of the things he does for the community. He just goes about each day quietly making a difference in the lives of those he touches. As I was sitting at his birthday celebration listening to others talk about how his actions had impacted them and the community, I began to reflect on what makes a life well-lived. Longevity is not really the answer.
Working in elder care, I have interacted with many people at the end of their lives. Some are surrounded by those who love them, while others are all alone. Some are financially well off with many tangible possessions, while others are living paycheck to paycheck. These things don't really define a person.
As we age and care for others who are aging, it's important to reflect on life and how we might improve it by challenging ourselves and trying new things. I came up with my own Top 10 List that you can take and personalize to fit your needs and evolving life goals.
Top 10 Active Aging Life Hacks
- Plan for the future - think about your medical and financial wishes, as well as who you want to have in your circle of support.
- Treat everyone with respect, even if you disagree with them. A difference of opinion may lead to a learning opportunity.
- Listen to those who love you. Take time to listen when people talk because what they are verbalizing may not really be what they really mean.
- Embrace positivity. Even during difficult times, there are things that can make you smile.
- Show appreciation. Taking the time to say "thank you" can go a long way.
- As you continue to age, your purpose in life may change. Act with purpose.
- Know that love is precious and should never be taken for granted.
- Be there for others, whether it's with your time, your energy, your listening ear, etc.
- As we get older, our bodies change. We have to remember to reframe any imperfections we see as unique traits.
- Stand up for injustice you see, and know that one person does make a difference.