Many of us hate Mondays. But to get up in the morning with a purpose, with the knowledge that this day at work will help you in some way is a gift. As people grow of age most of them have finished accomplishing milestones of life. Be it owning a house, car, funding children’s education/marriage & saving for retirement. This is the time when the emotional disintegration may begin as there is very little newness left in life. Most of the mysteries of life are solved and most the unknowns worth knowing are already known. A sense of mental fatigue sets in. Family life become mundane and work life is mostly uninspiring because people stop taking news challenges and risks. Given these facts, how can we still make old age interesting?
According to Psychologist Dr. Erik Erikson, the last stage of psycho-social development, old age has the task where we go through generativity vs despair. Briefly put, it means that people at this age will review their life and see whether they have done most of the things they wanted to or not. Further, they will channelize their energy to give back to the community in order to maintain some sense of continuation. Based on this and other research, we can follow these tips to make old age interesting:
1. Start doing things for their own sake to make old age interesting
All of life, we do things because family or society asks us to or they are important to earn a living and so on. However, there are no such demands in old age. So it takes some practice to get used to doing things just because they interest you or because you like the idea. Many elderly people are not able to adapt and feel that as long as an expense is not “needed” it should not be made. Very often, this leads to geriatric depression.
2. Have an active social life with people of all ages
When you are active socially, you have to work on grooming yourself and updating your knowledge and skills so that you can have interesting conversations. Many old people become speakers, theatre persons, consultants or they work as volunteers where experiential knowledge is required. This ensures that you do not gather dust and feel vibrant. You can take an example from this inspirational lady on making old age interesting.
3. Complete your bucket list
All of us have small and big wishes from earlier in life that we could not fulfill. Old age is a good time to start doing those things because whatever factors kept you from doing those may no longer be constraints. Another good reason you should do this is because it adds to your view of a fulfilling life and makes you adjust better to old age.
4. Don’t ignore physical health
Staying active in old age is more important than ever because the body has started its degenerative process and so we have to actively work to keep the use of all of our muscles. Eating well and regularly is also important. Not only will this lift your mood and boost your confidence, but older adult exercise groups will help you socialise with others of your age too.
5. Money management
Nothing is worse than depending on others in your old age. If you have some savings, then look at ways to multiply them. Maybe you could learn about the share market or mutual funds. If you don’t have much, maybe you could make some by being a subject matter expert thanks to your experience.
In conclusion, the tasks of old age are very different from the rest of your life. Therefore, your perspective needs to be different too. Start by planning early so that you don’t get surprised or shocked. And don’t lose hope – there are studies that show that people are happier at 85 than they were at 18! You just need to take the steps to make that happen.
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