You ran track in high school and felt unbeatable. By age 35, you had the corner office and a 401k. You felt invulnerable in a different way. But you couldn’t jump the high hurdles if your life depended on it. Were you judged for what you could no longer do? Or were you celebrated for succeeding in the next big phase of your life?
We all know the answer to that question, don’t we? So, how come the rules suddenly change after retirement? Seniors are unfairly stereotyped for all the things they (allegedly) can’t do anymore. This is part of what we call ageism. The good news is that ageism is partly a mindset. That means a shift in perspective will challenge it. Guard your focus because that’s where your energies will flow.
Energy spent thinking about high hurdles is energy wasted. We can honor our past accomplishments. They helped make us who we are. But we are far more than our past and best of all, our “glory days” are happening right now! A happier life is available right now!
6 Ways to Live a Happier Life by Focusing on What You Can Do Not What You Can’t
1. Practice mindfulness
Being in the moment allows you to detach from the past. Right here, right now is all we have. Staying present enables you to truly appreciate who you are right now. You experience the moment—and your place in the moment—more fully.
2. Document your experiences
Keep a written journal. Make short videos. Document your experiences on social media. Do all three, and more. Treat each moment as worthy of your full attention, because it is! You may also want to self-publish your memoirs. This choice allows you to honor your past while giving more meaning to the present. Plus, you’ll leave something behind for others to learn from.
3. Keep learning
This could mean taking classes and reading books. But, in today’s high-tech world, we must make sure it also means keeping up with the times. Familiarize yourself with navigating the Web. Stay timely to feel relevant and vibrant. Don’t allow apps and tweets and wi-fi to be part of a foreign language. Become fluent in the language of learning.
4. Stay physically active
Your body is going to change whether you move it or not. However, the changes you create are far better than the changes inactivity will create. Find something you enjoy and do it. Find others to do it with.
5. Help others
What you can always do is make a difference in someone else’s life. You have accrued wisdom for many decades and now you have the time to share it. Ask yourself each day: What can I do to leave the world a better place than how I found it?
6. Set goals
Combine the 5 steps above and create a new mission in your life. Break that mission down into short-term and long-term goals. Wake each morning with purpose and passion. Go to bed each night knowing you did the work. You will be too busy and too fulfilled to focus on what you can’t do.
Often, society does not value older adults. Such ageism can make it very hard to focus on what’s good. Seeing the positive side becomes a challenge. That’s why counseling is a valuable choice. Working one-on-one with a therapist can help point you in a new direction, a direction that leads to a happier life. You’ll gain a fresh perspective and won’t be stopped by clichés. Your golden years don’t have to follow a script!