17 Apr Important lessons to keep in mind as you get older
Aside from death, taxes, and trips to the dentist, there are few things people dread more than the ageing process.
While there are negative aspects to ageing, you can hedge against these downsides by taking targeted action.
There are many lessons to keep in mind as you get older: heed these ones, and your golden years will be far more illustrious than you were ever expecting them to be:
Use it or you’ll lose it (faster)
Of all the lessons to keep in mind as you get older, it is the loss of physical function that scares people the most.
However, the vast majority of muscle loss throughout your life results from sitting around all the time, a process which can be reversed through exercise.
Lifting weights three times per week and going for a run every morning isn’t the only way you can gain and maintain strength as you get older, as using the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking to the corner store instead of driving also plays a big part. Or if you’re more adventurous, why not pick up some hiking poles and explore the great outdoors?
Make the effort to connect with your peers
Many of us miss the days when we could hang out with our friends on a daily basis. While it is true that distance and fundamental facts of adult life mean it is no longer possible to do this, allowing yourself to drift apart from your best friends can have a devastating impact on your health.
Of all the lessons to keep in mind as you get older, this is a big one: a recent study found that loneliness in men had as big of a negative health impact in the long-term as smoking – a shocking result, as many of us have a hard time grasping how mental and emotional trauma can impact the body.
Resolve to do better than seeing your best buds once a year – by rebuilding the bonds of friendship, you’ll have a social and emotional outlet for issues and activities that your life partner can’t resolve or participate in.
If you are unable to re-connect with people you once knew, join a social/sports club, or volunteer. By expanding your circle, you will be fulfilling your innate need to connect with other human beings, one that has been in our DNA since prehistoric times.
You can still do what you love (with adjustments)
Many active adults cringe when thinking about their elder years, as they envision being miserable in their rocking chair, unable to do the things that once brought them joy.
However, if they remain in motion through middle age and in their golden years, chances are they will be able to continue participating in their favourite sports.
While it is true that the body degrades at a slow but steady pace from age 30 and onwards, this creeping deficit in strength simply means one might take longer to swim that lap or climb that wall, but it doesn’t mean it will be an impossible feat.
Master’s sports leagues will put you together with those of similar physical ability, reducing your chance of being outclassed by some young punk.
Finally, braces, athletic tape, and pain medication can prevent aches from becoming a hurdle, so long as a sports doctor is consulted prior to employing these modalities.
Behind in your retirement savings? Consider living abroad…
If you have panicked recently after reviewing your retirement account, calm down. While it is important to invest aggressively if you have been falling behind in your contributions, there are still ways you can enjoy a glorious and dignified retirement even if you don’t end up with $3,000,000 by age 65.
From Ecuador to Thailand, there are numerous places around the world where you can live a full life on a modest pension/savings, which is one of the lessons to keep in mind as you get older, should you fall short of the lofty goals you need to hit in North America.
What’s more, these countries offer special visas for retirees which allow you to reside in the country on a semi-continuous basis.
As a result, you can buy a cheap place overseas, live there most of the time, and return home during the summer months or for special occasions.