Secrets to living a long life: How todays Baby Boomer’s “Made-It”
Old people. Elders. Senior citizens. Some are the grumpiest people you’ll ever talk to, or the sweetest one you know. Some may be full of stories and legends, while others pass sadly forgotten. Some are humble, while others hold judgment, and some are spiteful when others are kind. Some have never used a computer, and some have the new Samsung Galaxy6. Different or the same, there wrinkles do not fade. There weathered faces and frail bodies claim a belonging.
Turning 90, is no one’s ideal dream, but those who make it and are happy, are admired like no other. So how do we get there? How will our stories be told.
Reading a Dear Abby question to a few people in their 90’s this morning suddenly made me realize. The 18-year old indecisive student didn’t know how her life would pan out and was afraid she would inevitably lose her way. She was frazzled and worried her choices wouldn’t lead to a life of success. Looking around at my audience of Baby Boomers, I wondered how they would advise her.
RULE#1: Be not afraid.
No one ever knows what the hell they’re doing. Being afraid only hinders your success rate. Even those who are old men now, had no idea the world would amount to what it is today. They grew up on 5c milk and toy sticks, not iPhones and designer clothes. To fear how something will be is to predict, and to live by it won’t amount to much. A fool lays his heart down next to an inference, while the wise ignores it.
RULE#2: Notice the beautiful.
Look at the sky. I mean, seriously. Take in the world for a minute. Photograph a landscape, walk along the beach, drive through the mountains. That being said, do not confine yourself. Go out and explore while you can. See something new, even if it’s just around a corner on that old street you haven’t made it down yet. If you are no artist, then you must go find your painting.
RULE#3: Stop taking your shit so seriously.
We all have a ridiculous amount of “stuff” to tend to in our lives. Whether it’s school, work, family, relationships or finances, we all feel the pressure. At times we feel the horrible notion of pressure we wished we never had to identify with. Remind yourself a missed deadline is not the World’s next apocalypse. Not getting a call after a job interview doesn’t mean we suck at life. It just means at that time, that job was not meant for us. Struggling through finances and falling behind doesn’t mean you cannot do it. Life is expensive, but attitude is rich. Find your wealth, and construct the life you want. Laugh the hard stuff off, and do what you can.
RULE#4: Do what you like to do.
Make some time for you. Figure out how you’d like to spend it. If you’re extremely busy, make plans with yourself like you would another person. Sometimes we neglect the exact parts of us that really need nurturing, then we wonder why we feel so burnt out. Find the perfect mixture of responsibility and leisure, and you’ll enjoy more.
RULE#5: Burn your planner.
Allow things to happen unexpectedly. Let yourself experience surprise. Not everything can be mapped out ahead of time, especially when other people are involved. Be open-minded and be willing to accept that things happen how they happen, not always how you plan for them or may want them to. Whether you like it or not, your life is ever-changing, and it’s morphing nature cannot be controlled. Learn to adapt and let an unexpected challenge, well, challenge you.