I passed by the mirror the other day, and I had to take a second look. I wanted to know who that person is staring back at me in the mirror? It didn’t help matters when my girlfriends and I went out to dinner last night we all looked at our customary dinner pictures, which are always lovely, and with the exception of one of us, we all gasped. What’s happening to us? Oh no, we are aging! We are becoming senior citizens.
I always promised myself that I would age gracefully when the time comes. Has the time arrived? I think so, as a matter of fact, if am truthful, the time has been here for a while. But nature and my genes have been kind to me, but now I see the lines around my eyes and the marionette smile replacing what used to be dimpled. So here I am facing the aging process. I have no intention of fighting it; I just want to maintain some of my youth while I gently succumb to it. I am thinking what can I do? I can't turn to the media or magazines for help; all of their signals are basically alarms shouting your life is over; try to pretend you are younger; here, take some vitamins; dye your hair; or get some Botox. Their view is that aging is ugly, you are no longer attractive, nor are you sexual, and your skin is crepey. I’m not ugly nor is my skin crepey, what a terrible word; I'm just aging, and I like myself. So, I choose to take a different view of this aging situation.
HBO aired an excellent documentary entitled, If You Wake Up and You’re Not In the Obituary, Eat Breakfast. I enjoyed it so much that I asked my husband watch it. The film challenges perceptions about what it means to be living in your 90s. No! No! We are not ready for 90, but the film follows several people who are 90 and who are unbelievably engaged in life. The film made me think, what am I doing to prepare for the rest of my life?
We prepare for retirement, college, large purchases, but do we prepare physically to live a “Quality” life? We accept the premise that we will get old, become semi-functional and die. Times have changed! People are living longer.
Derek Thompson wrote in the 2016 Atlantic, “The greying of America will touch every station of economic and political life: the size of the labor force, the jobs the economy will require, the ethnic makeup of the country, and the productivity of the workforce. In short, aging affects everything.” A statistic that is quietly surfacing is that in 1950, less than 10% of Americans were over 65. The projection is that by 2050 the number of people 65 and older will be 20% of the population. Without getting morbid, what does that mean regarding 61 million people over the age of 65? Are they prepared to live a "Quality" life instead of worrying about health care costs, assisted living, financial security, disease, loneliness and other social issues? So I reiterate how are we preparing to live a "Quality" life?
Here’s a thought, let’s do what we know works. Be intentional about preparing for our future. If fate steps in, so be it but we are alive now; so let’s live a “Quality” life every moment that we can. So eat healthily, exercise daily, be socially involved with family and friends, engage your mind, practice good hygiene and get 8 hours of sleep. Happy Living!