Working with seniors for two decades now I have enjoyed meeting a wide variety of people. I’ve witnessed so many different ways that seniors put their lives together to enjoy, what some people call the fourth quarter or golden years. During this same time, I joined the ranks of the seniors and had to start thinking of how I wanted to live the life I love.
As I have been contemplating how to fill some of my extra time now that I have partially retired I came across a book by Eric Thurman called Thrive in Retirement. Eric’s book serves as a wake-up call to anyone that doesn’t have any sort of plan/strategy and how that can hurt your overall health. Having nothing to do all day is not good in the long run. He recommends three concepts that help people develop satisfaction as they age. The concept of seeking out peace, purpose, and pleasure in our everyday activities is the key to finding the contentment we are all looking for. Obviously, these concepts vary greatly from person to person, however, most of us can see the benefit of pursuing them.
A purposeful life for my sister and her husband is to spend a lot of time with family and friends. They rarely are home if there is a grandkid putting on some athletic gear anywhere nearby and would rather watch them play. They also love to have their grandkids when their own adult children need a night out. The next morning they are often tired and sometimes happy to see the grandkids go home, however, grandkid time gives them great satisfaction with their lives.
Here is a link to a great story about two Eighty-one-year-olds, Sandy Hazelip and Ellie Hamby, inspired by Jules Verne's novel, "Around the World in 80 Days," are on a mission to see all seven continents, nine Wonders of the World and visit 18 countries in just over two and a half months. I personally loved the fact they don’t travel first class and if someone asks to join them they take a look to see if they have manicured nails–if they do they won’t fit in. These ladies are having a great time and they definitely have learned how–to not sweat the small stuff–when it comes to travel and life.
Seniors like to travel and see the world. If you live in Minnesota like I do you might include part of that travel time to warmer climates to avoid our cold winters. You’ve probably heard of seniors between 60 and 70, as the go-go ’60s, followed by slow go 70’s and no go 80’s. Friends of ours have gone on long river cruises in Europe, enjoyed organized bike rides in the south, a driving trip to the east coast, and multiple trips to California–all in one year! They definitely want to see as much as they can before they slow! Plenty of time for other activities closer to home in the future.
Many homebodies love to container garden, bake, and have neighbors, family, and friends come over to enjoy the social aspect of retiring. Living a full life often allows us to have the perspective of seeing the beauty of the things around us and sharing that insight with others. Being content with your situation is really a gift. Aging well is positively influenced by feeling joyous, staying independent, self-possessed contentment, and being financially secure.
Living where you want
Living in a desirable location is also important. This might be near our families, in a warmer climate, or in the house we raised our children. There is no end to the reasons why people choose the place they call home. There is one thing for certain, if you want to age in place you want to pay attention early to keep your options open. Moving to another geographic location should include some scouting of the area during different times of the year–preferably with a trial run. One of my newly retired friends thought she’d love South Carolina to get away from the harsh Wisconsin winters. After spending a few months in the southern US she started wondering if the hot southern summers might be harder for her to endure than the winters she is accustomed to. She changed her mind about moving and is building her dream home near Hudson!
Staying in the family home “aging in place” is another option people have as they get older. While this seems to be a great opportunity if the home is paid for it often comes down to how the home fits for the purpose of aging in place. Those of us that think about this prior to needing to make modifications to our homes have time to make better choices. Here are some things to consider if you want to age in your current home.
Peace Purpose Pleasure
Eric Thurman talks about the three concepts being intertwined with each other in his book. Peace may be found in your garden which is also a place you find purpose by planting and weeding. Your purpose might be the work you choose to do, which could be volunteer work that gives you pleasure.
The important thing here is to have balance–to find the life you love.