Tips To “Don’t Worry And Be Happy” In Your Extra Innings

It’s easy to be discouraged and down when you get to our age. Whether you are entering your 50’s or 60’s, getting older can have a negative effect on our overall attitude and outlook. In fact our bodies don’t work as well as they used to. You feel good, but when you get out of a chair…. The mirror can be a bit too honest with us. Or if you’re like me, when you see pictures of yourself you go “what happened?”

Reality is major setbacks happen in life. We lose friends and family faster and faster as we age. Major illnesses hit us or the people we love more frequently. These blows seem to hit us harder as we get further down life’s highway.

As you approach or enter retirement, you lose the identity you’ve been carrying around for years: “I’m a teacher” “I’m a plumber” “I’m a nurse” “I’m an engineer”. It can be a blow to your ego when you start thinking “I used to be a (Enter Past Career Here)”.

Don’t buy into the “Old Fart” stereotype.

Sam Harris, author of Waking says “We make the mistake of viewing life as a journey to a destination. We should be viewing life as a series of experiences that only end when we do.” Even as we age, we have a ton of these experiences in front of us to enjoy. In fact there are our families to enjoy and our grand kids to spoil and love. We can still explore and learn.                                                         

It’s up to us if we’re going to be down in the dumps like Grumpy Old Men or smiling and living every day. Don’t wait until you find yourself in a hole and you discover you’re still digging.

Here are some tips that can help you maintain a positive outlook:

  • Take responsibility for managing what is going on inside your head. What are you focusing on? How do you talk to yourself? Be positive and spread it around.
  • Don’t let your body decline; your mind will be next. How are you staying fit and physically active? Are you eating well? See my previous post:
  • Be proud of your experiences and success, and act that way.
  • Make a list of all the good things that are going on in your life. Start each day with a gratitude list, 5 things you are grateful for.
  • Make yourself feel happy. Stand up straight and make yourself smile. Do it in front of a mirror and get a laugh. If you want to go hardcore do as I do; when I’m done with my morning shower, I turn the water to full cold for 1 minute. It snaps you out of any funk you may be in and when it’s over, you feel like the day can only go up from there.
  • Lose The News. Turn off the news on TV and on the radio. There is nothing going on that you can influence or that has an immediate impact on you. If something serious happens, don’t worry, you’ll find out. In truth, I am guilty as anyone. It’s easy to drive to and from work and listen to the 24-7 gloom and doom reports about how bad the democrats or the republican are. And by the time you get there or home you’re depressed. Listen to audio-books or subscribe to free podcasts on any subject you want like art, hunting, cooking, science, or history. Use the time to learn something.
  • Have a purpose, a mission. Keep engaged with 2-3 core pursuits. Mine are this blog, fitness and joining our condo board.  Start developing them now, before you need them.
  • Use the time at home to learn a new skill or hobby. I’m trying to learn the Ukulele. See  my previous post on Staying Sharp:
  • Get out and reconnect with friends and family you’ve grown a part from. Loneliness is a serious issue with seniors so pay attention to this now.
  • I’m not a very religious person, but the Serenity Prayer offers serious life advice:  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”

Be Like The New England Patriots, Or The Seattle Seahawks. Your Choice.

In a 2016 issue of Sports Illustrated there was an article about how the Patriots and Seahawks benefited by a book on Stoic Philosophy called The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holliday. Here’s a link to the article:

The School of Athens

Stoicism goes back 2000 years and lays out methods for dealing with the hardships we face in life and managing the emotions that go along with them. In my opinion, Ryan Holiday’s book is the best and most accessible source of Stoic philosophy. The Obstacle Is The Way was also recently mentioned by the pro golfer Rory McElroy as his guide to maintaining a positive mind set during the ups and downs of his career.

If you’re like me in your early 60’s, based on the current projections, I have another quarter of my life remaining. I sure don’t want to spend that time feeling bad that I can’t do some things I used to.Quite frankly, there are too many things I can do and too much life left to live. I’m choosing to live instead of waiting to die.