Fellow blogger Kathy Gottberg’s book Positive Aging (Amazon link here) is a wonderful reiteration of the importance of being positive about aging via a combination of research background and some practical how-to’s. If you read her wonderful blog (link here), you’ll be familiar with many of these concepts, but reiteration is helpful, especially for a formally negative person like me.
When I “review” a book for a blog post, I realize I focus on only the elements that speak to me. While I appreciate the research Kathy presented on why things are important, as a structure-process gal I tend to focus more on the how-to.
I was intrigued by the questions the book’s content raised on my own thinking patterns, the validation the book provided on my own choices, and the reinforcement that I need to continue the path, because I have chosen a path of positivity.
Does my view of aging carry heavy baggage? Yes, I am no longer young. Yes, there are certain liabilities that come with age – slower body recovery, poorer eyesight, less stamina. Yes, there is still a lot of societal ageism that even I am engaged in. (Ouch) Can I really shift to believe that aging is a productive and positive phase of life? Can I recognize that the increase in positive emotional growth and engagement in living outweigh the advancing physical limitations?
Be optimistic and engaged in life today.
Positively anticipate the future.
I think these wonderful affirmations/mantras are the key to positive aging!
But the how to do it (positive aging) has many elements. As Kathy points out and I related to myself, I am actually in a very good place regarding positive aging.
- My health is good. Even though I’ve faced issues (breast cancer), I am actually healthier and stronger than I’ve been in years. And with my new strength training focus, this will get better.
- My marriage is strong. Hubby is my best friend and encourages me in my various growth explorations, even as he is content to live a less introspective life.
- Our finances are strong. All that delayed gratification and focus on living below our means has paid off.
- I enjoy writing and am finding it is an outlet that provides me a sense of life meaning and creativity.
- I am working on self-acceptance. I have a plan of where I want my life to “go”.
Some Reinforcing Tips on How to do Positive Aging
- Proactively take care of my health – body, mind, financial! Be physically active (“move it or lose it”), eat healthier, de-stress, and sleep enough. Plan all the regular health checks.
- Continue a love of learning. The “use or lose it” when applied to brain. Say yes to opportunities. Have a growth mindset. What new things do I want to explore?
- Stop projecting the youthful (career climbing) values/expectations of activity and productivity onto today’s life. Heed the call for inner growth; dive into self-discovery and contemplation. Don’t mistake busyness and to-do checklists as the same as life meaning and satisfaction. Now is about more being and less doing – challenging in a culture that values doing, productivity, and busyness.
- Seek out the positive – news, situations, people – and avoid the negative ones. And intentionally work on those people connections – both breadth and depth of relationships are critical to staying engaged in life.
- Have the courage to be one’s true self – it’s not about what you do, or how you look, or what you have. Be the “real me” and not the one I think people want or do things I think people expect me to do.
- A purposeful mindset. Have a plan to accomplish something meaningful, focus on what makes me happy and whole, and share my talents. Have something to look forward to!
Kathy’s book was a great pep talk for continuing to train my brain to stay positive. Positivity is a choice and one this previously half-glass-empty, cynical workaholic has consciously made.
- Choose optimism & hope instead of regret & disappointment.
- Choose a growth mindset and adaptation to limitations versus worry and fear about mental and physical decline.
- Choose to view continued engagement in life as an ongoing adventure.
What are you choosing? Maybe choose to read Kathy’s book! I’m glad I did.