I’m getting older. I know that. I’ve said for a long time that I plan to see 100 and beyond. And, I’m determined to age well. Age healthily. Age happily. Age productively. In community with like-minded people. I eschew the idea of a retirement village or nursing home. That’s not for me. I don’t do bingo. Have no interest in bingo. And group excursions or group events? I’ve never been a good groupie which is probably one of the reasons I won’t do cruises. I don’t like the idea of being told when to eat, what to eat or where to eat. However, there’s a ‘but’. Here it is …
that according to the Oxford English dictionary, retirement means: ‘The action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work’, or ‘the period of one’s life after retiring from work’. Why is this a problem?
My mother-in-law lives by herself. She’s in her late 70’s. Her home is immaculate. She is immaculate. She has two cats. We live in Sydney. She lives in London. That’s just the start of a story that many families are challenged by at Christmas.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics nearly one-third of all Australians, that’s 4.4 million Australians, do voluntary work contributing 704.1 million hours of labour. We know that remaining active and engaged in life is essential to living a long, happy, and healthy life. However, who would have guessed that volunteering could provide these physical and mental benefits to how we age?
Whilst some of us are happy to move to a retirement village when we’re older it’s not for everyone. I’m probably in this latter group. However, a danger of remaining at home is loneliness and isolation and potentially poorer health. Keep reading to learn what we need to consider to remain healthy and happy if we want to remain at home.
A number of years ago I caught a train from Sydney to Canberra. The train left Sydney late morning so the majority of passengers were pensioners. I sat opposite a lovely couple and, as is my tendency, we chatted. Their story is one I’ve not forgotten, so I thought I’d share it with you here.
Imagine embracing each passing year. Truly embracing. Wrapping your arms around being that one year older and genuinely looking forward to the year ahead. Celebrating what you’ve learned and looking forward to the challenges and lessons ahead. This does not mean life is a bowl of roses, Pollyanna like. It’s accepting what is, with all the ups and downs, and moving forward in a way that accommodates the changes and makes space for more changes. Grey hair, wrinkles and all. What have I done?
The other day I was walking down the street and I noticed someone wearing a t-shirt with this slogan:
“It took me 60 years to be this good looking.”