Honestly, I hate the term “aging gracefully.” What does that mean? My body and mind doesn’t feel graceful most of the time. Getting up in the morning, stumbling and bumbling around the house, feels graceless.
As I contemplate my day, the first thing that comes to mind is to start the day with this quote from my old friend Gene Sharratt, “Be sure to think a good day, plan a good day, put good in each day.” I can’t miss it posted on the fridge door.
These are the things that help me create my best days. Much of it is emptying the trash in my mind and attempting to live in the moment
How does one live in the moment?
“Why are you always in a hurry, Dad?” my oldest daughter asked more than once over the years. I can answer that question now. As a younger man, I was in a “fight/flight” mode like many who live with PTSD without awareness and help. Relaxing and fully enjoying the moment with friends and family was nearly impossible as a younger man.
In recent years I’ve become a student of mindfulness meditation practices and trauma informed therapy. It is in studying and writing about nature that gives me a way to live in the moment.
For me, doing the things I care about passionately is the secret to living each day peacefully and in keeping the emotional pain of the past at a safe distance. This has never come easily, but in these later years it’s my safe place to be.
“Humans have been meditating for thousands of years, often as part of a spiritual practice. But in more recent years, mindfulness has become a popular way to help people manage their stress and improve their overall well-being —”
Body and mind fitness
Self care is a huge priority in aging gracefully. This is a challenge for most of us as we age. Maintaining an active body and mind is a life saver, especially as we grow older.
Mindfulness practices are individual…
Writing is my escape to “Neverland.” I say this because this imaginary place allows my mind to be free to explore and create without day to day distractions. This is where the child in me appears in my mind. Children are free thinkers. With some practice and discipline, you too can fly off to Neverland and sit with Peter Pan.
Exercise is a great escape for me and many other seniors in our community. I have a recumbent bike to cruise around the neighborhood. Our community gym is a halfway pit stop for me to get my strength exercise. It is inspiring for me to be surrounded by seniors who work out most days.
My old friend Charles carves out at least one hour a day to escape. These are the things he does to keep his mind free for a little while, including his daily workout regime.
Charles…NY Times Spelling Bee; Daily Crossword puzzle; Daily Jumble; create spreadsheets and review daily for investment tracking; home projects; travel planning; home budget review; maintain Family Tree updates. Read books, news events, editorials for at least 1 hour each day.
My wife Judy loves Solitaire and Mahjongg. She can do this while watching TV without missing a step. She is a reader of novels, unlike me. Glass art and pottery are favorite creative outlets she enjoys.
There are many other meditative practices to explore, including Yoga at home alone or with a group of kindred spirits. Our community pool is very popular for folks to participate in water aerobics or just float, swim and engage in conversation with like minded friends and neighbors.
Praying & spiritual practices
It is my belief that most humans speak to their God or Heavenly Father. Finding solice in knowing there is a higher power is most often a highly spiritual healing practice. Cultures from all around the globe pray alone and in groups, usually a church, temple or synagogue. I feel great comfort praying outdoors with Mother Nature. I can feel and see God by the sea, in the mountains and the desert while balmy winds soothe my soul.
It is my hope that this article helps others find peace of mind and a safe place to meditate or pray. Stick with it. Experiment while you search for your very own Neverland.