I’ve been absent from the blogosphere for a while. At this point in my life, like many of us in our fifties, I’ve got less energy than I used to have and I’m dealing with loss, illness in my family, and oh yes, hot flashes and sleepless nights. So while I haven’t had much time or energy to write, what I have had is time to philosophize and to develop my own set of rules for how to live life to the fullest in this “half-way there” decade despite, or perhaps because, of all of the above.
So in a rare moment of downtime, I wrote down my, “Fifteen Philosophies for Those in Their Fifties”.
Put on your reading glasses and let me know what you think.
1. Be gentle with yourself. Middle-age is like going through puberty backwards. Only your parents aren’t around to support you while you mope and fret and try to find yourself (all over again).
2. Love the body you are in and don’t dis’ it because it’s not as perky, thin, or bouncy as it was when you were young. If you’re lucky enough to live to a ripe old age, you’ll be idolizing the body you have now.
3. Model tolerance. By our 50’s we should have been around long enough and had enough life experience to know that most people are basically the same on the inside, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual preference and political affiliation.We all want to love and be loved, to be able to express ourselves without fear of ridicule or persecution, and for our loved ones to be healthy, safe and free from pain.
4. Find the exercise of your own understanding, not the exercise of your youth, or the latest trend. Figure out how you like to move and do it often. And get off the sofa. No one every lay on their death bed and wished they watched more TV.
5. Go see your doctor. Now. Despite the woes of our health care system, most of us are blessed to have access to excellent preventative care in the US. Go take the tests and fix the little stuff before it becomes big stuff.
6. Treat yourself with the foods you love, but don’t go overboard if they aren’t good for you. Savor whatever it is. Eat it consciously while doing nothing but concentrating on what you are eating. You may find a little treat goes a long way, and you don’t need to eat yourself into future health problems.
7. Make friends of all ages. the young ones will remind you of all you have forgotten about your youth. The older ones will prepare you for what lies ahead. the friends your own age will support you as you experience life’s stages together.
8. Tell your spouse, partner, parents, children, friends and pets that you love them. And not necessarily in that order. And do it often. It’s good for your health and theirs too.
9. Live in the present. We can’t change the past and concentrating on the future can make us anxious. Besides, if you don’t live in the present, you may miss some really good stuff happening right now.
10. Floss. Brush, Rinse. Repeat. Take care of those teeth so you don’t have to live on a diet of applesauce and oatmeal in the old age home.
11. Fifty-something year-olds are badass and have a lot of wisdom and life experience. Share it with those who are interested. And ask others share to their wisdom with you, as well. You may learn something valuable.
12. Get a pet. I’m a dog person, so I would say get a dog, especially if you walk that dog regularly, but really, just go out and rescue a fur baby in need of a home. You will get more unconditional love and stress-relief than you can possibly imagine.
13. Travel. Nothing enriches your life like leaving your comfort zone and having new experiences. This could be as simple as taking a bus or car ride to a part of your city you’ve never visited before or as complicated as going to live on the other side of the world. Stay as long as you possibly can, and once you’re done with the tourist spots, go interact with the locals.
14. Read books. Like travel, reading takes us to a whole new world of imagination, places and people we otherwise would never have the pleasure of experiencing.
15. Find your own philosophies. Maybe some of what I have said above will resonate with you, maybe it won’t. The most important thing is to find ways to be content with your life, cherish the joys, share the sorrows, and do whatever necessary to consciously make the next half of your life one with meaning for you and the ones you love.