Over the past couple of months, I’ve heard a couple of friends emphatically say in passing – “I have no desire to live to be a hundred!”. Since I’ve become curious and fascinated about aging, I was taken aback by this common thought process. Maybe, if I hadn’t started my venture into researching midlife, which I started a little over a year ago, I may have said the same thing. I find this shift in my thought process rather surprising!
I started “@wellagedliving” on Instagram in July 2017 and via this incredible community, I’ve found a world of like minded 50+ women as well as research that embrace and promote the aging process. Its been so much fun to see women who are proud of their age and are eager to share information. (P.S. its a struggle to find men who are sharing their thoughts on aging). I’ve found numerous publications and studies which address aging for our generation. One favorite is “Blue Zones”, by Dan Buettner. This book documents their studies of centenarians around the world and shares what was key to these communities where the elders are healthy both in body and mind.
From these observations, I find that I want to live as long as I can but in order to do so, I must take charge of my well being. Mother nature and fate may have other ideas for my walk on this planet however, I must do my part. In America, we have so many elders in senior living facilities, memory care facilities and it seems we have an entire nation preparing to live in this way, or as I view it – give up! Isn’t this a mindset? Lets be sure we build numerous elder day care centers, lets be sure we show the baby boomers they need to prepare, lets get ready to need others to live out our final years…
Why aren’t we saying “hey, lets prepare to live a vibrant life well into 90s and 100? Why aren’t we hearing the world tell us to take charge – at any age! Take charge and prepare to live a long independent fulfilling life? Why instead, are we preparing for a life of caregivers? Why are we preparing to let them take charge of our lives? This is 2018, we are smarter, we have information but instead, we succumb to the lifestyles as we know it because that’s the way we’ve always done it. We continue to eat processed foods, take medications, SIT in front of screens. Why? Because this is what has been modeled for us. This is what is predicted for us. All these senior living care facilities being constructed – all more messaging that we need to be ready for our fate of living as a dependent of others versus living independently.
We baby boomers need to wake up! I want to live to be a hundred if I can be independent, be active and be mentally aware. I realize the body’s limitations and the need to also prepare however, I also know there is more for us if we take charge and question our daily choices sooner, rather than later. So, can I do this? Or do I just live my life and see what happens. It is my responsibility to also have the foresight to believe its quite possible that I can do it on my own, I can be strong, I can be engaged cognitively with my family, my friends and my community. BUT, I need to take charge. I may not be as spry, or as agile or as quick but I can be alive and vibrant. It starts with starting… get moving. If you already exercise, push yourself just a little harder, try something new. I know we’ve lived long lives and we want to rest or are exhausted but remember, working on us also invigorates us. Let’s change our mindsets and our friends mindsets so we can live a well aged life.