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Age By Design
How do you choose to age? By default or by design? Because we live in an age-denying society, most of us are not inclined to anticipate the future challenges and opportunities encountered as we age. Life happens. We react. A common scenario resulting in a less than desirable journey. So, how can you increase the odds that you will experience an EXTRAordinary life—a life that you love? First, understand the aging process (all facets). Second, identify traveling companions. Third, evaluate the environment. And finally, discern what fills you up, brings you joy, and gets you out of bed every day! Don’t let life happen to you. Instead, Age By Design—YOUR Design!
Longevity: Pros and Cons
Currently in the United States, both men and women are expected to live into their eighties. This represents an increase in life expectancy of thirty years over the past century. The increased longevity is due in part to advances in medical technology, improved hygiene, and development and availability of effective medications. Fabulous news, right? Perhaps. The blessing of a longer life often depends on how we age. Longer is not always better. Consequently, it behooves us to consider the process of aging and to learn how we can enhance the quality of the lived experience.
The Costs of Aging
What are the costs associated with aging? If you are like most people in the United States, your thoughts immediate turned to health care costs. No doubt, a significant and often frightening cost of aging. As such, we will explore the current and anticipated financial costs associated with aging and illness. Additionally, we’ll explore “other costs” associated with aging such as personal, emotional, spiritual, and relational losses. Hopefully, by recognizing the likely costs of aging, we’ll be better prepared for the journey.
A Humorous Look at Aging
Today, as in years past, Bette Davis’ comment rings true. “Old age ain't no place for sissies.” Aging is a daunting prospect for most of us. Confronted by the challenges of illness, the reality of our mortality, and the myriad of losses prompted by aging, we obviously need courage, commitment, and conviction to complete the journey. Doesn’t hurt if we have a good sense of humor as well! Humor and laughter are known to be beneficial methods of coping with stress. So, how can we use humor to relieve some of the stress associated with aging?
Act II ( or Act III?)
Retirement today is quite different from what our parents envisioned or experienced. This is due in part to the fact that we are living longer. It also has to do with the fact that we are healthier and wealthier. How do we choose to invest our time, talents, and treasures throughout Act II (or III)? What constitutes a purposeful life? What gets you revved up and eager to jump out of bed every morning? These questions are worthy of serious consideration. If we are to age well, we must be intentional in how we choose to engage the journey.
Aging: The Shared Journey
Due to our increased life expectancy over the past century, we live in a multi-generational society unlike any before. Generational diversity affords us the opportunity to learn from each other and to serve each other. We all have something to offer. And, we all have something to learn. It is this lovely, mutually beneficial, multi-generational exchange that enhances the ultimate meaning of the aging process. Aging is a shared journey for all ages.
Plan Well to Live (Age) Well
How many of us have planned to age well? Quite often, due to our aversion of death and the aging process, we disregard the need to plan for our physical and cognitive demise. In order to live well, we must plan well. In order to plan well, we must realistically assess our situation, our wants, our needs, and the available resources.
Aging: The Opportunity of a Lifetime!
Getting old...a process that frightens, angers, and challenges many (if not MOST) people. Granted, aging is not for the faint of heart. However, the journey consists of more than grey hair, wrinkles, illness, and loss. So, instead of believing the negative headline news about aging, I invite you to seriously consider "getting" old. By that I mean recognizing and appreciating the burdens and the benefits of aging. Possibilities and opportunities come with age as well. Getting old is a gift—an opportunity of a lifetime! Don't miss it!