by Kassandra Lamb ~ Eight years ago, I wrote a post about 15 Things You Should Do By the Time You’re 62. It was well received. That post was about things one should do along the way, while on this journey called Life. Today, 9 days after my 70th birthday, I bring you 17 Things to Do IN Your Seventies.
This post is about making the most of our “golden years.”
1. Live where you enjoy the climate most of the year.
Life is too short to wish large chunks of it away. So if at all possible, make your home base in your golden years a place where the weather suits you most of the time.
I lived in Maryland for 52 years. I hated the almost 4 months of winter, and disliked the 2 months of autumn that reminded me winter was coming…and the month and a half of coolish, rainy weather in early spring.
That left only 5 months, May to September, when I wasn’t wishing it was several weeks or months farther along in the year.
So we moved to Florida when we retired, where I love October through December and March through May. Plus June to September (stinking hot) and January to February (mild winter) are still okay.
I rarely find myself wishing my life away anymore because of the weather.
2. Respect your body’s limits but stay active and have fun!
My body definitely is not able to do everything it used to do, not even things I could do at age 60. My knees don’t work all that well anymore, I tire easily, etc.
But I still exercise almost every day. Why? Because I feel better physically and mentally when I do, even though I hate the exercising itself.
I’m always looking for ways to make it less tedious and more fun. I did low-impact Zumba for a while. Then I got a small (non-electric) treadmill so I could “walk” in air-conditioned comfort while watching TV.
But even that has gotten boring, so I’m trying something new now when I exercise. More on that in a moment.
3. Revisit the activities of your youth.
Check out those things you used to do and enjoyed. You may find that you can still do them, perhaps with some adjustments. I went kayaking last spring, for the first time in over 30 years.
And I loved it! Much to my surprise, my arms held up just fine paddling my way down the river (I’m not likely to try going upstream any time soon, however).
Fresh air, sunshine, and the company of a good friend (who helped haul me out of the kayak at the end)—it was wonderful!
4. Go hang-gliding or sky-diving at least once (or something else outrageous).
Not by yourself, necessarily, but using one of those companies where you go in tandem with an experienced person.
I haven’t done this yet. The kayaking friend mentioned above went hang-gliding to celebrate her 60th birthday. And now it is on my bucket list!
If flying through the air isn’t your thing, try something else outrageous you’ve always wanted to do. Such as…
5. Drive the car of your dreams, even if it seems silly or impractical. (If you can’t afford to own it, rent one for a few days!)
When my stepfather was in his sixties, he needed a new car. My mom asked him what he wanted.
“You know,” he said, “I’ve always wanted to drive a Jeep…the original kind with the open top and a roll bar. But I guess I’m too old for that now.”
Her response: “You aren’t getting any younger. Do it!”
So for the next 7 years, he drove a bright red, two-seater Jeep that was totally impractical. And he loved every minute of it.
6. Hug friends and family often.
During the pandemic, I missed hugs the most!
And there is a physiological reason why they are uplifting. Our bodies release the hormone oxytocin (otherwise known as the love hormone) when we hug. It gives us warm fuzzy feelings, reduces our stress level and encourages us to “affiliate” more with other people (and get more hugs!)
7. Tell your kids and grandkids you’re proud of them.
If for nothing else than to watch their faces light up.
8. Let your hair go gray!
This was a serendipity of the pandemic. I couldn’t go to the hairdresser for over a year. And I discovered a lot of lovely streaks of silver in my hair.
So I decided to let it stay that way! Which brings me to…
9. Cherish your hard-won wisdom.
I’m proud to have made it to 70, and to have learned quite a few things along the way!
My greatest nugget of wisdom – don’t get invested in the outcome! Another way of saying, focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t.
This is easier said than done sometimes, but if you can master it, life will be much more peaceful (I might just do an entire blog post on this subject).
10. Follow your passion to create.
Whether it’s writing, painting, knitting, wood-working…whatever your passion may be. And don’t worry if you are “good” at it.
If you’re enjoying yourself, that’s what counts.
11. Make music.
Play an instrument, join a choir, or just sing along to your car radio. Music lightens our mood and feeds our soul.
12. Figure out what makes you happy and do that!
Ask yourself each day, “What do I really want to do today?” If at all possible, do it.
I figured out decades ago that the thing that makes me feel the best is a sense of accomplishment. Nothing makes me feel more upbeat than being productive. And it doesn’t matter all that much the size of the accomplishment. I feel good when I catch up on the laundry!
Which brings me back to what I’m doing for exercise lately. I save up my household chores for the day and do them in quick succession, during a 20 to 30-minute period, while moving rapidly around the house. I start on my treadmill for a few minutes to get my heart pumping. Then I keep it pumping by walking quickly from room to room, doing a little chore here and straightening things up there. If I feel my heart rate slipping, I jump on the treadmill again for a minute or so.
When I’m done, I’m downright glowing with a sense of accomplishment—I exercised and got those other tasks done too. Whatever else I accomplish that day is gravy!
13. Travel often, while you can.
See new places, or just go to some other town to break up your routine.
This was another thing I missed a lot during the pandemic.
Hubs and I are just now starting to travel again, and it’s so much fun. And so refreshing to have that change of locale and change of pace.
And while you’re doing that…
9. Pay for comfort.
If you can afford it, go for that bigger room with the king-sized bed, and those “comfort” seats with the extra leg room on the plane.
Certainly, one doesn’t want to run out of money before one dies. But I realized a few years ago that we were being frugal when we traveled out of habit…when it wasn’t always necessary anymore.
And as I’ve aged, comfort has become more and more important, so I don’t skimp on it now.
15. Stop assuming you have to make a difference in the world.
Been there, done that. Got the tee shirt!
Certainly, if you want to do something that helps make the world a better place, go for it.
But my guess is you’ve already paid those dues many times over, so it isn’t required anymore. You can skate on by now, if you choose to.
Let the young-uns change the world. It’s their season.
16. Avoid dwelling on the negatives.
It’s really, really easy, as we age, to dwell on the losses and the negatives. The things we can’t do anymore, the health challenges, etc.
But that negativity only robs us of our remaining joy. There’s still lots to celebrate every day—sunshine, friends, good food, a glass of wine—whatever!
Which brings me to…
17. Savor the smooth times.
Again, it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives and dwell on the rough patches in life. But when things are going well, stop and take notice!
Savor the smooth times! Indeed, such a moment of savoring, when all was well in my world, was the inspiration for this post.
How about you, folks? Any other thoughts on how to best enjoy our senior years?
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological mysteries, set in her native Maryland, and the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida. Plus she has started a new police procedural series, also set in Florida—The C.o.P. on the Scene mysteries. And she writes romantic suspense under the pen name of Jessica Dale.
Misterio press produces an array of quality crime fiction. We post here twice a month, usually on Tuesdays, to alert you to new releases, to entertain, and to inform.
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