How to Be an Adventurous Lover of Life in Your 60s by Saying, “I Can!”
Beyoncé has a famous song – perhaps her most famous – called “All the Single Ladies.” I’d like to retitle it “All the Senior Ladies.”
This does not come as a call to get a guy to marry you, which is the theme of Beyoncé’s song, but as a call to be adventuresome. If you like it, go for it. Whatever that “it” might be. It could be sky-diving, cycling, Tango, going back to school or painting.
I get many comments from people who visit the Meet the Amazings! Facebook page which highlights inspiring, dynamic, thriving seniors.
Many people say, “Oh, that’s all very well if you’re healthy, but I’m disabled. I can’t do any of that.” Or, “I’ve had cancer,” “I’m diabetic,” or “I have heart problems.” Being fully healthy and totally-abled makes things easier.
That, however, is true at any age! I’m sure the members of the AMP1 Arizona amputee basketball team would vastly prefer having all their limbs, but they’d rather play their favorite game relying on their prosthetics or wheelchairs – than not play. This should also be true of us senior ladies.
Age Doesn’t Own Us
Age isn’t a defining factor of our lives. Nor is any disability or health condition*. What defines us is how much we’re willing to put ourselves forward or to go for it.
Take, for example, Ann McGowan, who, at 93, participates in the US National Senior Games as she has for some 30 years. In her most recent competition, Ann took the silver medal for the long jump and a bronze medal for winning the shotput and discus competition. Not exactly easy-peasy sports!
This, even though Ann had a mastectomy not long ago and earlier endured back surgery. She didn’t let either of these interfere with her love of competitive sports nor her day-job as a cosmetologist.
Ann’s reasoning is that if she feels like doing something, she just does it, regardless of what others might see as her limitations or long odds. The result? She is wonderfully successful and happy.
Willing to go for it notwithstanding limitations doesn’t just apply to sports. Artie Giles, for instance, received her Master’s Degree at 85. She’d dreamed of this achievement all her life but working, raising a family and taking care of ailing parents prevented her from reaching her goal.
Not only that, but about 10 years ago, Artie suffered an unusual nerve condition that left her paralyzed and bedridden for a year and then wheelchair-bound. Artie could see nothing but pain and misery in her future and was ready to pack it all in.
However, with her brother’s support and insistence that she not give up on life, Artie began thinking she might as well go for that degree despite her physical limitations and her age of 81.
Since then, Artie says that her life has been unbelievably rewarding. Had she let her health and disability stop her, Artie would never have experienced such happiness.
Instead of “I Can’t” Say “I Can”
What stops us is not so much our actual physical limitations, but how we perceive them and how we talk to ourselves (and others) about them. Instead of saying, “I can’t, because . . .” start saying, “Let’s see how I can figure out a way to do this thing I want to do.”
Your mind starts working entirely different. It starts looking for solutions to accomplish what you want rather than providing you with yet more reasons why you can’t.
All you have to do is point it toward the possible. Start to investigate how other people with your disability have managed. Explore how you could brainstorm with other people and get ideas that might help you.
So, let’s get with it, senior ladies! Let’s show the world what adventuresome lovers-of-life we are. Let’s shrug off our “I can’ts” and have a simply wonderful senior time.
As the eminent scientist Stephen Hawkins, who was probably one of the most physically challenged people on the planet, said, “Be curious… however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you just don’t give up.”
What have you given up on that you regret? What have you dreamed you’d like to do, but still haven’t done? How have you overcome physical limitations to achieve a goal? Please share in the comments below.
*Always consult with your physician before taking on any activity that might put your well-being at risk.
Dr. Noelle Nelson is a psychologist, consultant and speaker. She is passionate about personal growth and happiness. She’s authored over a dozen books including “Happy Healthy… Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right.” Please visit Noelle’s website.