When I interviewed developmental molecular biologist (try saying that 3 times fast) John Medina about how to keep your brain healthy after 60, he was full of useful advice. For the most part, his recommendations fell into the “things we know in our hearts that we should be doing” category – getting more exercise, improving our sleep and learning to deal with stress.
Being a woman is hard work. For most of our lives, we are battered around by external and internal forces alike. As girlfriends, mothers, wives, colleagues and grandmothers, we have to deal with the expectations of others. At the same time, we are often our own worst critics. We worry about how we look. We criticize our own decisions. We worry about the future. And on… and on.
I have terrible news. There is a killer in your living room. Even worse, you probably think that this particular assassin is your friend. After all, he says all the right things. He entertains you. He even keeps you company at night. Unfortunately, this killer also has a hidden agenda – he wants to keep you isolated, dependent and worried. Why? To steal money for his employers.
No, I’m not talking about a member of your family, a friend or your Scottish Terrier. I’m talking about your TV.
When I ask the members of our community what challenges they are facing, a lack of meaningful friendships and a lack of financial resources are at the top of the list. On the surface, these are different issues, with different causes. But, if you dig a little deeper, they both relate to our changing circumstances.
Do you love yourself? It’s a simple question, but, for most of us, I suspect the answer is complex. On one level, I assume that most of us have the instinct to say “Of course!” But, I’m less sure whether we really mean it. Or, do we perhaps just believe that this is the right thing to say.
Many women – and quite a few men for that matter – worry about getting older. Personally, I was 49 for several years, before finally admitting to the world, and myself, that I was in my 50s.
It’s not just the obvious things that we worry about, like wrinkles or a few extra pounds. Many of us obsess about more important things, like how to find meaning in our lives now that our kids have left the house or how to build new friendships as our social situations change.
As I round the bend toward seventy, one thought becomes clearer with each passing year. The longer we live, the more opportunities we have to pursue our dreams. This is a message I love to share… and, to my great surprise, I have the street creds to go with it!
Most baby boomers are still several years away from retirement age. Even those of us in our 60s don’t plan on retiring, according to the latest statistics. At the same time, while most of us don’t plan on slowing down, we all allow ourselves the occasional fantasy about where we will live in the future.
By the time you reach your 60th birthday, you have a pretty good idea of who you are. You have faced all of the challenges that life has thrown your way and you have emerged victorious – ok, a little bruised too, but, victorious none-the-less.
At the same time, by the time we reach our 60s, many people find that the person that they are on the inside and the person that they are on the outside have moved far apart.
So, your 60th birthday is almost here. Congratulations! You’ve already accomplished so much in your life – and you’re just getting started! At the same time, it’s natural to feel a bit apprehensive as you approach this important milestone. I know I did.