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A Primer on Aging

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by , health and fitness expert (see my photos below)

Aging—we all do it. The problem we face is how we do it gracefully. Most of the bad effects of aging are preventable. The box to the right lists some common concerns we all have. As we age, we face more of these problems.

However, if we age properly, we are more equipped to face them than we started out to be. As you age, you should accumulate knowledge, wisdom, good habits, communication skills, financial assets, confidence, and attitude.

Let's divide all these concerns into two areas: Interior and exterior. Interior things are those you can change about yourself. Exterior things are those you must change in your environment.

You should focus on making interior changes, as they have the most impact.

Typical problems with aging

  • Financial concerns--retirement
  • Getting fat
  • Loss of energy
  • Osteoporosis
  • Degenerative diseases: diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer's
  • Problems with kids and family
  • Losing touch with what's "hot"--becoming outdated
  • Loss of spouse
  • Loss of parents
  • The IRS
  • Real Estate care--keeping home and other property in good shape
  • Time
  • Fear of dying


Interior Changes

Exterior Changes

The physical concerns are foundational--that is, unless your body is healthy, you are going to have a hard row to hoe with any other changes you need to make. You need proper diet, exercise, and rest.

You would do well, at this point, to visit www.supplecity.com and bookmark it. Be sure to read the free information on diet and exercise. And try some of those recipes!

Using the information in those pages will vastly increase your energy, and vastly increase your ability to deter, delay, or prevent:

  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Illnesses in general

Simply put, you make yourself sick--it doesn't just happen. Yes, there are some genetic problems that creep up on you as you age. And yes, age itself takes a toll. But if you work at being healthy, you'll drop your odds of ever getting sick to almost zero. If you do get sick, don't go on a guilt trip--figure out what went wrong and try to fix it.

Here's an analogy: If you lie down on a highway, you stand a good chance of getting run over--this is how most people are with their health.

If, however, you refuse to put yourself into compromising conditions like this, then it takes something almost bizzarre to nail you.

The mental concerns are also of paramount importance. After all, if you don't enjoy life, what is the point in being healthy?

Let's not take this the way drug addicts (e.g., tobacco users) do to justify destroying their health--that is intellectually dishonest. You can enjoy life just fine without ruining your health (or that of others).

A positive outlook is important, but you can't just decide to be happy. You need   develop skills in communication and interpersonal relationships. You need to find activities that are mentally challenging and spiritually meaningful.

And that last part doesn't necessarily mean religious in nature--you are looking for things that make you feel you have added something to humanity, that you have made the world a better place. If that means reading stories to small children, then fine. It never includes belittling others.

When you were younger, you were like a babbling brook--running very fast but really accomplishing much. And people had no qualms about stepping on you, peeing on you, etc.

As you get older, your water runs slower. Just remember, still water runs deep. Imagine a deep lake, high in a mountain top.

What do people do at such lakes? They love the pristine beauty, and respect the lake for what it is. They drop their fishing lines in, and hope the lake will offer to share from its depths. You want to be like that lake. Make yourself into the kind of person you want to be--focus on activities that will meet that end.

And you have the respect of both yourself and others for who you are. Does television help you meet this goal? No? Then drop it.

Does getting angry over small things help you gain stature? No? Then find ways to remind yourself of this.

The most important thing to remember in this life: take important things seriously, but enjoy a good laugh over those that are unimportant. That guy who cut you off in traffic? It's his blood pressure, not yours, that will be a problem.

Tired of long commutes? Get recorded books, so you can feed your mind and make good use of the time.

 

As you age, you accumulate battle scars. You deal with in-laws, kids who defy you, and government agencies. Telemarketers drive you nuts. How can you change these factors in your environment?

First, you must take care of those interior changes. Once you have your own porch in order, you'll be in a position to "clean house" with everyone else.

The second thing you must do is analyze with exterior changes you are in a position to make. Certainly, you can't change other people's personalities. But, you can stop engaging in enabling behaviors.

For example, your in-laws drop in uninvited on a regular basis. This really irritates you. And you've told them so. Yet, when they drop in, you play the good host until they leave.

Change your behavior, then they will change theirs. If they welcome company at any time, they may not see why you don't. So, show them.

Most people are creatures of habit. Thus, if your in-laws drop by usually about supper time, make a point of being gone at that time. But, you don't want to alienate them. So, call them and invite them to have supper with you at a specified time on a specified day. Before long, you'll have them trained.

You can approach most exterior situations this way--as long as the gap in power is not too great. Always try to accommodate the needs of the other party by offering to do so on your terms and making it difficult or impossible for this to happen on other terms.

Government agencies can drive us nuts. The IRS, in particular, seems to exist for the sole purpose of making life hell for citizens. Now, step back and look at the situation. You are a citizen--and that gives you power you can use.

When the IRS is unreasonable (they have been known to be reasonable on occasion), it is not the IRS you are dealing with. It is an individual. Make the problem personal.

Find something unreasonable in the person's approach--embellish if you must--and write to that person asking to be reassigned to someone else. Copy that letter to the the District Manager (you can use the same address--just put District Manager on the top line). The person you are dealing with will fear you. And then you have some bargaining power.

Copy each subsequent letter to a growing chain of command--IRS Commissioner, Senate Finance Committee, the Internet, and so on. Don't be a victim--make victims. That is how you handle government agencies that treat you poorly. By exercising the power vested in you as a citizen, you show these people they cannot mistreat you. Do so calmly.

What about time? You can't make more of it. However, you can make excellent use of the time you have. Most people are clueless about this, and don't even realize it.

How much would you pay for an extra week's vacation each year? How much would you pay if you could have two full days each year just for making love? Hmm.

For a very small investment, you can learn some ways to gain incredible amounts of time. Click here:

Time Management Course

How most  exterior things affect you depends on how you strengthen the interior you. Acquire new skills and knowledge on a regular basis. Try new things. Meet new people by volunteering to be active in professional or other organizations. Give back.

Be confident that, because you have done these things, exterior things will work in your favor as long as you address problems intelligently.

Most people live with a victim mentality. You can choose to live with an attitude of victory and a persona of strength. And as you age, you can often look back and say, "I have handled worse." Your experience, then, becomes a tremendous asset. As do your connections, your network of people you have been helping throughout your life, and your many years of learning.

Fear of death is the final thing to address, here. If you are taking care of your health, death is unlikely to seize you while your age is in the single digits. And if you make it past that point, you've had a full life.


Books on aging | Videos on aging

 

 
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