I recently watched The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman again. It reminded me that we often refuse to recognize that we’re getting older. Consequently, we get into trouble because we refuse to deal with it. So, if you’re over forty, here are some suggestions:
The most important one is to realize that you don’t have the stamina and resiliency you had when you were younger. You can’t and shouldn’t push yourself so hard. You need to ease up. You need to rest. You need to take naps. You need to do the right kinds of exercise. You need to eat right and to cook right.
You can’t and shouldn’t drink as much as you once did. You shouldn’t and can’t stay up to all hours. You shouldn’t be using illegal drugs—but you know that already!
You need to start consulting your doctor more. You need to take preventive care. You need to take medications prescribed for you. If you do take your medications, make sure that your doctor and your pharmacist explain what the effects are, what the side effects are, what the interactive effects with other medications (and alcohol and illegal drugs) are. Make sure that they tell you what the consequences can be if you go off the meds abruptly.
You need to understand one important factor about getting older: pain is diagnostic. That means that if you hurt, see your doctor. Sometimes it’s hard to be patient with her or him, but you must insist that you find out what’s causing that pain—and don’t give up till you do!
Go to the dentist as well. Make sure that you’re taking care of your teeth and gums. As we now know, there’s a strong connection between dental hygiene and a host of illnesses, including Type II diabetes. Taking care of your teeth now will help you in the future.
Be easier on your partner/main squeeze! You may be pushing too hard and affecting her or him. She/he may be pushing too hard as well, affecting you. You may be triggering each other in very bad ways because you’re both crankier and either don’t know it or don’t want to acknowledge it.
Go to your therapist as well—for yourself and together as a couple. You should have a therapist who is familiar with people as they age. If you’re approaching retirement, s/he should help you adjust to the changes that will come to you, and possibly to your partner, as well. Your offspring may either not want to accept that you have less energy and stamina or see you as over the hill. So, they might be needed to be brought into therapy as well.
The last and most important suggestion is the same as the first one—enjoy your life! There are all sorts of flowers to smell—do it!