According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, the number of Americans 55 and older will more than double by the year 2030.
And, despite Covid, our average life expectancy remains at 78.5 years. This means those 50+ can look for many more years to enjoy life if they remain healthy and active.
Though there are some aspects of aging we can’t change — graying hair, slower metabolism, and wrinkles — we can most definitely “stay in the game.”
During a recent trip with some of my over-50 girlfriends, we got to laughing around a firepit with our glasses of wine about the aging process.
But we also talked about the ways we stay active, sharp, and have a whole different kind of fun than we did in our younger years. Plus, of course, with age comes a wonderful added benefit: A whole lot of wisdom.
Here are some ways we can stay young at heart, relevant, and happy.
Learning is a journey, not a destination. And those who are passionate and committed to learning know its value.
I retired from a 35+ year nursing career in 2014 and became a travel writer. Yes, I had to learn the tricks of the trade, but it’s been a whole lot of fun. This “second skilling” has kept me marvelously happy and satisfied.
Develop a Hobby
Remember when we were younger and would often say “I wish I had time to…?”
Well, now is the time. Your financial situation will determine how much investment you put into your hobby, but here’s the great part: You can plant that garden you always wanted to, take a photography course to up your skill level, learn to play an instrument, or begin birding or crafting. Fun hobbies keep our minds sharp and our hearts content.
Stay Physically Active
Maybe you can’t handle a marathon or a 10-mile hike anymore. That’s OK! There are a host of other activities you can do that support healthy aging. Many of us were quite adventurous in our youth and we can still enjoy adventure as we age. Now in my mid-60s, I refer to it as “soft adventure.”
Walking or hiking comes with fresh air, a quickened pulse rate, and a chance to observe nature or socialize with your exercise partner. Bicycling and kayaking are also fun options providing good exercise maintaining balance and strength.
Don’t Stop Traveling
When my mother-in-law was in her 80s and her health started to decline, she announced a retirement from traveling.
Perhaps those long overseas flights might be a little too much to handle, but there are many other options. Day trips to Amish Country, a short flight for a weekend visit with family, or venturing to a local park or botanical garden are all travel.
What’s most important is to not stop traveling. Romance writer Sandra Lake once said “With age comes wisdom. With travel comes understanding.” Travel is taking a journey into yourself, and that journey should never end until it must.
Maintain Strong Relationships
Healthy relationships are one of the keys to both physical and psychological well-being.
We are social creatures.
Positive connections and social support can improve health, strengthen your immune system, and increase longevity. And they provide a better quality of life overall.
So, when you consider your intimate connections (family and close friends), relational connections (people you regularly see, such as workmates and neighbors), or collective connections (group memberships and affiliations), remember to prioritize those that bring the most happiness and satisfaction to your life.
Surrounding ourselves with positivity and trust pays big dividends.
Life is one of the greatest journeys we will ever be on.
That’s why it’s so important to make it count. Every single day.