Three Observations About Growing Older, Aging Well, and Making a Big Difference

Is there anything more compelling than a “big” milestone birthday to get you thinking about your future? Birthdays are a natural time when we’re inclined to reflect on our lives—past, present, and future. As one who just celebrated a milestone that qualifies for senior discounts, I should know. I’m thankful for the meandering path that has brought me to where I am right now, and I’m looking forward to all the possibilities and opportunities yet to come. (And apparently that means I can also save a little money just because I’ve reached A Certain Age.)

Growing older is an inevitable part of life, and we have a choice as we age:  We can either do so with grace and purpose, or we can focus on the negative aspects. I love what Andy Rooney once said.

“It’s paradoxical, that the idea of long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.” Aging well doesn’t mean that you’re trying to stay young forever; instead, you’re open to embracing the changes that come with more years.

Working at a Life Plan Community where our residents range from their 60s to over 100 gives me a glimpse into how other people have and are responding to aging. I’m taking notes. I’ve seen how people can look at the same glass and call it half full or half empty, and I’m determined to receive life as the gift it is and to hunt for silver linings in clouds, especially when they’re dark and gray.

A few observations I’ve gleaned from our incredible residents—

  1. Aging well starts between your ears. Birthdays determine our chronological age, but it’s our mindset that truly determines how we experience life. In other words, if you think you’re old, you’re old! I’ve worked with people who are old at 62 and others who are young at 96, and it’s all about the attitude they’re projecting. Embracing a positive attitude and staying curious about the world around you helps keep you engaged and excited about life, regardless of how old you are.
  2. Growing older has real benefits. Have you ever considered that one of the greatest gifts of aging is the ability to embrace change and growth? Over time we gain wisdom from experience; what we may have resisted when we were younger, now comes more easily. Constantly facing new challenges essentially forces us to adapt and evolve. True, change is difficult, but isn’t it a wonderful catalyst for personal growth and development?

  3. You have a lot to offer. At some point after retirement, it may be tempting to think you no longer have anything of value to contribute. It’s also easy to feel overwhelmed by the problems facing our world or even in your own life. But, as long as you’ve got breath in your lungs, you can make a difference. You are making a difference!

You are the only you that ever was, or ever will be. Your family, friends, and this world need you to do what only you can do!

Making a big difference doesn’t have to involve grand gestures. Even the smallest acts of kindness and compassion can have a profound impact on those around us. Reach out to someone who’s lonely. Cultivate a new friendship with someone who shares a common interest. Try something new. Mentor a young person. Read at a nearby elementary school. Share your passion projects or invite others to learn your favorite hobby. Volunteer. Serve at church or on a local committee.

As we grow older, aging well gives us an ongoing sense of purpose. When we find meaning in our lives and create positive change, we are better able to navigate the challenges and uncertainties that come with getting older. Investing in others and the world around us not only makes a big difference, but it sets a wonderful example and leaves behind a beautiful legacy.

My job as a life plan advisor at Carlyle Place has given me a front row seat to residents who are living well. Though many people struggled with the decision to move to a continuing care retirement community initially, most have told me they wish they had come years earlier! Retirement communities like Carlyle Place have every support available to help you age well—fitness and wellness opportunities; socialization, on-campus activities, and outings; a full continuum of healthcare when needed; opportunities to serve and give back to our community; and new friends to go with your old.

Growing older is a gift. Observing those who are aging gracefully helps me to be excited about the future!

Come make some observations yourself by calling Life Plan Advisors Laura McMaster, Wendel Nelson, or Robin Dance at 478-405-4500 today to schedule a tour and complimentary lunch at Carlyle Place, central Georgia’s premier Life Plan Community.  

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