You Can Apply the Life Ideas of These Oldest Right Now
Another year and we are one year older. But there is also a bright side to the inevitable movement of time: we all age, and seniors have higher emotional well-being than adolescents and young adults . Our happiest days shouldn’t be left behind.
An anecdotal illustration of this trend appeared in this update to the New York Times series, which featured six New Yorkers over 85. Checking in with them now, two years later, two of the elders have passed away, but an interview with reporter John Leland and the remaining four will teach some valuable lessons for happiness.
Sustainability is a hot topic, along with the promise of life’s ups and downs. Fred Jones, who passed away in April 2016, illustrated his opinion on the matter:
It’s like a bridge-tunnel across the Chesapeake Bay … The span is too long to be a bridge, so they had a bridge and an underpass. So, part of it you are here, and part of it is here, and finally you get to the East Bank. Good days, bad days. But overall, good days.
You don’t have to live nearly a century to take this forward-thinking approach to your life. Some more things that can steal a kit up to 80:
Take time to adapt to big changes. Ping Wong, who “named her ages by different names: 90, 92, 98 and nearly 100,” reflected on the importance of adapting to change. She spent 2017 adjusting to life in a nursing home – at her age, a year of adaptation could be seen as a drop in the bucket of a long life, or as precious time with almost nothing left, but she found the time she needed to find a perspective that allows her to enjoy new circumstances, get used to a new wheelchair and make friends in a new mahjong group.
Don’t make a disaster. Ruth Willig is 94 years old. She broke a bone in her foot this summer; putting on a cumbersome healing boot, she fell and hurt herself again. Her commitment to physiotherapy and recovery is a lesson, but her mindset is more important: after the second trauma, she recalls that it was not the pain or the trauma itself that was scared, but that it was “the beginning of the end.”
Ruth Finkelstein, Associate Director, Columbia Center for Aging Robert N. Butler at Columbia University told the Times: “People have a premature sense of when the end will come. And this is harmful in terms of what kind of help they turn to. In truth, people are getting better. An acute accident doesn’t have to be the end.
Don’t wait to appreciate what you have. When 93-year-old Helen Moses was asked what she was looking forward to, she replied, “Just a pleasant old age.”
What did this mean to her?
“To tell you the truth, I don’t know.”
Was she living now?
Miss Moses did not hesitate.
“Yeah,” she said.
She also said of her longtime companion Howie Zeimer, “His kisses are getting better.” Never stop trying to improve and develop.
Do you want to be happy? Think like an old man | New York Times