One of the most common conundrums I see with people in the third stage, is this:
It’s clear they are slowing down but reluctant to let go of the idea they will live vigorously forever!
Currently at mid 70s many of you are still climbing ladders, wielding chainsaws, lifting heavy pots and pans, bending over the oven, trimming the wisteria. Playing with grandkids wears you out but is still an adventure of running, getting down on all fours, playing tag. But can that last forever?
One look at your parents, if they are alive into their 90s says “No, it can’t last forever”. So how do your move from the place of “I am still the same me” to “What plans do I need to make for my more fragile self?” and do it on your terms.
Some of the work is emotional, some intellectual, some physical.
Emotionally you have to find a way to love being in this stage! Most of your big responsibilities are behind you. Kids are raised and hopefully on their own, your career is winding down or you are retired and enjoying hobbies and you are loving intellectual pursuits! You can really sit and watch the birds guilt free, make filling the birdfeeders a fun thing, not a hurried task. One woman I know at 96 took up watercoloring and discovered she had real talent. There was never time before to explore that!
Once you accept where you are, you spend less energy denying it.
If you wait too long, till a hip breaks, or some illness strikes, others will be making decisions for you. Way more comfortable to chart your own course now!
You can work on habits to make or avoid. I made some notes to myself:
- “Don’t row up your meds and supplements for all to see on the counter!” It says
OLD! Tuck them away.
- Put your car keys in the exact same spot every time, build that muscle memory
- Consider a foot pedal controlled kitchen faucet, easier on tired wrists and hands. Plus if you are cooking and get messy fingers, it’s easy to rinse your hands with foot pedal control!
- Replace door knobs with levers, much easier to do with hands that are sore.
- Change your garden up now to low maintenance plants. Replace the lawn with perennials. Consider automatic sprinklers.
- Treat yourself to Insta Cart or delivered groceries once a month.
- Make sure your dishes and crockery are not too heavy. Light weight plates are easier to handle.
Thinking ahead now to how you want your really golden years to look is important ! Do it now while you still have lots of energy and imagination. Pretend you are planning for someone else, because we all know,
“I am never getting old!”