Older Americans month observed

Aging. It happens to everyone sooner or later. Months and years pass so quickly and when you look back you may see the mistakes you made that you wish you could change. Wisdom comes with age. Bob said, “We have this all backwards. We should start life as an older person and grow younger. We know what to do with all of that youth.” The thing is, life is what we make it at any age.

May is Older Americans Month. There are good things on which to focus and, as always, there is a downside. What do you think?

The term “elder” applies to an older, more experienced person who is valued for their wisdom. Wisdom comes with age.

“Paul” said to his wife, “All of our children are grown up and on their own now. I don’t have to set any more examples.”

“Wrong,” said Phyllis. “Your job is even more important now. You aren’t influencing only our children. Now you will be influencing grandchildren!”

A wise man once wrote that older men should be taught to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled and sound in faith, love and endurance. Older women should live respectfully, teaching what is good. They should be self-controlled and set good examples for others. So, being an elder is a pretty important job.

Aging does have its issues, but there is a lot of living still to be done since we are told, “Age is a state of mind more than a number.”

“Marge” is aging gracefully. She survived a major heart attack, died and the doctors brought her back. She followed instructions, built up her strength and went on to complete one of her life goals: She has been to every continent on the planet. She is still going strong.

“Georgie was the same age as Marge, but she failed to thrive after her children left her with an empty nest. She couldn’t seem to find meaning for her days and died several years ago.

The late Nora Ephron wrote, “The honest truth is that it’s sad to be over sixty.” However, there are a lot of 60-plusses out there who will beg to differ with that remark. Psychology experts, too, advise that aging is part of living, it’s going to happen. The best way to handle it is to plan ahead what you will do when you retire.

At WebMD, the word is that the elderly can grow old with grace and acceptance and elders still have mountains to climb-some literally. But some older people become bitter, depressed, isolated and can’t find meaning for their lives. That is called “failure to thrive.”

Psychologists recommend that, to age gracefully, you have to anticipate what is coming down the road when independent living will not be possible. There is more to life than how you look or what others think of you. Hanging out with the right crowd may teach you that being with other elders is a comforting, accepting thing because life perceptions have changed. It’s important to find reasons to get up every morning.

While too many retirees sit down and give up, retirement really should be about doing all of the things you planned to do after your children were grown up: travel, lifelong learning, spiritual pursuits, finding quality family time building memories.

So what are you going to do when you retire? Make the experience a transition and live it to the fullest. When the blues linger too long, don’t be shy about calling on a professional because life is precious, much too short and intended to be lived. Live, love and laughDream, hope, and believeand share a legacy of happiness with your younger generations.

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related mental health issues. For more information about these programs, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468 or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org.