• Phyllis Prestamo

Is Age Really Just a Number?

Do you remember when you were young and you just couldn't wait until you reached double digits, or reached that magic "13", or was able to order your first drink at 21? It seemed for awhile you wanted to always be a little bit older or at least a way to prove your age. For many years into my 30's I had to always have my license handy as I was "carded" often---even once at a Shoprite Liquor store with two toddlers in tow. Of course now that I am in my 60's, I am no longer asked about my age, "is it really polite to ask?", and the years seem to fly by. Even at the movies no one questions when we ask for senior tickets anymore--I guess we look our age, at least to the teen selling us the tickets.

My mom had a very healthy outlook about her age. I always remember her never minding telling people how old she was and being very proud of how active and "hip" (that was her word) she was. My Mother-in-law on the other hand wasn't so positive. She actually was highly insulted when she received her first AARP mailing and put it in another envelope with a note asking AARP to take her off their list. You can join AARP at 50, but to her it indicated that she was "old". I think I tend to think more like my mother. In my mind, I do not feel old, even though my body often feels otherwise. I try to stay active and busy and most of all keep my mind young.

To me, age is just a number and I try not to think about it, however my daughter has reminded me and my husband throughout this pandemic, that we are in the "vulnerable" category. So what do we do? Here are some tips to keep you feeling young and most importantly positive during a very unsettling time:

  • Setting aside the physical benefits of exercise, it is well documented that it improves health and general wellbeing. It's a rare thing to get back from a walk and wish you'd never gone. But what do you do if you really struggle with the idea of exercise? Find something that you enjoy; there are a lot of online videos made for those over 60 and counting those steps around your house and the times you go up and down the stairs counts.

  • You've probably noticed that getting fresh air makes you feel better, without knowing why. In fact, breathing fresh outdoor air increases oxygen levels which in turn improves brain function. Being outside has also been proven to reduce stress levels. A bonus even in the winter months, is a boost to your vitamin D levels.

  • While physical exercise is recognized to increase brain function, setting aside some time for mental activity can be very satisfying, even its just 10 minutes a day. I am not talking astrophysics--a crossword puzzle, jigsaw puzzle, or video game will do the trick.

  • Add some "me" time to your day. My daughter is in marketing and has always worked from home- she is a firm believer in waking up ,making your bed, showering, dressing for "work", applying a bit of blush, lipstick and mascara before starting for the day. She said she used to just dress in sweats and pull her hair into a messy bun and she began to feel depressed. As a retiree, I follow her advice and give myself a bit of pampering everyday. A home manicure, relaxing to some soothing music while wearing a facial mask, taking a bath with scented candles or maybe a total day of beauty. It relaxes me just writing about it.

  • And finally, nothing cheers me up and makes me feel energized as looking forward rather backward. We are not getting any younger and the numbers will still be going up, but planning for something to look forward to is a great activity. As the vaccines eventually roll out and the winter passes us by, what will you plan for the spring and summer? I know I have a house booked in August for the family (a rollover from last year) and a birthday event to plan for my husband who will be turning 70.

Share your ideas for "thinking" young in the comment box ---remember it's only a number.

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