Like baking a great cake, it takes a combination of good ingredients and skill to achieve perfection. A little luck also helps because even if we do exactly the same thing each time, the cake comes out a little differently. That is also true about life.
The ingredients to aging well boils down to a few things that we must strive for, some are within our control and some may not be within our reach – leaving the rest to God and fate.
You cannot age well if you are not healthy. Most people during their sunset years view health as the absence of disease or suffering. There is more to being healthy. Keeping fit and mobile will helps you enjoy life to the fullest because everything changes when you lose that. The other part of healthy is your mental state and that is often overlooked because it is elusive and it is a scientifically difficult condition to diagnose. Pay attention to it because being happy depends as much on your mental health as it does on your physical.
As you grow old, the one thing that you fear most is loneliness as you begin to step into the sidewalk of life. You begin to feel that you are no longer part of the conversation. You begin to look for meaningless things to occupy your time to make the day go by quicker. But the true cure for is finding a way to satisfy your need for intimacy with friends and family whose relationship you may be privileged to nurture and grow over the years. Treat them as assets more precious than gold because everything else which material in life is fleeting.
Look for beauty and goodness around you. Seek the light because as you grow old, the shadow of sadness and depression will tend to grow more persistent. Live as though you have a hundred years to go. Dream about things you may never see. And also see the things that you may have only dreamed about. Some will say it is time to stop and smell the roses. There is much beauty around us.
If you believe in God, part of aging is the acceptance of your mortality. That can change a person’s core believe about oneself. Making peace with your Maker will ultimately be making peace with yourself. This can be achieved by making time for reflection and prayer – ask God to journey with you here as you prepare your journey with Him in the next life.
The basic foundation of aging holistically is security to meet your physical and basic need for shelter, food and healthcare. I do not mean that you must be financially rich but you should have what you need to live without having to worry about the standard of living and care that can carry you for the rest of your days. Only when you are free from this can you pursue your higher ideals.
If you can achieve the above, you may well be on your way to aging well and a step closer to making your sunset years truly golden.