Every 8 seconds a Baby Boomer turns 65 and this year, I joined “The Club.” For weeks before and after my special day, I couldn't stop thinking about the number 65 and how I used to think it was OLD. How could I be 65 when I only feel 39? And, the first time I had to check the last box (65-older) on a questionnaire, it made me realize that the world now saw me as a senior citizen.
Perhaps it’s "joining the club," dealing with short days with cold temperatures, and/or approaching the upcoming holidays, (or perhaps a combination of all of these), that have made me reflect on what I’ve learned in my first 65 years.
So, in no particular order, here are my thoughts and words of wisdom:
- Have low expectations. Keep your expectations low and you won't be disappointed. Events, reunions, celebrations, even people may not live up to your expectations. Accept what is. The faster you do, the happier you’ll be.
- Take responsibility for your own happiness. No one can make you happy, content or at peace with your life but YOU.
- Try to be the nicest person you can be because you never know the pain that someone else is in. Try not to let other people's anger, frustration, or mean-spiritedness, change who you are. And, be proud of yourself for being kind and caring to all.
- Fill yourself up with the people you love and enjoy. If you don't enjoy being with certain people, or you find yourself getting irritated or aggravated when you're with them, reduce your exposure. Be creative and avoid spending time with them. Or, dilute their toxicity by including others into the mix.
- Accept people for who they are; it’s not your job to change or fix them.
- Be careful about offering advice. Most of the time, people just need to vent or talk something through. They need someone to listen; they want to be heard.
- When people talk to you, LISTEN with your head, your heart and your eyes, i.e. your full attention. Don’t let distractions like cell phones, email, the newspaper, TV, etc. divert your attention. Your listening and caring heart is the greatest gift you can give to someone.
- Realize that your friends have different talents and interests. Accept their differences and match your needs and wants with theirs. When I need help to run errands because I am unable to drive, I know which of my friends to call. When I need help getting dinner started, I call one of my friends who enjoys cooking. The same goes for those friends who enjoy clothes shopping. (Unfortunately, I haven’t found anyone who likes to wash windows or wax the floor.)
- One of the greatest ways to find happiness is to lose yourself in a cause greater than your own.
- Everyone has insecurities of one form or another. Some people feel uncomfortable public speaking, writing a report, or driving my lift-equipped full sized van. I try to remember that when I’m feeling inadequate.
- When you live with love and gratitude in your heart, you transform yourself and the people around you.
These above "lessons" have helped me to create a very happy life and to appreciate my many blessings....and it only took me 65 years to get to this point! I hope my next 65 are as fulfilling!
©2012 Meeting Life’s Challenges, LLC
For reprint permission contact Shelley@MakingLifeEasier.com
For more of Shelley’s insights and personal thoughts, read her blog, What I learn about living from my chronic illness.