REACHING 60……..TIME TO START THE SECOND INNINGS
This is that time of life when we need to take a fresh guard and continue batting with the sole aim of winning the match! The pitch is a bit worn out, we are no more fresh as a daisy, a bit tired after the busy first innings, and the new ball is swinging both ways! But there are many things that are in our favor too. We have been playing this game rather well for quite some time, we know the tricks of survival and the art of thriving even when the chips are down and we have partners and friends to fall back upon! The tempo of this innings will have to be different, full of life and truly swashbuckling but at no stage can we throw cautions to the wind. So ‘discipline’ is the theme of this innings. Many people who reach the age of 60 feel a sense of uncertainty about their future, but life after 60 can also be the most rewarding and fulfilling time of all. Roles and responsibilities change with time, but this allows for a fresh canvas to be painted once again. Here are 9 ways to make the most of life after you turn 60:
1. Take care of your health
Reaching the age of 60 has long been considered the start of a time of inevitably physical and mental decline, but that no longer has to be the case. Nowadays, people are living longer and have a better quality of life than they ever did. There’s no denying that the body changes after we reach that milestone age. We add a few extra inches to our girth and a few kilos to our weight but that doesn’t mean that we cannot keep up and even improve our fitness. Having that last puff one day and then saying ‘good bye’ to our favorite cigarette will be a big help. Alcohol in moderation and only on celebratory occasions will also help. And starting a new exercise that’s suitable to our overall health condition and lifestyle will be invaluable. I am of the opinion that if we can walk 4 Km in 40 minutes every morning we will keep ill health away from us. As the Army says ‘it is very difficult to hit a moving target’! Sometimes, routines are the very things that cause our resistance. You should have some kind of structure to your exercise, just to make sure it’s getting done, so how about stringing together completely disparate activities – walking, cycling, badminton, cricket, golf and a mix match!
2. Understand Money differently
Reaching this milestone age should herald the start of a time in which we enjoy the fruits of our labor. So long we have worked for money, now our money should work for us. If we are still worrying about how we’re going to pay the next bill then something is not exactly right. If you’re in financial difficulty or feel like your money isn’t working for you, it’s time to consider making some changes. The obvious place to start is to look at your expenses to see what you can cut down on. You can also think about downsizing your home if you need to. Being 60 and over should definitely be a time to enjoy your money, but just make sure you have enough to last you, as you’re likely to live much longer than people of previous generations. You can also consider finding ways of making extra money.
3. Develop New Relationships
Many people over 60, even ones that are married, fear of being alone. For single man/women of this age and over, they wonder whether they’ll ever find love again. Those who are with a partner fear of being left alone after they pass away. So what do you do? Build a solid circle of friends. If you haven’t been lucky enough to build a solid support system of friends throughout your life, now is the time to start doing it. This is because these people will be the ones to help keep you happy and healthy for the rest of your life. Explore your hobbies with like-minded people and make a point to do at least one social activity per day.
All of us have been to schools and colleges. All these institutions have alumni associations. Visit their websites and re-establish your lost contacts. You will be surprised to stumble upon your own classmates and batch-mates in Facebook and WhatsApp and build your own support system of friends. This is true symbiosis – good for everybody and a great way to spend time! In days to come children will become too busy with their careers and it will be inconsiderate on our part to expect them to be on our side at every beck and call but with friends, staying in the same city, meeting frequently and celebrating birthdays and wedding anniversaries together are a great way to enjoy life!
4. Be happy with your body image
Society continues to propagate stereotypes of people who are in their 60s or older being invisible, unstylish or not interested in sex, and anti-aging ads with 30-year-old models posing as “older” women are all over our TV screens. Nevertheless, we gain wisdom with age, and also become more comfortable in our own skin. Being at peace with our appearance after 60 is a balancing act. On the one hand, there are few of us who don’t have a desire to keep looking great by wearing great clothes, taking care to dye our hairs if they still remain on our crown and keeping in good physical shape, but on the other, we must always remember to be kind to ourselves, and remember that beauty is both internal and external. You have every right to look great at 60 and age gracefully like Hema Malini, Sharmila Tagore, Amitabh Bacchan, George Clooney and Elizabeth Taylor!
5. Find new ways to relate to your food
You should make a conscious effort toward finding new ways to related to the food you eat. The age of gulping down gallons of Coke and Pepsi and devouring at Pizza Hut and McDonald regularly is surely over. Once in a while, for old times sake, it is all right but the daily food should be both fresh and nutritious. You should also avoid unconscious eating, such as eating when you’re in front of the TV. Be deliberate and thoughtful about every bite of food that’s on your plate. Shop with care and think about portion sizes, but remember to treat yourself every now and again. Consider eating primarily as a means to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. The second reason of eating is surely enjoyment…..enjoy your food!
6. Make changes in your home
While I do not like the idea of moving to a smaller and more manageable home, for that would hamper my style of living I see many people doing so after retirement. Whether you do so or you don’t there are a few things you need to do to your home. For one, you can have handrails installed in the bathroom. The handrails can greatly improve your mobility and security when using the bathroom. Two, you can also install non-skid tiles for all the floors of your home. Non-skid tiles can help prevent accidents such as slips and falls. Three, you should also replace your standard doors with more secured ones with better locking systems. It may seem silly to prepare even your home for your old age, but this will prove to be very advantageous for you and your spouse.
7. Have a proactive social life
Nurture your circle of friends and become the group’s “event organizer” if needed. Suggest outdoor trips and overseas outings to your friends and befriend your home computer so that these events can be easily organized to the finest details. You could consider hosting a regular dinner party, coffee circle, book club or weekly cinema outings. Another interesting thing you can do is open up the doors to your home to backpackers and international visitors using sites like AirBnb. This is a great experience and you can learn a lot about people and culture of many far away places.
8. Time to tick your ‘to do’ list
Make a list of things that interest you and that you can try out as you have time and money now. So whether it is a trip to Kailash and Mansarovar or learn a new language or learn how to play a musical instrument or practice Yoga, this is the time to do all this and much more. There are no pending responsibilities, no parents or children to look after, and no regular office job to do justice.
9. Time to give it back
A quiet life after sixty is the best time to give back to the society what we truly can. While professionals like doctors and lawyers find it easy to render their services to the society, teachers, army veterans, sports persons too actively help in shaping the next generation. This is a wonderful way of staying young and useful. Simple acts of kindness and helping other individuals can help keep you engaged while imparting your wisdom and experiences to others. Volunteering may also put your life, and ability to engage in it, in better perspective, and you in turn can enjoy seeing how a little help from you can change the life of others!
Last but not least, if you compliment people, stay positive and be grateful, the blessing of friendship will definitely come into your life. As you get older, you know that bad times are going to pass and so you do not despair. You also know that good times will also pass, which makes those good times even more precious! So let’s say Cheers to the rocking 60s!