By George and Sedena Cappannelli
Many people seem to dread turning 50 – that somehow being on this planet for “half a century” somehow means that their useful life is over – but that just isn’t the case! And apparently there are leaders in both political parties and from institutions/businesses that would like to have limits imposed on the lives of those in that age group! Fortunately, there are a number of things those of us ‘who weren’t born yesterday’ can do to change all of that and in the process lead happier, healthier and more satisfying live.
Here are ten of them.
1. Take Greater Responsibility For Your Own Life
While some in our world today seem intent on marginalizing those of us who are over 50, the truth is these people often lack life experience and, unfortunately in many instances, do not have a good grip on historical perspective and the truth about the contributions elders have always made to the world. So one sure way to live a happier, healthier and more rewarding life after 50 is to get involved and take greater responsibility for political decisions others are trying to make that will impact our lives. Speak out about the level of integrity or lack thereof being practiced by many of our institutions and business and pay attention to the way you contribute each day to those who make up your world.
2. Live For Today and Not Tomorrow
Take a lesson from the lyrics of the Broadway musical, Annie – Tomorrow, Tomorrow …You’re always a day away.” Remember instead that today is a gift that you can use in any way you chose. Be engaged or disinterested. Awake and aware or on automatic pilot. Every one of your thoughts, words and interactions with others can be an opportunity to share what you know, learn, support, encourage and celebrate or it can be an opportunity missed and spent waiting for some tomorrow that will, in the end, be the result of the choices you make today.
3. Put A Pin In Illusion of The Myth of Youth and Start Celebrating The Truth About Aging
Most of us who weren’t born yesterday know that we live in a world that is youth obsessed and age adverse. And many of find ourselves having to deal with levels of disregard and dishonoring that is as unacceptable as it is unconscionable. We also have to deal with a lot of negative implications and allegations about aging that simply aren’t true. We are not over the hill and we are certainly not out of luck. Instead many of the greatest accomplishments in the lives of some of the most revered figures in history did not occur until they were in their 50’s, 60’s, and even 90’s. So live with passion and be proud that you are living this long.
It’s been said that breath is an essential key to a healthier life and it’s true. Think about those moments when you are relaxed and enjoying whatever you are doing. Notice how easily and naturally your breath flows. By comparison reflect on those moments when you are tense, worried, troubled or frightened. Notice how we often literally hold our breath in these moments. So if you want a more rewarding, energized and satisfying life, remember to breathe deeply, slowly and a lot more often. Yoga, good exercise, laughter, singing, walking in nature, meditation – all terrific ways to celebrate and benefit from the breath of life.
5. Squeeze The Juice From The Fruit of The Past & Turn It Into The Gold of Today and Tomorrow
Those of us who weren’t born yesterday have a lot of memories and experiences. Some involve things we call good and valuable, others are things we’d just as soon forget – especially those less than pleasant experiences we’ve had and some of mistakes we’ve made. No matter which category we assign our memories and experiences to, however, they all contain a great deal of value and if we are willing to take a little time to review them, process the nugget of wisdom they contain, and apply this wisdom to what we are doing today– and will do tomorrow–we can dramatically improve the quality of our lives and our health.
6. Replace Limiting Beliefs With Positive and Constructive Ones
Let’s face it! A lot of us are living our lives today based on beliefs we learned a long time ago from others – parents, siblings and friends, teachers, coaches, religious leaders, etc. While some of these beliefs were necessary and even valuable at the time we learned them, there are others that are limited and flawed and are based on disappointing experiences our teachers and mentors may have had. So one way to lead a happier, healthier and unlimited life, is to take some time to review the beliefs you are holding and put down those that are limited and no longer apply – the ‘I cant’s, I don’t know how to, the I’m not good at that, and the I’m not supposed top’s. So instead of holding on to limiting beliefs, be curious about your life and watch what happens.
7. Practice The Gift That Keeps On Giving
It is said that one of the greatest gifts of all is the gift of forgiveness. To be forgiven for the stumbles and bumbles we’ve made and to forgive others for whatever they have done while learning how to live in this complex world is one of the most valuable and beneficial things any of us can do. For the truth is, when we hold onto either guilt (for things we’ve done) or resentment (over things we believe others have done) the only person we are ultimately hurting is ourselves. A closed heart and all of the detrimental side effects and limitations a closed heart brings is not the path you want to take. Instead practice greater forgiveness and live a life of greater meaning, purpose and joy.
8. Live No Faster Than Feeling Can Follow
We live in a world where thinking, analyzing, rationalizing and worrying often overwhelm our feelings. Feelings, in fact, have become the redheaded stepchild of contemporary society, often spoken of in derogatory terms, as if they were a weakness, instead of one of the most essential tool we have to live healthier, more engaged and aligned lives. So the advice here is to move past the impatience and misconceptions of these times and instead, pay close attention to how you feel – physically and emotionally. Pay attention to the guidance your feelings give you and, above all, stop overriding them. They are your allies, so listen to and follow their wisdom.
9. Master The Three Great Illusions
In our world where the gods of Science and Technology are worshipped so ardently, many of us live a good portion of our lives under the illusion that we can control things – our physical environment, our careers, our financial well being and, in some instances, even the primary people who make up our worlds. Closely allied with this illusion of control are two others – the illusions of security and safety. Clinging tenaciously to these three great illusions does not contribute to the quality of our lives. As Helen Keller once said, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not occur in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
10. Remember That It Is Never Too Late (or too soon) To Live Your Dreams
Do you think it is too late to live your dreams? Of all of the illusions that can limit our health and well-being as we age the one that claims that it is too late is perhaps the most debilitating and also the most untrue. The truth is that no matter how old one is, it is never too late or too soon to live the dream that each of us has come here to live. Do not listen to the naysayers and to those who cling so tenaciously only to the known, the practical and the realistic! Instead, take some time to get back in touch with that dream that lives in your heart. Let that ‘still small voice within’ guide you, and begin to express more of of your dreams in your life.