Many years ago, an older person told me that it was wise to bring younger friends into your life as you age, as, over time, we lose people from our lives. Many older people find that they no longer have friends to do things with, even just to play cards. By the time you are in your 90’s many people have left you. So, I try to do things that will bring me into contact and friendship with people younger than myself.
On the other side of things, however, is the need for us to have role models for successful aging. It is so easy to give up that tennis game or water aerobics session when we develop aches and pains. But, fortunately, here in Florida it is easy to be active into your 90’s. At any tennis club you will see people in their 80’s and 90’s playing tennis. Sure, they’re not as fast as they once were, and they do have braces on arms and legs, but they’re out there having fun. For those not able to run as much, we now have pickle ball which is played on a smaller court with a wiffle ball. A great inspiration to me in my water aerobics class was Fran. She was 92, and full of fun and liveliness. Not only did she cook and clean her own home, but she played cards, and went to every play and musical event she could get to, even driving at night! When I met her, she was in the process of buying a new home, a daunting task at any age.
Boomers, particularly, because of the attention focused on this “grey tsunami” our society is about to experience, may think they are entering new territory. But many people have successfully navigated the aging process and we need these role models in our lives. I recently came across a website titled “The Legacy Project”, created by a psychology professor at Cornell. He interviewed 1500 older Americans who have lived through extraordinary experiences and historical events who offer tips on surviving and thriving despite the challenges we all face. Find some of these wise and successful elders for your life’s journey. Role models are not just for kids!