Aging is a spectacular event that too often is under-valued in contemporary culture.  Aging uniquely gives us the advantage of accumulated information.  No other way than through the passage of time can we gain direct knowledge that comes from experience, trail-and-error, self-reflection and practiced effort.  The continuous learning curve of life offers us opportunity after opportunity to refine our perceptions, understanding, assessments, and responses, all of which are essential skillful living. 

Aging Well


Our lifestyles significantly impact how we age.

When we approach life with attention, intention, and right self-effort, we take the necessary steps to care for our minds, bodies, spirits and emotions.  Through these measures, we deliver ourselves to an ever-enriched tomorrow.  However, we don’t wait until we are old to figure out how we want to age.  

Although aging often involves losses, loss of loved ones, loss of work roles, loss of physical capacities, it is equally true that aging gives us the advantage of an informed perspective.  Having said that, it is noteworthy to recognize that as we age, we become more like ourselves; that is to say, our tendencies grow and magnify.  Therefore, we want to take stock in who we are, because whatever is there, is only going to become more prominent and play a stronger determining factor in the experiences we have.

Attitudes and Strategies for Healthy Aging - with Mr. Alan Weeks

Given the continuously changing nature of our lives, one quality that serves us well is adaptability.  Those capable of embracing change, will be more skilled at accommodating the changes that will come over the life span.  Conversely, those who become agitated by less-than-desirable circumstances, will likely be emotionally and mentally ill-equipped to deal with the kinds of losses that often accompany old age.  Therefore, setting an intention to cultivate flexibility is extremely important.  It can save us from the wear-and-tear of our own resistance and aid recovery.  Learning to accept life on life’s terms, allows us to more skillfully adapt to our circumstances.  However, acceptance does not mean complacency.  On the contrary, right self-effort is absolutely necessary.  

Acceptance, the gatekeeper of peace, often requires disciplined thinking.  Having a mind that is well trained to look for the best in every situation, in oneself, and in others, helps us to be grateful for what was when confronted with what is no longer.  This is not to suggest that grief won’t visit; but it won’t be as overwhelming, nor linger longer than necessary.  I’ve heard it said this way, “In discipline there is freedom, and in freedom there is discipline.”  

In addition to cultivating an attitude of acceptance, preparing for an easeful old age also requires that we  care for our bodies, minds, relationships, and finances well in advance.  Just as we wouldn’t want to wait until retirement to start saving for retirement, we don’t want to wait until we have illness to care for our health.  

In the same way, anticipating how our lives may be impacted by retirement is extremely important.  Far more than just a loss of income, retirement may impact how we feel about ourselves, and  can impact our relationships with our life partners.  Lack of structure to the day, loss of status, socialization, and sense of purpose can have negative consequences if one doesn’t meet this transition prepared.  If not handled with proper consideration, the long awaited retirement can become a source of stress and tension.  Preemptive planning for how one will structure one’s day with interests, activities and hobbies that will also provide social exchanges can help make retirement a truly golden opportunity.  

To ensure we are benefitted by who we become, it is important to continuously assess and modify our approach.  Maturity allows us to develop helpful life skills and habits.  Becoming increasingly adept in our interactions within ourselves as well as with our circumstances delivers us to the best renditions of ourselves.  Aging gives us an opportunity to enjoy ourselves in ways that we could not have been capable of in younger years, and this in turn allows us to bring more to our relationships with others.

Tips for healthy aging:

Something you can do that may help you to maintain and maximize cognitive functioning in old age is to do something rapidly everyday.  Dr. James E. Birren found a positive correlation between speed and central nervous system functioning; so do something in quick succession every day.  I like to do everyday tasks as efficiently and quickly as possible, such as washing and putting away dishes, sorting and filing paperwork, and straightening rooms as well as tasks that involve problem-solving.  There are some fun computer programs designed for this very purpose.

For the following, if you are under medical care, be sure to seek your doctor’s advice before engaging in any physical activities; and, if you are unfamiliar with proper body mechanics, be sure to seek expert assistance before engaging in any stretching or physical exercises.  

Gerontologist, Dr. Sari Ranta, stresses the importance of maintaining balance.  With safety measures in place, do some simple movements that activate your balancing skills.

While exercising muscles is helpful, maintaining full range of motion is equally important.  Neck, shoulders, arms, fingers, waist, legs, hamstrings, ankles, etc., all the body parts that we want to enjoy full range of motion require gentle stretching.  Don’t harm yourself, be gentle.
Also, be sure to remember your ribcage.  Taking a few gentle, full breaths each day may help maintain your ability to move the ribcage in and out, which is essential to draw fresh air into the lungs and to fully exhale gaseous toxins. 

Lastly, keep learning.  An engaged mind, body and spirit continuously benefits.  I’m training my non-dominate hand to do things that the other hand has done for years.  I started out with easy things like brushing my hair, and teeth, and am working toward more complex, refined movements.  A technique that I use relies on the elasticity of the brain; I imagine I’m looking in a mirror watching the dominate hand do the tasks.  

Be well and be in your joy!

Love            Work            Play

Living with Purpose


kathryn england

Tips for an Effective, Fulfilling Life


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*If you or someone you know is struggling with memory loss, you might want to check out an interview, Coping with Memory Loss - One Man’s Fresh Perspective, which can be found on or by clicking here.


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