In his 2015 book called “Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper, and More Connected Life,” Dr. Bill Thomas describes three kinds of Seniors: the denialists, the realists and the enthusiasts.
The denialists have their heads in the sand. They don’t want to talk about aging and refuse to plan for the future because, in their minds, nothing is ever going to change.
The realist accepts the reality of aging but will fight it all the way. Pills, injections and cosmetics are the weapons used to defend youth. The anti-aging industry depends heavily on these folks.
The third group, and the one Dr. Thomas thinks we should all aspire to, is the enthusiastic group.
Are you excited about your age or at least happy to be older? Do birthdays make you excited or miserable? Do you feel like you’re losing the battle or winning at life? Do you want to go back to an earlier time?
Well, all these answers speak directly to your attitude about aging. And your attitude is the key ticket to healthy, successful aging. The more you fight it, the more you lose. Maybe it’s a bit like being in quicksand; the more you struggle, the faster you sink.
The research is thorough and becoming prolific that attitude is the primary trigger of additional healthy years. Dr. Becca Levy’s research at Yale suggests 7.5 years of additional healthy living can be ours if we can embrace the future with optimism and enthusiasm.
This is not necessarily easy because we live in a culture that is both age-averse and youth-fixed. We can’t look to the outside for much encouragement. But I do believe that things are slowly changing. We see more movies starring older actors and actresses.
Harrison Ford, at 80, has a new “Indiana Jones” movie coming out and a TV sitcom. Jane Fonda, 85, Lily Tomlin, 83, Rita Moreno, 91 and Sally Field, 76, are starring in the movie “80 for Brady” and other roles. These famous celebrities and, more importantly, many people in our everyday lives can inspire us to be enthusiastic about the future.
Thanks to the baby boomers who refuse to be put out to pasture, we’re expanding our vision for what we can do and for how long. There is a new pasture that is a fertile space and time where we can be creative and productive for many more years.
Someone said we are always the same seed, but we’re planted in different soil. So, retirement can become a time of reinvention.
It is possible to be excited about what the future has to bring even in our 70s, 80s and 90s! The truth was most beautifully said by Henry David Thoreau, “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”
Find Connie’s book, “Daily Cures: Wisdom for Healthy Aging,” at www.justnowoldenough.com.
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Your attitude can be a key ticket to healthy, successful aging