Q: I will turn 60 next week. That is scary. I am afraid that it is all downhill from here, that about all that I will be able to do is sit and enjoy my grandchildren. I won’t be able to do much with them.
Most of the seniors in my town hang around coffee row in the morning and don’t do much for the rest of the day. I do not want to be like that, I am far too energetic, but watching them is frightening.
Can I do anything to stave off aging and continue to be active in my community?
A: I think that you are caught up in the mythology of aging.
Many elderly people are extremely active and are certainly involved in their communities.
You can find them buzzing in and out of volunteer services, lined up in the airports to fly out to visit their grandchildren and other exotic places, and playing golf on seniors’ day.
Some people believe you stopped growing, maturing and learning once you finished school. That is incorrect.
You may not be as quick witted as you were when you were younger, but you are still a capable student. As well, because you are not driven by those overwhelming emotions that distract young people, much of what you learn will be more relevant to the challenges that address your daily living responsibilities. What could be more exciting than for an old dog to learn new tricks?
You might have heard that brain cells do not replace themselves once they have been damaged. That too is not true.
Your brain is maturing and changing throughout your entire life.
If you do not think that you are as smart as you once were, it is not because you have fewer neurological cells floating around up there. It is more likely because you have chosen not to challenge your intellectual abilities as much as you might have.
Your sex life might change with aging, but it does not necessarily disappear.
Some people choose not to continue exploring their sexuality as they get older and that is OK.
Some people take medication to help them keep going when their nights are early and the lights are dim and that is OK, too.
If at 60, you need a hearing aide, new glasses, cataract surgery, hip replacement or changes in your diet, then get them.
The more you look after yourself, and take advantage of what medical science has to offer, the better your chances of continuing your destiny in the excitement of a morning sunrise.
Jacklin Andrews is a family counsellor from Saskatchewan. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org