My boot camp for the bonus years


In which I bully myself into making 12 lifestyle changes in a single year, to increase my health and happiness in old age and reduce the chances of getting dementia. This is an account of my personal boot camp to prepare myself for the extra years—the bonus years that we never expected or desired—the years of aging and old age. Originally published 8 August 2015 on

Back in January 2015  I began my personal boot camp for the bonus years: an attempt to come to terms with the future and prepare for the best possible old age.

I began idly, casually. Just another little project to amuse me, I thought. Nobody will be interested. I don’t have to take it seriously. I didn’t even begin writing the blog, Boot Camp for the bonus years, until half way through the year.

But it became real

The majority of those 12 original goals turn out to be major projects in themselves. They’re listed below, nagging me about this commitment.

I think I could achieve the 12 goals in a year, just—but do I have time to write about them too?  A topic that seemed worthy of about 500 words of discussion expands into three or four blog posts. Every challenge niggles away at my mind, setting off other trains of thought. It’s getting to be compulsive. Other projects have fallen by the wayside. Work is suffering.

No retreat from the ruthless self-demands

Well, so be it. Instead of pruning the list I’m going to push through. It doesn’t make sense to extend the boot camp for longer than a year. The goals are indeed crucial to my future well-being. In normal circumstances I would toy with perhaps one or two per year. But this is a boot camp, so I am committed. Kind of. Sort of. Maybe.

Sergeant Major: Quit the shilly shallying! Quick march!

  1. Adapt housing for old age
  2. Get finances in order
  3. Establish an exercise regime
  4. Audit eating habits
  5. Commit to hobbies
  6. Make two new friends (this year and every year)
  7. Banish ye oldie voice
  8. Learn a new skill (this year and every year)
  9. Cultivate meditation techniques
  10. Align happiness factors
  11. Be who you are
  12. Come to terms with old age and death

Boot camp articles will be republished on Write Into Life, labelled 2015 Boot Camp

Hope you like them! Lots are kind of long. If you don’t, you will quickly spot which they are, and avoid them. Deal?

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Image from Wunder, Wundergeburt und Wundergestalt in Einblattdrucken des fünfzehnten bis achtzehnten Jahrhunderts; kulturhistorische Studie (1921) Hollander, Eugene. Public domain via Internet Archive Book Images.

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