Tiny tip for well-being in your old age: welcome novelty with open arms
Did you know that new (genuinely new) experiences such as a different kind of puzzle or abduction by aliens are good for you? Humans need novelty, and not just when we’re young.
My mother Celia would have adored this notice: “Alien abduction zone WARNING.” She would have camped out beside the sign, semaphoring a message to all aliens in the area: “Pick me! Pick me!”
That’s a bit extreme for you, maybe? But Celia epitomised the open mind that we’re now told is one key to a happy healthy old age. She was a clergyman’s wife who kicked against restrictions—within reason. She climbed in the Himalayas in her 60s, just to visit her daughter and son-in-law in the depths (or rather heights) of Nepal. She volunteered to sail into the nuclear testing zone of Mururoa, representing New Zealand’s grandmothers — and was most disappointed when not accepted by the organisers.
Her message to us was always something like this: “Go on! Out you go! Have an adventure!”
Adventures can be huge or tiny. But don’t save them up until you retire. Now is the time to explore novelty in many forms: new places, new activities, new ideas, new puzzles, new challenges. They might be right here in your home. They might be just around the corner. You’re far too young to be a stick-in-the-mud. Go on—do something you have never done before. Often.
Why? For your lovely plastic brain, which grows stronger with novelty. For your pride. For confidence. For fun. Go on! Have an adventure!