Say no: tiny tip for a happy, healthy old age

close-up poto of cat sulking

The cat that said no

Alison41 gives a new twist to the familiar advice to remain active and interested into old age: “If you don’t want to do something, then don’t!” The right to say no is one of the great pleasures claimed by us older people.

Q. Imagine a younger person telling you they want to achieve a happy, healthy old age. Give your very best tip, in 30 words or fewer.
A. Remain active, remain interested in everything and if you don’t want to do something: then don’t!

Q. Why did you choose to share that particular tip?
A. Its pretty much how I live my life; it works for me.

Q. Did you follow any advice that you were given about achieving a happy, healthy old age?
A. No. Never received any tips. Perfectly open to tips. I suppose I’ve read some magazine articles over the years, all the usual stuff — exercise, good diet, enough sleep, social connexions.

Q. How old are you?
A. 75–84

17 thoughts on “Say no: tiny tip for a happy, healthy old age

  1. Sadje says:

    Good advice.

  2. I was given the tip take time just to be….it works

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Yes, and it’s a bit similar

  3. Cathy Cade says:

    Saying no is sometimes the hardest thing to do. Especially to people who think you now have all the time in the world… (where does it go?)

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Do you find it gets easier as you grow older?

      1. Cathy Cade says:

        Not in the least. I can’t use work meetings as an excuse any more.

      2. Rachel McAlpine says:

        Bother! I still waste energy justifying my “no”. I’m looking for quick and true replies. Sometimes I say, No, sorry, I can’t. Which may mean, I can’t cope, but often means I don’t choose to, I don’t want to.

  4. I’ve just sent an email that started NO.

    Someone said “I’ll leave it to you then!” hoping to pass responsibility to me.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:


  5. -Eugenia says:

    Great tips!

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      And they’re not mine — they come from a single wee survey.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I have found it immensely easier to say “no” these days. Lately I have been saying no to following the antics of my president.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      That decision will be good for your health. Smart move.

      1. Elizabeth says:

        Reduces anxiety which leads to heart health.

  7. Dan Antion says:

    That’s a great tip.

  8. cedar51 says:

    I started “no” a couple of years ago…I had been out of the workforce for decades, and seemed to be involved with way too much on myy plate. I really had a lot of difficulty trying to fit stuff in, and at the same time have time to rest (health issues) and then just doing things for me…

    I’ve got worse and worse over the “no” word, and now that my health is playing up again (my time out has been severely marred by latest issue) – I’ve had to keep putting people on hold with “no”…when I’m seen out and about, they say “there you are…” but what actually happens I have a list of things to do off the “ranch” and I’m working on them that day…but tomorrow I might well be horizontal 🙂

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      I think you know what’s best for you, although it sounds difficult to manage.

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