In which I bully myself into making 12 lifestyle changes in a single year, aiming to increase my health and happiness in old age and reduce the chances of getting dementia. This is my personal boot camp for the extra years—the bonus years that I never expected or desired. The years of aging and old age.
As you plan for your own old age, what’s your agenda? If you could do one thing that made a difference, change one habit, what would it be? And by the way, changing one thing may have a mighty impact by starting a chain reaction.
These are the tasks that I decided to complete in 12 months, ending 24 February, 2016. Don’t laugh, I know it’s a crazy list — but I managed most of it.
- Adapt housing for old age
- Get finances in order
- Establish an exercise regime
- Audit eating habits
- Commit to hobbies
- Make two new friends (this year and every year)
- Banish ye oldie voice
- Learn a new skill (this year and every year)
- Cultivate meditation techniques
- Align happiness factors
- Be who you are
- Come to terms with old age and death
Legacy of my 12-month boot camp for the bonus years
On ten of my self-imposed tasks I made satisfactory progress.
However, I delayed getting a grip of my finances until the end of my year of growing old. Then I was suddenly in a hurry to sort them out, and with the help of three professionals, I did, more or less.
But by far the most excruciating challenge was, and still is, number 12. The main barrier turns out to be my own inner ageism. There it is, an ugly lump of prejudice against old age and old people, which is, by definition, prejudice against myself.
I won’t be done until my thinking is straight and I can be who I am with pride and happiness: an old woman. Watch out, ageism: I’m on to you!