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.
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.
- January Adapt housing for old age
- February Get finances in order
- March Establish an exercise regime
- April Audit eating habits
- May Commit to hobbies
- June Make two new friends (this year and every year)
- July Banish ye oldie voice
- August Learn a new skill (this year and every year)
- September Cultivate meditation techniques
- October Align happiness factors
- November Be who you are
- December Come to terms with old age and death
Legacy of my 12-month boot camp for the bonus years
On eleven of my self-imposed tasks I made satisfactory progress, although not necessarily in the month I had scheduled.
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!
Next steps: review, rewrite and share
It’s 2019 and I’m revising my own solitary boot camp into a programme so that you can tailor to your own needs and experience it in the company of others. This is proving a long job, by my standards, but it’s so worth doing. I gained such important insights and healing that I must share it. After that, I intend to create an online course to make the process even more accessible. Wish me luck…