Want to live to a happy, healthy old age? You know what to do—but how will you do it? Where will you start? This page has heaps of information plus links to other resources. All free, because I want to help.
Are you ready to design your own old age?
If so, you are already winning, because you are one of the few people who are capable of looking ahead and acknowledge that one day you will probably be old. Imagining yourself 10 or 20 years older is genuinely difficult and perfectly understandable.
Something took you by surprise and now your future life as an old person seems to you like a real possibility. You’ve had a shock, an epiphany. Maybe your 5oth or 55th birthday? Or hitting the theoretically low point in life, the age of 47.2? Or retiring, or the end of your first cruise after leaving work?
For years you have noticed all the research, all the tips on how to live to a grand and happy old age. But they were nothing to do with you, because you perceived yourself as not-old.
Now it’s different. You’re ready to imagine yourself as an old person.
What sort of an old person do you want to be?
You will probably live longer than you expect
but how you age is largely up to you.
Positive aging starts now: help yourself to a grand old age
A self-help path to aging positively
Some go into battle against the aging process. (You can’t win. You have been aging since the day you were born.) Some pretend it’s never going to happen.
Better to control the way you age—slowly and cheerfully. Almost Old is a DIY course on aging to help you do just that. A framework is provided, but you set your own agenda.
You know what to do. Learn how to do it.
The Almost Old DIY course doesn’t tell you WHAT to do. Instead you’ll learn HOW to do it.
Because you already know what you need to do! It’s mostly common sense. And every day you read more research, more policies, and above all, tips on how to age well.
Trouble is, knowing isn’t doing. Changing human behaviour is notoriously hard. (Diets, anyone?) Now you’ll learn how to make changes that stick.
- Work out what’s going on in your life.
- Decide what you want to change for your future well-being.
- Make changes using methods that are proven to work.
You’ll do a quick-and-honest audit of various aspects of your lifestyle and attitudes and decide on your own priorities. Over 12 months you’ll make 12 SMART changes and start 12 tiny new habits of your choice. Together, these will boost your well-being and open up new possibilities for the next decades of your life.
And yes, you do have time in your busy life for this. It’s a leisure course, in several senses. You need to go slowly, because it takes time to form new habits.
Get a group together
All the work you do in your Almost Old programme, you’ll do individually. But it’s good to share this life-changing experience with others. You’ll appreciate their company and support as you work through the curriculum. Start a Meet-up group or get together with friends and meet monthly to discuss your progress.
Meetup group: Almost Old in Wellington — first meetup on 10 March 2020
A workbook for Almost Old: a DIY course on aging
You can download the course workbook now, and it’s free. Use this workbook to start your own Almost Old programme, preferably with a buddy or a small group of friends.
Writing exercises for aging well
Almost Old: Help yourself to a grand old age includes 12 writing exercises for aging well, one for each topic in the DIY programme. The writing exercises are not meant for sharing, just for yourself. Each exercise takes about 20 minutes. The purpose is to help you explore your ideas and feelings about your life now and as you get older and eventually old. Through writing, you may gain a new perspective or even change the story of your life.
Although they’re designed for the Almost Old course, anyone can do these exercises at any time.
Whose idea was this anyway?
I’m Rachel McAlpine, I’m almost 80 and I’m learning how to be old. In fact, for the last five years I have been almost obsessed by the many possibilities of my own current and future old age, good and bad—and yours.
I devised this comprehensive but simple self-improvement programme for myself when I was 75. At the time I called it my “Boot Camp For The Bonus Years.” It was so successful — and in such unexpected ways — that now I’m sharing it. Just following the programme, taking many tiny steps, has transformed my attitude towards my future life as an old person.
If I can do it, so can you. Welcome to the bonus years and to Almost Old, a path to aging well.
How To Be Old: a podcast with poems
If you’d like some company and extra inspiration for your trip into aging positively, subscribe to my quiet little podcast, How To Be Old. Each episode is about 15 minutes long. Each time I read a poem about aging: usually a very personal, direct, accessible poem. Then I tell you the story behind the poem, and finish by reading the poem again. It’s not a noisy performance, and you’ll meet me there, the real me — because I have found it’s impossible to hide in a podcast.
How to be old: a podcast with poems and stories about my own boot camp for the bonus years
Free resources are thanks to my kind readers
I’m thrilled to be able to offer you resources like the podcast, blog, videos and workbooks absolutely free. This is only possible through the generosity of certain big-hearted readers who want to encourage my work. I love this because I want all my creative to be available to anyone and everyone without charge, then nobody misses out.
Would you like to join my select group of super-intelligent, super-discerning donors? I would love to have your help.