Getting Ready for Change

By Julian Mokhtar

Ageing can sometimes catch many of us unawares. We can look in the mirror and still see what we want to see - an image of ourselves in our 20s or 30s. Only when we take a look at a recent photograph of ourselves, do we realise how much we have changed in appearance. Taking a walk or climbing a few flights of stairs may seem more challenging than before. Getting up from the sofa, getting in and out of the car or even just sitting up from lying on the floor result in more grunting than you used to. Entering our senior years, we cannot deny we are no longer the same individual physically from who we were just five years ago. Our bodies change; our muscles start shrinking, becoming weaker and losing flexibility. Our bones become brittle, hence we grow less sturdy - more so for women but men are also affected. Our skin loses elasticity, sags and wrinkles develop. Hearing and eyesight become less acute. Apart from our physical changes, we also have to deal with the loss of friends and family to distance, time, death, or perhaps due to disagreement and grudges. We may not go out as much as we used to because of these reasons, or simply because we don’t find pleasure or enjoyment in doing so any more. Older people are often accused of being set in their ways but that is not necessarily the case with the current senior generation. We need not fear change, especially when we prepare and take the necessary actions to move forward to our evolving life-journey ahead. Remember, as seniors, we are mentally more resilient and level-headed because of the amount of life experience we have. The first step is to set our attitude to be more accepting of change and at the same time spend less time and energy stressing ourselves about changes that are outside our control. Be proactive about health and fitness, don’t procrastinate. While it’s true that it’s never too late to start exercising and eating more healthily, it’s better to start earlier than later. Gaining fitness and strength at 50 will give you a better chance of being reasonably fit and strong past 70 or even 80 and more. Next, don’t allow yourself to get into ruts. Remembering we have choices can make life a little more interesting. For instance, when going out for a walk or on a drive, we can choose to take another route from the one usually taken. When we take the same route all the time, we go on autopilot and our mind is occupied by other thoughts and we don’t take much notice of things around us. Taking an alternative route allows us to become more engaged with the things or people you encounter along the way. Lastly, don’t yearn to live in the past. Nostalgia and fond memories should have their rightful place occasionally, but we must accept that those times are gone and may never come back. Instead of dismissing the music of today’s generation as rubbish, why not give it a listen? After all, when you were young, the “older generation” said the same about your music. It’s the same with anything else. Instead of thinking how this or that isn’t like how it used to be, think “this is something new and different”. When we develop the correct mindset and prepare accordingly to embrace change as a constant ahead, the road ahead may just lead us to a fresh breath of life!