The Beauty of Growing Older

Aging Gracefully – A Generational Perspective

Where does the time go?

With the addition of a third child ten weeks ago, my oldest son has just started kindergarten three weeks ago, and myself celebrating a milestone birthday in the not-so-distant past, I find myself asking that question daily. I am also seeing the effects of those years become more evident as I look in the mirror. As my generational cohort has been newly termed ‘Geriatric Millennials,’ I have also begun to acknowledge that aging gracefully is not just a product of our outward physical appearance.

Our schedules seem to become busier by the day and it is easy to fall into a rut, doing things out of convenience as opposed to what is better for us in the long run, mentally, spiritually, and/or physically. It also becomes easy to only think about what benefits ME, and how does it benefit me NOW. Sometimes you must find a way to simply survive and going through the McDonald’s drive-through every now and then is not the end of the world, but I often find myself reflecting on the lives and lifestyles of my grandparents and I’ve concluded that they had it figured out.

Now, don’t get me wrong, my grandparents didn’t have it easy. Both of my grandfathers farmed, one a dairy farmer and the other a small grain farmer, and they each had a second career off the farm. My grandmothers were the glue that kept everything together in and around the home, a job that I would argue was the most difficult within the household. Raising six children each, rest assured that there was never a dull moment trying to keep up with the demands of a growing family. Maybe that’s why they both lived on a steady diet of coffee throughout the day!

TL/TR – watch a short video instead.

Mental/Spiritual Health

Despite the demands of their jobs and their family, however, they made it a priority to maintain those ever-important social connections that are so crucial to our psychological wellbeing. Through their church and other types of service organizations, they were active participants helping to foster a sense of community and giving. It is safe to say that we all feel better when we serve others and I think that it is a critical part of aging gracefully.

Rest

My grandparents also made it a point to find time for ‘rest,’ dedicating Sunday as a day to simply decompress, even with the daily demands that come with living on a farm. Speaking for my wife and I, and I think that most of you would agree, our weekends are often packed with more activities than our work and school week is. With some self-reflection, I’ve come to acknowledge that our busy schedules are no one’s fault but our own. We choose our own busyness!

Exercise

With the advancement of technology and new innovations, our lives have become less labor-intensive and more sedentary. As a result, in stark contrast to my grandparents, I must make time to exercise and find ways to elevate my heart rate on a regular basis, something that was basically built into their everyday life.

Diet

Lastly, aging gracefully is not possible without considering what we eat. My grandparents shopped the perimeter of the grocery store, eating non-processed food, without ever leaving their farm. That was done out of necessity as opposed to opportunity, but the availability of fresh food and produce is more prevalent now than ever.

As I think about how I can better my chances of aging gracefully, I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to overanalyze the situation or look that hard to find some answers. My grandparents, as well as many of yours, were living examples of how to age gracefully. They were a generation that lived through economic prosperity, world wars, profound social turmoil, and rapid technological advancement but those changes were seemingly always met with grace.

Why would we expect anything less from individuals who were a part of ‘The Greatest Generation.’

men, this is 40

So, this is 40.

A look at how turning 40 can affect a guy's lifestyle from diet and exercise to social time with friends.
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