As the year turns, it’s a good time to rethink how we live our Golden Years

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AARP and National Geographic researchers found Americans to be positive about aging.

This past year brought many challenges. Many of us are dealing with unexpected health issues. COVID-19 left its mark. Inflation had a profound effect.

Joan Koczor

Several articles on senior living give axioms of how we should re-think our Golden Years. Some suggestions you may find thought provoking, others you may disagree with.

Use the money you’ve saved. Use it and enjoy it. Stop worrying about the financial condition of your children and grandchildren. You’ve taken care of them. You gave them an education, food, shelter and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their money. Don’t feel bad spending your money on yourself.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Do moderate exercise, like walking every day. More ambitious? Join a health club. Eat well and get sufficient rest. Stay in good shape and be aware of your medical and physical needs. As we age, it seems easier to become sick and more difficult to be healthy. Keep in touch with your doctor. Do tests even when you’re feeling well. Stay informed.

We experience pain and discomfort more as we age. Try not to dwell on it but accept it as a part of the cycle of life we’re all going through. Minimize it in your mind. This is not who you are, but something that life added to you. If it becomes your entire focus, you lose sight of the person you used to be.

Don’t stress over the little things. You’ve already overcome so much in your life. You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don’t let the past drag you down and don’t let the future frighten you. Feel good in the now. Small issues will soon be forgotten.

Laugh a lot. Remember, you are one of the lucky ones. You managed to have a life, a long one. Many never get to this age, never get to experience a full life. But you did. Find humor in your situation.

Have pride in yourself and what you’ve achieved. Embrace your history, your memories and the life you’ve lived. There’s still much to be written. Don’t waste time thinking about what others might think. Now is the time to sit back and enjoy. Be at peace and as happy as you can be.

Mark Twain may have said it best: “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.”

Joan Koczor is a senior advocate and a member of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Board.