- The first was organizing a program on “Embracing Our Seniority” for my UC Berkeley Law class’s 50th Reunion. A panel of experts comprised of a gerontologist, a retirement journalist and a meditation master – this was Berkeley, after all – urged us to think and act affirmatively as we age. Volunteer classmates reinforced this recommendation by profiling their senior passions, from mentoring disadvantaged students to soloing in a regional symphony.
- Two days after the reunion, my older brother died unexpectedly. And while his release from accelerating dementia represented a blessing for him and our family, the suddenness of his passing was a sharp reminder of death’s unpredictability.
- While recharging our emotional batteries in Riverside’s Mission Inn following my brother’s burial, my wife Nancy and I realized that we had no need to rush home. No deadlines or obligations were pressuring us to jump on a plane or rush up freeway lanes. We were free to improvise an itinerary as we sauntered north on country roads.
- We can usefully envision retirement as a pivot and a portal. A pivot from professional immersion to senior exploration. A portal from familiar routines to a blank slate.
- Contrary to the concerns of many pre-retirees, there’s no shortage of activities for seniors to enjoy – from Alaskan trekking to Zumba-dancing. And an abundance of gurus, coaches and trainers to assist us if we need a leg up.
- Agile Aging can help us to exploit our senior advantages (think free time and AARP) and mitigate our disadvantages (creaky knees and habitually hiding car keys.) Our twin challenge is not to deny our diminishing capacities, but also not to let those declines shackle our enthusiasm or mobility.
- While retreating into ourselves might be a tempting withdrawal, experts assure us that maintaining social contacts and relationships are invaluable for senior health. Reaching across generations to interact with youth can be particularly rewarding. For both parties.
- Mellow maturity is a well-earned asset. It’s not that seniority confronts us with fewer problems. We’ve accumulated more life-experience to take them in stride. Agile Aging reinforces our balance and equanimity. Like high-wire aerialists but with our feet on the ground.
Here are a dozen Agile-Aging topics I’ve selected to explore:
Re-thinking retirement: as graduation, not termination
Savvy and satisfying senior travel
Maturation management: accepting and adjusting to our biological changes
Connecting with youth
Sustainable personal finances
Real and perceived ageism and how we can deal with it
The sanctuary of a home base
Senior activities, passions and pleasures
Staying engaged in public affairs
Aches and pains: how and where to treat them
Transitioning to senior communities
You can dip into your favorite topics or sample the full array. Additional topics can be inserted, and dead-ends acknowledged, as they appear. This is a lot of ground to cover. I envision fortnightly posts for at least a year.
AgileAging.net is a living-and-learning workbook. Feel free to contribute your own experiences, as well as considering and adapting mine. The blog’s Comments and Email features are provided to facilitate your active participation. Please accept this invitation to age together. With open eyes and open minds.
Coming May 31:
RETIREMENT — Our Admission Ticket to Satisfying Seniority.