Independence is a wonderful thing. Throughout our lives it comes to us in many different forms. As children, independence allows us to explore new sites, sounds, smells, and meet new mostly older people. In our teen years, driving brings independence for many along with new social experiences like attending a prom and meeting more new friends.
In those middle years, independence seems to be fleeting. Caught in the daily grind of life, we may feel that everything and everyone else has control of our lives. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. As we move into those “golden” years, for many of us independence returns. There is independence from the stresses of work, travel opportunities for those with resources, and finally freedom from what your peers think. So, how do we enrich this independence experience?
Keys to Independence:
- Create New Experiences:
- Consider taking up a new activity, enroll in a college course, or participate in a computer course at the local senior center, compile a “bucket” list of projects or experiences you never had time for earlier in your life.
- Stay Mentally and Physically Engaged:
- Get “brain fit” – Keep your brain busy and stimulated. Playing cards, games, music, painting a picture, or playing trivia on the computer all contribute to good mental health.
- Go for a walk, clean the house, follow the grandchildren, pet a puppy, plant a garden, eat more fresh foods. Activities such as these will help you stay fit and engaged.
- Get Involved:
- Meet new friends, volunteer at the local school, read to a friend, engage in community projects, offer to help a young couple with their new business. Freely share your many years of wisdom, knowledge, and patience with all who ask for it.
- Ask for Help:
- Age and wisdom brings the independence to ask a trusted one to help us navigate today’s complex systems and demands. Take someone with you to a medical appointment, ask for advice and guidance, and be sure to share with your loved ones your wishes and desires for living out your remaining years.
- Positive Attitude:
- Start each day with a smile, a warm greeting to loved ones and colleagues. Say thank you for a kindness shared with you, pay a compliment to someone, do a good deed with no expectation of payment, and end each day with a quiet word of thanks.
Society, community, businesses, family, and friends all play important roles in our lives. However, the most important role is played by ourselves. Independence gives us the option to choose our road in life. Choose well.