Healthy Aging is a Personal Decision

Healthy Aging is a Personal Decision
Sergio De Dios González

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Last update: 20 October, 2022

Sooner or later we will all get older. As much as you dread your birthday or worry about your first wrinkles, time keeps moving forward. Eventually, we all make it to old age. Even though you can’t choose whether or not you get old, there is something that is indeed within your control: healthy aging. 

I’ve heard so many young people say, “when I get older, I won’t care about taking care of myself or looking good.” It’s as if aging means throwing in the towel and letting yourself go. As if it’s a waste of time to take care of yourself once you have wrinkles. Does getting old mean you shouldn’t pamper yourself or like the way you look?

I’ve also heard people say that it’s only important to eat well and exercise when we’re young. When we’re old, we can give in to every craving, it doesn’t matter if we gain weight. However, these people couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, the older we are, the more care we need and the more we will have to take care of our health. But, as we mentioned earlier, the way we age is largely up to our own decision.

healthy aging: an old happy couple.

Old age isn’t always synonymous with illness

The reason that people believe the things we mentioned before might be because they associate old age with being sick. They think of it as a stage of life in which illness and difficulties will hinder their well-being. Suddenly you get slower, you have to take pills for your heart, your hair falls out…

“To know how to grow old is the master-work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.”
-Henri Frederic Amiel-

It’s important not to dwell only on the bad things you have to deal with as you age. If you do that, it makes it harder to enjoy and live this stage of your life. It makes it more difficult to believe that you can have a good quality of life.

It’s true that you might have to deal with tricky diseases. It’s natural to feel alone when your children leave the house. Nevertheless, you can still do things and keep active. You have choices besides just feeling bad for yourself.

It’s possible to age gracefully as long as you don’t fall into self-pity and victimization. Making it to old age doesn’t mean that life is over, contrary to what many young people think. There are so many possibilities and options. For example, we can look at the story of Miguel, a man in the news recently.

Miguel is 80 years old and a geography and history student at the University of Valencia. Some people assume he’s a professor, others think he must be some student’s father. Miguel is neither of those things.

He is just another student, taking notes and enjoying his classes. He is very interested in history and even participated in a study abroad program in Verona, Italy. His family supports him and is very happy. Because, as Miguel says, “Go for it, you can do it!”

Healthy aging is a decision

Aging gracefully is an option that we can all choose. And there’s no need to wait; you can get a headstart anytime. It doesn’t matter if you feel good now and don’t have any illness or problems. It’s easy to forget that when it comes to your health, the decisions you make now will affect you in the future.

But, what can we do about it? To start, watch what you eat and do some exercise. And don’t forget about exercising your mind. Cultivate a positive outlook. That will help you face the pressure you will feel as you grow older. And don’t worry if you are the type of person to wait until the last minute to do something. Even if you’ve already reached a mature age, you can still take action.

For example, you can take an active part in your life by exercising. There are many exercise programs designed for people of a certain age. They help you cultivate positive emotions and release stress.

In addition, participating in group activities will allow you to meet new people. Those new friendships enrich your life. You will have people to go out with, get a coffee, etc. And who knows, if you are single, you might even start a beautiful relationship.

In 2017, Jim Bowman and Joyce Kevorkian reunited after many years. Each had married and lived a full life. They had fallen in love with each other when they were in school, and now they were both widowers. After they reconnected and realized that they still loved each other, they decided to get married and start a relationship at the age of 81. 

An older woman making a heart with her hands.

These days, there are university programs that allow people like Miguel to study something they are interested in and continue learning. There are also day centers that provide activities for seniors and the opportunity to socialize.

As you now see, being a senior citizen has fewer limits than you often think. With a few modifications, there are many things we can continue to do, no matter how many candles are on our birthday cake.

So, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today to age gracefully. Take advantage of the opportunities you have to ensure that you can go through this stage of your life happily and with gusto.

Getting older might make our bones more fragile and limit our agility, but it doesn’t have to affect our dreams of getting up every day and continuing to discover the world. 

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.