On Turning 74: How to Age

By Shlomo Maital


     On Nov. 10 I will be 74 years old. I celebrated by doing a 74-km. (44 mile) walk during 3 days, from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Galilee, with grandchildren and sons and daughter, and Sharona, who joined for at least part of it.

     Here are some insights about growing old, for what they are worth.

  • Try to do one difficult thing every day…   it’s easy to pamper yourself, when you’re a senior citizen, and lots of kind people around you are willing to help. Keep in practice doing things that stretch your mental and physical abilities. That way, at least you won’t slide backward… or will do so more slowly.
  • Resist becoming a child. Seniors are forgiven behaviors that adults are not. Resist it. It’s easy to become grumpy and spoiled like a child.
  • Treat your body like a faithful old car. You don’t expect a 15-year-old car to run perfectly. You do good maintenance, but not all repairs are worth the pain, time and effort.       Same with your body. Fix what you can, live with what you can’t… and don’t spend infinite hours running to doctors, if you can avoid it.
  • Remain relevant. That means, make your life meaningful by helping other people whom you love. Do this daily. In little ways, or in big ways. If you do, it means that your life has meaning, and that others care. The key is to be part of a loving community, including family and friends.
  • New beginnings – seek them. Seniors tend to be risk averse. Take some chances. Dare.   What do you have to lose? Learn new skills, try new things. Try new foods.
  • Think positive. Think happy. A happy mind definitely helps create a healthy body. It’s been proven physiologically. Find the bright side. Be an incurable optimist.
  • Enjoy every hour, every minute, every day. Find things of beauty, find small (and big) ways to enjoy. Find interesting people, find ways to be with them. Make sure that when you wake, you have strong reasons to get out of bed. If not, well, find some.
  • Doing what you love? Keep doing it.  Never retire.  Bored with what you’re doing?  Find something else to do.   But — keep doing!!