Really living takes courage; and you need the right amount of “gumption” to live life to the full. But you’re never too old to leave your comfort zone, get out there and make new friends; and who knows? You might even meet– or perhaps meet again – the love of your life!
You never have to get old on your own.
Nearly fifty per cent of old people feel lonely. But actually, it’s not easy to admit it, because there’s still a taboo about being lonely. So it’s a difficult task to draw people out of their isolation.
People who have no partner are more likely to feel lonely than those who do have one. A partner gives you companionship, support; and just more enjoyment in your life. Social contact makes people happier and gives the health a boost.
Love is for anyone, at any age.
Older people in love; it’s something we’re seeing more and more. These days, the idea that the loss of a partner means you’re going be on your own for the rest of your life is less and less the norm.
The generation who are reaching old age now were brought up with other ideas. Today’s over-sixties are still up for a challenge, and that goes for relationships too. And it’s a positive development, because sharing your life with someone gives you that energy you need to get out of your comfort zone and try new things.
Leave your comfort zone behind!
Life really begins at the limit of your comfort zone! Leaving that cocoon of safety is what gives life its richness. Learning a new skill, or going somewhere you’ve never been before helps you grow as a person, and it makes you happier. And you’re never too old to get out of that comfort zone, even if you’re past sixty – even if that was quite a time ago! There’s actually no age-limit for learning to be alive again. Even if you’re facing it completely alone, perhaps after someone’s death, or a divorce. You don’t have to just stand still, say nothing, and wait until it’s all gone…
Independence plays a huge role here. And our greatest concern is probably that chance of the physical limitations that goes hand in hand with getting old.
Remaining in your own home starts today.
“Use it or lose it!” It’s a cliché, but then of course it’s true – “as sure as eggs is eggs!” The key to independence is keeping active. Once we’re over fifty we all start to think a bit more about…”later…” How can we fill our days usefully? Above all, though, how can we stay living at home for as long as possible? The longer we can continue to live in familiar surroundings the better our health – both physical and psychological.
And that’s where a few small modifications to your house can make an enormous difference. What about a small seat in the shower? Or a handrail in the lavatory. But when the stairs get difficult; that’s when a stairlift can be a way to guarantee freedom of movement in your own house. Because here’s the thing; just getting older doesn’t mean you’ve got to surrender your freedom– right?
To give that freedom a bit of a helping hand, a “bucket list” of things to do to get you out of your comfort zone can be a real help. Set your Mum a challenge – or your friend or your partner. Get them to put down as many daft ideas as they can think of on paper. The idea is – to go and do them all! Some things you’ll do together, with your friends or family; some of them you’ll do on your own. Here are a few ideas to start you off:
1. Take a trip – even if it’s on your own.
Discover somewhere new; new places and cultures. If you don’t like travelling alone, then go along with a club that offers different kinds of travel offers to suit older people. And, going travelling somewhere’s the ideal way to meet new people.
You can find travel offers to suit older people on this website: Vlaamse Actieve Senioren
2. Take up a hobby, or learn a new skill.
Use all that free time to let yourself blossom! Look for a new hobby or join a club. Start painting; have some computing lessons. Or you could go for something more active, like cycling. In fact there are countless things older people can do, and you’re bound to find something that suits you.
3. Give a stairlift a test-run.
Your first time on a stairlift might be a bit nerve-wracking; but you’ll find it’s great fun once you’ve got to the top. It’s definitely worth giving it a go! So if you find later in life that you do need a stair lift, well, you know exactly what you’re dealing with.
4. Do a photo-shoot for your family.
Having yourself photographed might seem scary at first. But once you get into it, it feels great! And you can give the best shots to your family – double the fun!
5. Throw a massive Pancake Party for the whole family!
There’s nothing so heart-warming as a huge get-together with the whole family. Enjoy delicious pancakes in the spring sunshine. You’re guaranteed a great time!
6. Go to the recording of a television programme.
You could become a real TV-Star! Studio-recordings are often free to attend. And it’s a unique experience.
7. Go to a concert.
Is your favourite performer coming to town? Do you fancy bopping till you drop, one more time? Well why don’t you go to a concert, or even a festival…?
8. Go and visit someone – a friend or a family-member – who lives a really long way away.
Don’t you often think to yourself “You know, I really ought to go and see…so-and-so…”? Well, don’t leave it too long… Draw up a list of friends and family who live a way away who you’d like to go and see and make a firm date to go and visit them. Or maybe you could invite them to come for a nice dinner with you?
9. Learn to Scuba dive.
Go on a diving course and discover the fascinating world of the sea. It’s not only good for your fitness, but you’ll see all sorts of breath-taking vistas too!
10. Go whisky-tasting in the Scottish Highlands.
Scotland’s a beautiful country with lots to offer. You can enjoy its breath-taking natural world, its rich history – and of course its unique Scotch whisky!
11. Research your family-tree.
Are you curious about your ancestors? Then why not immerse yourself in your family’s past? Researching your family-tree is both fascinating and instructive.
12. Learn a foreign language
You’re never too old to learn. Why not read your favourite book in the original language, or discover exotic recipes that no-one’s yet translated into English?
13. Get a tattoo!
A meaningful tattoo is a real art-form. Have you always dreamed of having a tattoo but never dared to? Now’s the time…
14. Sing along to the Karaoke!!
Get some friends round and belt it out to your favourite songs! It doesn’t matter if you hit the occasional – or maybe not so occasional! – wrong note here and there. You’re all bound to have endless fun!
15. Change your hairstyle
Next time you go to the hairdresser why not come back with a new hairstyle? Get your hair cut differently; have it coloured or just styled. Whatever you fancy!
16. Swim with dolphins
Swimming with dolphins is an unbelievable experience. There are lots of waterparks offering professionally-guided swimming sessions.
17. Join a Club or Society; become a member of a Political Party
When you join any club or society, or a political party, you’re bound to meet new people you’ve something in common with. And more to the point you can take part in all sorts of associated activities.
18. Take a “selfie” where you grew up.
Nothing is more fun than going back to where you grew up. The area will almost certainly have changed enormously in comparison with how it was; your old house might even be gone now. But you can always reminisce with your brothers and sisters or the friends you had growing up; take a picture to share with them afterwards.
19. Register with an online dating site.
Even in later life, it’s still possible to find love. But as well as that it can be fun just to get to know new people. Why not get the grandkids to help you come up with a profile?
20. Why not invite your friends to come and watch the cycling together?
What about the “Tour de Flanders” or Paris- Roubaix? Watching the racing together can be a lot of fun, and you’ll have endless time for a natter in between whiles!
Wondering what stepping out of your comfort zone can do for you? Have a look at this fun clip from Hotel Romantic…