It’s one of the great ironies of life: Your reward for surviving the tumultuous teen years, establishing a career and nurturing a family culminates in dry skin, a thickening waist and too many moments peppered with “Now, where did I leave those car keys?”
You know ... that time of your life that seemed so far away when viewed from a distance.
As the calendar pages keep turning further into the golden years, seniors may find themselves greeting this new phase of life with mixed feelings: a sense of accomplishment, sure, but perhaps also apprehension for the unknown and even surprise from unanticipated changes.
“With age comes wisdom and experience, but it can also include new and unexpected signs of growing older that can impact your body and life,” said Barbara Hannah Grufferman, positive aging expert and author of the bestselling book The Best of Everything After 50 (Running Press, $17).
Fortunately, in many regards, age is but a state of mind. With these practical tips, you can glide into the future with vitality, grace and confidence.
Stay true to your style
There is no written rule that once you achieve a certain age, your hair must be cropped close, your wardrobe frozen in time or your favorite vibrant lipstick shade cast aside. True, with age you may make a few modifications, such as a new hairstyle that accommodates thinner strands or one that shows off your gorgeous grays.
But your personal style is an important aspect of your identity, and simply tweaking or slightly evolving your look lets you remain true to your familiar self as you enter this new phase of life.
Resist the urge to rest
Filling your time with low-demand pursuits is a perfectly natural response to the liberation of an empty nest or the newfound freedom of retirement. You’ve earned a break, for sure. However, be wary of letting your brain languish to extremes.
Find ways to stimulate your mind to help keep you sharp and ward off those “senior moments.”
Make your physical wellness a priority
For decades, you’ve heard admonishments about taking proper care of your body: eating right, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking and excess drinking, and getting plenty of rest. If you ignored that advice, remember this: It’s never too late to introduce healthier habits.
Taking care of your body will help ensure you have the physical stamina to continue enjoying your favorite activities, and will give you the best shot at keeping your health condition optimal.
Not only does keeping in shape provide overall health benefits, targeted exercises can help with other concerns, as well. For example, after four to six weeks of working out your pelvic floor muscles regularly, you may start to notice an improvement in your sensitive bladder.
Be honest with your doctor
Change is at the very heart of midlife, and most of us can come to acknowledge, even appreciate, how life has a way of evolving. But changes can sometimes cause confidence to lag, especially when it’s your body that’s changing.
“The loss of a job, upheavals in a long-term relationship, financial hardships and empty nests are just a few of the big challenges we frequently confront — not to mention the new health issues that we might face,” Grufferman said.
One common confidence breaker: a sensitive bladder. A recent survey by Always Discreet (http://alwaysdiscreet.com/en-us) found that women with sensitive bladders feel less confident in certain situations like traveling long distances or being in an unknown or unfamiliar area.
However, you don’t have to let that stand in the way of living your life thanks to advances in products and health research.
Simply talk to your doctor about this and any other age-related topic you might find “embarrassing,” just as you would about any other medical condition in any other stage of life.