This month’s copy of HealthMonitor Magazine had a special focus on Senior Health. In it, Diane Keaton shared some tips for aging gracefully. Make work play, the phrase she quoted from a former piano teacher, resonated with me. As I sit at the hospital reception desk, working my weekly volunteer shift, I realize, this is fun!
As I grow older, one of the benefits I am experiencing is that I get to choose how and when I “work.” It’s really all play, because it’s what I choose to do to use my time constructively. But, as I look back at my career in education, I remember feeling like each day in the classroom with my students also was play. I was doing what I loved! I think that’s one of the keys to living happy days, don’t you?
One of my colleagues, Jerry, seemed not only to always make each work day a play day, but his joy was infectious. I used to wonder if he got tired of laughing all the time, being the one that everyone looked to for funniness. Do you know people like that? Here in my place of retirement I have a friend whose laugh is infectious the way Jerry’s was. She finds joy in living – joy in places others might find a reason to grumble. Being around her makes life fun, makes work play. Do you have the privilege of knowing someone like that?
Diane Keaton cited in her list of tips for aging gracefully a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. She shared that researchers “found that people who had a strong sense of purpose in life experienced a 30% slower rate of mental decline compared to those who had less purpose.” Work that is joyful, work that makes us smile, work that is meaningful often seems more like play than a job. It adds purpose to our lives – and at the same time it infects those around us with the joy we radiate. So, when I retired, I didn’t stop working. I just found a different kind of work. Volunteer activities that use my skills, provide encouragement to others, and share the joy of living constitute work that’s play. They help me age gracefully.
Go to HealthMonitor.com and see the entire article. Look at Diane’s other tips. I love the fact that she embraces aging with vim and vigor. She says, “I love life!” I do, too. What tips might you add to her suggestions?