I love autumn, don’t you? The colors are beautiful, and the smells of pumpkin spice, salted caramel and even leaves burning are a pleasure in small doses. I love the cooler weather and jeans and sweaters. I love everything, even the prospect of winter and a time of rest around the corner.
Autumn of Our Lives
I have heard life at retirement age being called the autumn of our lives. The idea of slowing down and enjoying the beauty of life, relationships, and traveling without a deadline for getting back to work. Spending time with grandchildren and even our children is more relaxed, and with the wisdom of our years, we can enjoy their quirks without panicking that they are forming habits that will ruin their lives forever. We can just enjoy them, spoil them and love them.
But just as there is work to do in the fall to prepare for winter, there is work to be done to prepare for old age. I am discovering that. You may already know it. I have been looking at old women for most of my adult life and reckoning. What will I be like? Will my hands look like that, will my skin be so sallow, will I be that out of shape?
When will I have to wear a hearing aid or have cataract surgery? Am I going to color my hair a weird blue/white or will I just be natural? What does a heart attack feel like really? All of those questions meant for years from when I wondered about them are here. Well, I have been blessed not to have a heart attack yet.
Forming Healthier Habits
It’s a good thing we have more time because everything takes more time and more determination to do it. If I don’t want to be as out of shape as I fear, I have to be determined to stay with a program and form a habit of exercising. I read a book on habits since I have a few bad ones I need to break and I need to create some healthier ones. I find that pizza and soda are not so much fun anymore, and antacids are my new best friends. In the book it says to form a new habit requires three things 1. A cue, something that when you hear or see it, you are reminded to start creating the new pattern. So I decided to use the notification on my Fitbit at 7:50 AM to remind me that I want to walk on the treadmill for at least a half hour at least five days a week. 2. A pattern that is enticing, I choose to pray and read while I am walking. I love this time now because it almost makes my treadmill like a little sanctuary or altar. It refreshes my soul and prepares me for my day with the Armor of God. 3. A Reward, the reward is obvious, I am in better shape and have more energy. I have built in another factor to help me stick with it. I admit I will fail sometimes and have already decided to forgive myself for those times and promise to do better the next day.
I am lucky that my parents taught me to love vegetables. I am starting to lean more towards a diet with mostly fruits and vegetables. I really have to allow myself to fail in this part of my program because I love desserts and pasta—not together. My cue is remembering my history of dieting that didn’t work and diets that did and reminding myself I love vegetables, so I plan healthier choices. The pattern then is not so many antacids after meals. I feel comfortable and calmer. The reward is a healthier me.
These are a few of the ways we can prepare for the winter of our lives so we can rest in ease and not worry as much about health problems or feeling too tired and out of shape to be involved in things that give our lives meaning.
Share Your Thoughts
What ways are you preparing for the winter of your life that may help me or others live with purpose to the end? Please share this great idea with us!