Think it’s too late to “re-invent” yourself? Think again. According to Carolyn Worthington, editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging Magazine and executive director of Healthy Aging®, it’s never too late to find a new career, a new sport, passion or hobby. Worthington is the creator of September is Healthy Aging Month, an annual health observance designed to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. Now in its second decade, Worthington says September is Healthy Aging Month provides inspiration and practical ideas for adults, ages 45-plus, to improve their physical, mental, social and financial well-being.
The numbers of people over 45 is growing every year. The attention used to be just on the baby boomers. The generation x-ers are elbowing their way in and have many of the same interests as the previous generation – stay active and vibrant as long as possible. There are over 76 million baby boomers today over 50 and the first of the 82.1 million generation x-ers are about to reach that milestone in 2015.
“Use September as the motivation to take stock of where you’ve been, what you really would like to do if money was no object,” says Worthington. “And try it! Who says you have to do something related to what you studied in school? Who says, you can’t start your own home business later in life, test you’re your physical prowess, or do something wildly different from anything you’ve done before? Only that person you see in the mirror!”
Why Healthy Aging?
According to Worthington, “We saw a need to draw attention to the myths of aging, to shout out ‘Hey, it’s not too late to take control of your health, it’s never too late to get started on something new.’ Why not think about the positive aspects of aging instead of the stereotypes and the negative aspects?”
September is a perfect time to celebrate Healthy Aging Month since it is time when many people think about getting started on new tasks after the summer. Drawing on the “back to school” urge embedded in everyone from childhood, the observance month’s activities are designed to encourage people to rejuvenate and get going on positive measures that can impact the areas of physical, social, financial and mental wellness.
September is Healthy Aging Month was first introduced when the baby boomers were about to turn 50. “At that time, no one wanted to talk about growing older,” Worthington says. “You know, it was that same ‘60’s attitude – ‘Don’t trust anyone over 30; hell no we won’t go.’ Today as the boomers turn 60 and 65, it’s a different story,” Worthington explains.
“We recognized early on that careful attention to the combination of physical, social, mental and financial fitness was powerful in the pursuit of a positive lifestyle and have built our Healthy Aging programs around that concept for the government and private sector through this annual observance as well as TV specials, videos, books, printed material, our website and blogs.
10 Tips for Reinventing Yourself during September Is Healthy Aging Month:
- Do not act your age or at least what you think your current age should act like. What was your best year so far? 28? 40? Now? Picture yourself at that age and be it. Some people may say this is denial, but we say it’s positive thinking and goes a long way toward feeling better about yourself. (Tip: Don’t keep looking in the mirror, just FEEL IT!)
- Be positive in your conversations and your actions every day. When you catch yourself complaining, check yourself right there and change the conversation to something positive. (Tip: Stop watching the police reports on the local news).
- Have negative friends who complain all of the time and constantly talk about how awful everything is? Drop them. As cruel as that may sound, distance yourself from people who do not have a positive outlook on life. They will only depress you and stop you from moving forward. Surround yourself with energetic, happy, positive people of all ages and you will be happier too. (Tip: Smile often. It’s contagious and wards off naysayers.)
- Walk like a vibrant, healthy person. Come on. You can probably do it. Analyze your gait. Do you walk slowly because you have just become lazy or, perhaps, have a fear of falling? (Tip: Make a conscious effort to take big strides, walk with your heel first, and wear comfortable shoes.)
- Stand up straight! You can knock off the appearance of a few extra years with this trick your mother kept trying to tell you. Look at yourself in the mirror. Are you holding your stomach in, have your shoulders back, chin up? Check out how much better your neck looks! Fix your stance and practice it every day, all day until it is natural. You will look great and feel better. (Tip: Your waistline will look trimmer if you follow this advice.)
- How’s your smile? Research shows people who smile more often are happier. Your teeth are just as important to your good health as the rest of your body. Not only is it the first thing people notice, but good oral health is a gateway to your overall well-being. (Tip: Go to the dentist regularly and look into teeth whitening. Nothing says old more than yellowing teeth!)
- Lonely? Stop brooding and complaining about having no friends or family. Do something about it now. Right this minute. Pick up the phone, landline, or cell and make a call to do one or more of the following: Volunteer your time, Take a class, Invite someone to meet for lunch, brunch, dinner, or coffee. (Tip: Volunteer at the local public school to stay in touch with younger people and to keep current on trends, take a computer class or a tutorial session at your cell phone store to keep up with technology, choose a new person every week for your dining out.)
- Start walking not only for your health but to see the neighbors. Have a dog? You’ll be amazed how the dog can be a conversation starter. (Tip: If you don’t have time for a dog, go to your local animal shelter and volunteer. You will be thrilled by the puppy love!)
- Make this month the time to set up your annual physical and other health screenings. Go to the appointments and then, hopefully, you can stop worrying about ailments for a while.
- Find your inner artist. Who says taking music lessons is for young school children? You may have an artist lurking inside you just waiting to be tapped. Have you always wanted to play the piano, violin, or tuba? Have you ever wondered if you could paint a portrait or scenic in oil? What about working in wood? (Tip: Sign up now for fall art or music classes and discover your inner artist!)