One of the keys to living your best life after 50 is to steer clear of regret.
Accept the results of your earlier choices but understand that it’s probably time to make some adjustments to how you live your life going forward.
Think about your future and imagine what you would like it to be. Not sure where to start? Ask yourself these questions:
Am I staying engaged with the world and the people I care about?
Am I taking care of my body, mind and spirit?
Am I making “me” a priority?
Am I in control of my finances?
Here are 10 tips that will help you answer all those questions with a yes:
Whether you’re working, retired or thinking about reentering the job force, networking is essential. Engaging with people on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and face-to-face in industry groups will keep you current and connected. Keep your résumé up to date, too.
2. Build a personal board of directors
Life after 50 is filled with change and can be confusing. Whether you’re looking to switch careers, pursue a relationship (or end one) or buy a house, having a trusted posse to review life’s bigger questions helps. Invite several nonjudgmental friends who will encourage and guide you. And do the same for them.
This is a no-brainer, but it’s shocking that we still see smokers on the street. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death, according to the American Lung Association. If you’re over 50 and still smoking, get help to quit.
Don’t think because you are over 50 you are immune to sexually transmitted disease. You are not. Make sure you know the scoop on your partner before you proceed, even if you’re in a steady relationship. Use condoms. Discuss your risk factors with your doctor and get tested for the most common STDs, especially when you start a relationship. Insist that your partner do the same.
Give your body, mind and spirit the daily gift of movement, whatever it is. Even going out for a brisk walk will put you on the right path. It’s not about being skinny; it’s about being strong and as fit as possible.
Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones that we associate with aging, and rightly so. Getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D (which helps the body absorb the calcium) is essential. Equally important is doing strength-training exercises to build muscle mass and bone density. Added bonus? Your body will be toned and strong.
7. Save more and spend less
The more money you have saved after 50, the less stress and anxiety you’ll experience. A big fear among those over 50 is not having enough money to live well later in life. (The AARP Retirement Calculator can help you see how you’re doing.) The sooner you start saving more and spending less, the better you will be down the road. Take the advice of the top money experts: Use a fee-only financial planner to get you on the right path.
We’re all busy with family, work and friends, but that’s no excuse to stop thinking about causes that are important to us and to the world. We have wisdom and ideas. Don’t just pass the baton to the next generation. Hold it with them so we can solve the world’s problems together.
Smile, play, laugh, have fun with family and friends. Take up a hobby or activity, perhaps one you can do with others who care about you.
Don’t fight aging. It is a very powerful concept — letting go of your younger self, and embracing and loving your aging self. Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and take care of you — body, mind and soul — as you would your children, your family and your friends.
Read Barbara Hannah Grufferman’s “best of everything” posts on the AARP Blog.