It’s never too late to do many things. And the Times has an entire section devoted to it, here. For example, here is a lovely story on people who fell in love in their 80s. Here’s another fine piece about a woman in her 60s who learned how to swim.
If you are older and you feel it’s too late to attempt to do the Thing You Always Wanted To Do, read those pieces.
This goes for younger people too. Sometimes people in their 30s or 40s think it is too late to do something. Nonsense. It’s never too late to start. You may not reach the stars, as they say, but you’ll land on the moon. Better than than continually looking up wondering what if.
Here’s some links I found around the topic of getting older and retiring. Maybe you aren’t thinking too much about that yet, but you should. For example, here’s a piece about how to have a long, fulfilling career and perhaps never retire. But if you going to retire, here’s how to retire on a fixed chuck of money. To get a fixed amount of cash, you need a plan. This piece can help you get to a million bucks regardless if you are in your 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s.
Money is just one challenge to deal with as you get older. Another is a potentially deteriorating brain. Here’s a sobering essay on how this person is preparing for the dementia she believes she will get. One wait to fight such things is to keep your mind active. One way to do that is to engage in activities such as games. Chess, for example. You might think you are too old to learn chess but this person learned when they were 40 and so can you.
(Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash)
Like nutrition advice, exercise advice seems to change as often as clothing fashion changes. It can be hard to keep up, and easy to get skeptical that any advice is solid. However, if you want to keep up and are not skeptical, read this: How Smart Exercise Keeps You Younger for Longer.
My take, which is a variation of this, is simple: do a range of exercises, from cardio, to strength, to stretching to balancing. A fitness routine that includes all this is better than a fitness routine that just focuses on one or two areas. And any fitness routine is better than no fitness routine.
The notion of retirement in the Western world has been changing since the mid 20th century, and it will continue to change as the population increasingly gets older. To get an appreciation for what that means and what can be done, these three articles are worth reading:
- It’s Time to Say It: Retirement Is Dead. This Is What Will Take Its Place | Inc.com
- Baby boomers delaying retirement: It’s a myth, because retirement is inevitable, and bleaker than ever.
- This Is What Life Without Retirement Savings Looks Like
Not fun reading, but essential.
This is a remarkable story of literally The World’s Fastest (Old) Man, via The New York Times.
It’s almost inconceivable someone in their 70s can be that fast, let alone setting records. Well worth reading for inspiration.
(Photo link: CreditKristian Thacker for The New York Times)
If you fitness routine is stuck or worse, then I highly recommend you read this: How to Stay Fit Forever: 25 Tips When Life Gets in the Way.
You should find something in that piece to help get you unstuck and get going again. So grab a towel and a water bottle and get moving!
Emma Thompson in the New York Times and Lesley Manville in the Guardian.
Interesting perspectives from them. Worth reading.
This piece is a must read for anyone trying to maintain their fitness later in life. It’s not easy, even for legends like JBS. Take solace in seeing how even the greats adjust as they get older, and read this: How a great marathoner — Joan Benoit Samuelson — keeps going at age 60 – The Washington Post
I found a collection of links on getting older, links I am drawn to as I get older. Some of them are essential but depressing. Others affirm there are possibilities for new things as one reaches middle age and then old age. There are difficulties, including discrimination due to ageism: some of these articles can help deal with that.
I’ll conclude with two pieces on much older artists still capable of doing great things. One of the biggest problems of being middle-aged is succumbing to fatalism and a pessimistic belief that almost everything is behind you, and that you have nothing to live for or work towards. As you can see in these pieces below, that’s not always true. You should fight that belief, and live your days like you have many, while taking care to enjoy each day as you can. You need a vision to care you forward, a way to get off the track labelled Dead End and on to the one the continues forward. I hope these links can help achieve that vision:
Finally, there is this: Seeing old age as a never ending adventure
If you can see clearly ahead, you can make better directions on how to steer. It’s true for any mode of transportation. It’s also true about life. Take a look at this piece in the 99u: What I Wish I Knew at Every Age – 99U. Whether you are young or old, it will give you the ability to see what’s ahead in life though the wishes of others and it will help you steer your one wonderful life.
(Image from here).
Here’s the curve (X is age, Y is a measure of one’s happiness)
As you can see, it is lowest for people in their 40s, then starts to improve past that point. To understand more about that and why you need to hang in there if you are in your 40s, read this: The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis in The Atlantic.
Two additional comments:
1) If you are in your 30s, you can expect this to happen, so take stock and think about ways to prepare for it.
2) Obviously this is a large generalization. Still, there is much merit in it, I believe.
According to this, you have two very good rules of thumb or models you can use to determine this:
1) The heuristic bi-linear model. We made this by making the best bi-linear model a bit simpler to apply.
If you’re under 85, your life expectancy is 72 minus 80% of your age.
Otherwise it’s 22 minus 20% of your age
2) The 50-15-5 model. This one asks you to remember some key values and then to interpolate between those values. It goes:
The life expectancies of 30, 70, 90 and 110 year olds are about 50, 15, 5, and 0.
For more, check out the link.
On it’s own, this is a great piece:
Old Masters at the Top of Their Game – NYTimes.com. The woman above? 99. She sold her first painting at 89. She is now a world renowned artist. And there’s more great profiles of people in it. You should read it, and not just if you are older. I recommend it for any age. How you read it at 20 will be different than how you read it at 40 or 60. For me, I was struck by how many of those interviewed say that nothing surprises them. As I get older, I find this true too, though I am still surprised. The flip side of this is that anxiety and concern about many things in life decreases. You know how to handle things, and you spend less time worrying about the things you ought not to worry about.
Another thing I thought interesting is that they don’t necessarily think of themselves as old. This is something I also found true as I age. I know when I talk to the 20 year olds in my office they must look at me and think: man, he’s old. 🙂 But other than superficial things, I don’t find my thinking or my view on the world has diminished from when I was younger. I have more experience now, and I had more natural energy then, but I don’t think: wow I no longer get this IT stuff now that I am older.
I highly encourage you to read the article. Then check out Austin Kleon’s blog because I found it there a lot with many other good things.