Life isn’t a race to the finish. The journey is what counts. So many of us struggled through young adulthood, or got lost in child rearing, mortgages, and soul sucking cubicle jobs. The days flew by filled with sinks of dirty dishes, extra-curricular activities, and not a few tears. Sometimes, the kids cried as well.
Then, we find ourselves in the “middle” part, sort of dazed, bruised, and wondering what happens after the dust settles. This can be difficult because we find we were accustomed to the dust and sometimes feel lost without it.
The dust does settle, though. Then, we find we must make choices. Is it time to downsize? Are my retirement plans healthy? Should I stop heading for the mosh pit when I attend concerts?
These are all legitimate questions, but don’t forget the little things. Sometimes, a lot of little things can add up to some major contentment and happiness.
Here are fifty things to do after fifty that will contribute to a sound mind and an able body. At least a little.
- Stop waiting. Now is the time. Is there something you want to do? Learn a new language? Write a book? Paint a picture? Do it. Do it now.
- Along the same lines, create something beautiful. The world needs your creativity. A sonnet, love letter, or a cupcake. Draws hearts and rainbows with sidewalk chalk in your driveway. Make something pretty.
- Stretch. Every day. Trust me, this makes a huge difference. 10 minutes of stretching every day.
- Learn to say no.
- Forgive yourself.
- Forgive others.
- Drink more water. C’mon, you know you’re not getting enough water.
- Cut down on refined sugar. I cut my decades long insomnia issue in half by cutting down on refined sugar.
- Acknowledge your fellow humans.
- Compliment a stranger. Aim for once a week and work up to every time you are in public.
- Accept your body.
- Let go of bitterness.
- Find out who your genuine self is and turn them loose. We all get this one go around in life, it is more fun when you allow yourself to be you.
- Ask for help when you are struggling.
- Be someone who gives when someone is in need.
- Listen to new music. Ask for recommendations from someone 20 or 30 years younger than you. Give the music a chance.
- Don’t spend time looking for the closest parking spot.
- Be accessible.
- Try a new food.
- Rescue a cat or a dog.
- Throw out clothes that make you feel bad about yourself when you wear them.
- Don’t wear shoes that hurt.
- Respectfully disagree without apologizing for having a differing opinion.
- Graciously accept compliments without deflecting. It is not necessary to carbon date our clothing when someone says we looks nice.
- Be silly. Silly feels good.
- If you find yourself about to be catty, try turning it around and say something complimentary.
- Get a physical.
- Eat more fiber.
- When you’re alone in the car, sing as loud as you can. Let it rip. It’s just you and an imaginary crowd of 50,000 people listening to you sing Piece Of My Heart.
- Remember everyone is going through something.
- Try eating healthy most of the time, but don’t beat yourself up over a piece of pie. It’s pie. Pie is supposed to make you happy. Don’t make the pie experience a negative one.
- Stop using the phrase “guilty pleasure”. You don’t have to feel guilty about something that makes you feel good. Read the smut novel, go to a comic con, eat the Skittles. It’s all good.
- Practice positive self-talk. It feels weird at first, but after a while, self-talk feels good.
- If you feel like it, eat standing over the sink.
- Let go of something you feel you are “supposed” to do. For instance, I have tried to be a gardener, however, I am not a gardener. I am not good at gardening and do not enjoy it. I am ready to embrace my two black thumbs.
- Let go of the embarrassment you feel when you think of the time you said something awkward at a company party 30 years ago.
- Stop apologizing when you aren’t sorry.
- Speak up when you see or hear injustice.
- Be brazen.
- Express gratitude.
- Volunteer, even if you can only give a little of your time. Imagine the mountains we could move if we all did the least we can do.
- Remember the words of Thumper’s mom: “If you can’t say anything nice, shut your cake hole.” Or something like that.
- Examine situations that you find uncomfortable because “that’s the way it’s always been.” Then change the situation.
- Embrace change.
- Remember experiences matter, things don’t.
- Make lists of habits you want to break and habits you want to create. Start small. Do what you can.
- Let go of past mistakes. Learn from your mistakes but stop dwelling on them.
- Buy a new coat. You’ve been wearing that same one for years.
- Acknowledge your strength.
- Remember saggy skin, gray hair and age spots do not define us. We are more than the package we are in.
There are so many ways to find ourselves on a path to peace and contentment. If we don’t find that path now, then when? Make small changes when you can. This isn’t a race, but don’t forget that time does not stand still.
51. KEEP LEARNING, GROWING and REINVENTING!