What does later life look like for you? Looking ahead to what we may traditionally call ‘our retirement years’, we’ll have potentially only lived for two-thirds of our lives. Accepting that we all age differently, given the gift of healthier, extended lifespan, these years can be the best years of our lives – depending on our mindset.
As life is a continuous adventure, our chronological age becomes less and less relevant. Our functional age is far more important. As Adlai Stevenson once said,
“It’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years that count”
I believe later life offers so many possibilities for personal growth and fulfilment. We can change gears, change direction, and expand our horizons if we want to. This phase of adult life provides us with the opportunity to channel our time and energy into the activities that we enjoy and the relationships that really matter. Ageing is inevitable, so it makes sense to embrace the ageing process, take good care of ourselves, enjoy life’s pleasures, and make the most of the additional years later life offers.
What thoughts come to mind when you think ahead?
Are you looking forward with excitement or apprehension?
Storytelling is a wonderful way to explore and learn from other people’s experience. A huge debt of gratitude is due to the awesome men and women who generously shared their stories with me. From diverse backgrounds, these individuals’ range in age from their mid-50’s to 100 years. They all live in New Zealand for at least part of the year and have reached a stage in life where it is possible to both look back and forward. With their permission a lifetime of wildly different experiences has been condensed into the four collections of inspirational cameo short stories in the ’Older and Bolder’ series of books.
Despite the unique set of circumstances and the challenges these men and women have encountered, they appreciate that their experiences, and the lessons they learned along the way, have shaped who they are and the choices they make. Each has responded to new opportunities ahead, despite their different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. Their attitudes to life and their perspective on ageing is insightful and uplifting. They embrace life and all that it offers on their own terms, and inspired by their example, so can we.
Along the way we learn that it’s never too late to change direction, start something new, live in a different place, make bold decisions, take on significant projects, and invest in meaningful relationships. It’s up to each one of us to make the most of our extended lifespans. After all, life is a gift for us to enjoy, and as Marty Rubin wisely said,
“Everything is irrelevant but this:
To embrace life.
To feel it.
To savour it.
To love it”.
‘Embracing Life On Our Own Terms’, the third collection of stories in the ‘Older and Bolder’ series, features 17 stories cameo life stories of 7 women, 6 men, and 4 couples.
Paperback copies can be purchased directly from the author at Kiaora@angelarobertson.nz ($30 postage free in NZ), or from the following online bookstores Dr Angela Robertson Books: Buy Online from Fishpond.co.nz
Dr. Angela Robertson is an inspirational author, speaker, facilitator, and coach with a wealth of experience in maximising individual and collective potential. Through her writing and speaking engagements she encourages people, regardless of their age and stage, to continually expand their horizons, leverage their strengths, and channel their energy into activities that matter.