After two weeks of watching the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, my thoughts turn to those who do not get all the attention. With all the effort necessary to get to compete in an Olympic event, why is is so easy to overshadow the significance of those who almost made it. We see the rewards on the faces and the necks of those who measure up but what about those jwho tried their best?
What has this do to with growing old? Striving to stay independent throughout most of our later years is no small challenge. A good part of it is being able to recognize what you need and get it for yourself. I commented on another Well blog article from the NYT this week. It is about older people being ‘hacks’. Actually that is a compliment from the geek world. Translated it means someone who can re purpose or design a useful tool out of the ordinary. In this context it means older people doing sensible things to keep themselves safe without needing a design degree. What a wonder, older people can innovate to help themselves big time at home. Would love to hear if anyone has done something similar. See the article: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/08/15/hacks-can-ease-the-trials-of-aging/?_r=0
This will not be as newsworthy as the 100 year old woman in Queens who can still do the 50 yard dash in whatever seconds. Sure the ad world will always catch our attention with the 86 year old nun who is still doing triathlons. That either inspires you or appalls or maybe even discourages you. We always seem to measure our success by others.
Part of the glory of being older should be that we do not have to regret the 1/100 of a second that separates us from placing for our best . The media will not find you when you are still doing your exercise routine at your own maximum effort level in 10 years. As with many ‘runner up” finishers you try not to screw up, disqualify yourself and place as well as you can.
Aging is as much a mental game as it is a physical challenge. Recognizing that you need to do a better job of keeping track of appointments, medications, or passwords and finding a way to help yourself deal with it, will be part of our aging in place challenge.
But effort is key whether it is trying to learn more about using a more complex cell phone so you have the glories of GPS and texting to stay in touch. Maybe you finally signed up for that in person class to learn a new way to exercise or tackle the computer.
It is not just sitting in the bleachers observing what others can and can’t do. As I once heard comedian George Carlin say in concert, sometimes you have to be your own audience, the person on the other side of your desk, applauding your own good work!