By Randy Moore, Publisher – Getting older sucks! You hear that a lot when you get older. At least among older friends coping with various aches and pains. Not just pain in their aging knees, back and shoulders, but also the mental pain of endless acrimony in the name of political power. Plus, long visits in waiting rooms ahead of short meetings with busy doctors. Boredom and loneliness are two more familiar sources of pain for many seniors. Especially if your children are far away or too busy to hang out between holidays.
I’m almost 69 and I’ve been preparing to get older for the last 20 years. Most of my time has been focused on staying active and fit without breaking any bones. I’ve also become increasingly mindful and motivated about the many benefits of good nutrition and other health-friendly habits. I refer to some of my specific strategies as Senior Projects, and they’ve helped me stay mentally sharp, fit and more positive.
An early Senior Project in my mid 50’s was earning my certificate as a Florida Master Naturalist with the University of Florida. Launching Englewood Healthy Living in 2016 and South County Healthy Living in 2018 is a more encompassing example. Publishing and distributing both magazines three times a year in the fall, winter and spring challenges me mentally, emotionally and physically. I enjoy being creative while interacting with hundreds of interesting people including our advertisers and many talented artists and photographers. Finding or creating meaningful work is a worthy goal no matter our age.
A more recent Senior Project involved my decision during Covid to study the 100 greatest thinkers in world history. I compiled a list and started learning about each man and woman from postings on Wikipedia and videos on YouTube. I’ve learned a lot about this group of mostly philosophers, writers and scientists. My list of 100 great thinkers has expanded to 240 individuals.
Learning about great thinkers prompted my next Senior Project which I launched last July. I decided to read 1,000 books written by authors from around the world over the past 500 years. This multi-year commitment expresses my joy of learning. It’s also an investment in cognitive health, personal development and the study of writing as a craft. I’ve read 172 books thus far (mostly fiction). A possible Senior Project in my 70’s is authoring a few books.
Senior Projects can be physical too. I’ve become better at swimming, dribbling and shooting a basketball, and playing disc golf thanks to many hours of study and practice. Remember, the key to Senior Projects is to discover and embrace activities you find interesting and rewarding.