Successful Aging

March 4th, 2014

This is the first of a series of blogs on successful aging. I am a believer! My goal is to be the “poster child” for this very hot topic. I work hard at it because it is work that must be done. There is no magic bullet. We can barely pick up a magazine or turn on Dr. Oz without encountering some reference to aging well. My reason for writing this timely blog, is to share the information gathered from many resources, seminars, teaching, and writing on this subject and life experience. I want to offer tips to keep all of us of any age healthy and functioning well into the third half of life. If 70 is the new 50—count me in!

A Boomer turns 65 every 7 seconds! Do the math. Boomers have and will continue to turn our known world upside down. While the drug store isles are filled to overflowing with “look young” products, and we can get as much plastic surgery as we can afford, the stark fact remains—we are aging. We have basically two choices: spend tons of money on attempting to look younger or do everything we can to live our lives to the fullest by:

  1. making good choices,
  2. accepting who we are,
  3. celebrating every year that we are alive and well.

We make these choices daily.

The Bible suggests that people lived to, and were called into ministry at well over 100 years of age (think Adam, Noah, Abraham, Sarah). When I ask participants of my classes if they’d like to live to 100, they most often respond with, “Yes, but… only if I can remain healthy.” That is the great caveat. Are you aging? The answer is, of course, yes (Botox aside). But that is really the wrong question. Are you aging well? That is the important question. If successful aging is of interest to you, (no matter your current age) it is never too early or too late to begin this adventure. I invite you to follow along with the blogs in which I will address the many and varied factors of successful aging and ways to accomplish them in our daily lives.

Tons of research (just do a search of aging well) tells us there are many specific factors that determine how we age. The percentages vary, but most researchers agree on the following factors:

  • our genetic code (the one thing we cannot change since we have not discovered a way to select our parents)
  • our environment (the air we breathe, water we drink, and the quality of the food we eat)
  • the availability and quality of health care (self-explanatory)
  • and mostly on our behavioral choices.

Research suggests that the greater the number of positive factors we incorporate in our lives, the greater the chance of living long and healthy lives. The operative word here is CHOICES. We make choices every day—paper or plastic, decaf or regular? Not life changing to be sure, but some choices we make each day literally can be/are life changing. These choices can and do affect how we age. That is the subject of this series—making healthy choices every day for the rest of our lives.

You might be wondering how this information, of personal value certainly, connects to ministry. We know that the only constant in our world today is change. Yet we must glean what is important in our faith and find new ways to share it with those who are taking over the reins of church leadership. Let me share some thoughts.

The church is aging faster than one year at a time.
Think about that statement. Refer again to the first sentence in paragraph two—a Boomer turns 65 every 7 seconds. Our churches MUST address this issue. We must find ways to make our seniors feel wanted, needed, respected.

The church needs our wisdom and witness.
Most of us have experienced enough summers to have lived through our share of dark nights of our soul. We have faith stories to share of how God has accompanied us on those nights. These are stories of profound faith.

The church needs our resources—not just monetary—but business and world experience.
Most of us (please God) have learned from our mistakes and know the signs of what works and what does not. We need to be able to share this wisdom in ways that are not threatening to others (ie: this is the right way), but in terms of “this is a profound truth I have learned the hard way.”

We need to remain sound in mind/body/spirit to continue the faith work that still remains for us to do. For some of us, a frail body, but sound mind and spirit can serve God well. For others, failing mental capacity still allows us to serve at various levels. No one is exempt from God’s call throughout our lives.

God isn’t finished with us yet and we must be healthy and strong in as many ways as possible to answer God’s call to serve.

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