Old Does Not Mean Slow

Taken from my US News & World Blog

As we age, we tend to slow down. The older we get, the more susceptible we are to physical deterioration and loss of mental acuity. It is the way of the world, and we need to accept that reality. But is this an accurate truism across the board?

Last weekend I joined my parents in celebrating their 80th birthdays with a gathering of family and approximately thirty friends acquired over the past fifty years. The average age in the room, excluding immediate family, was in the 80 plus range. As I mingled with attendees I recognized from when I was a kid, it quickly became apparent these people were not interested in slowing down. They were still very sharp and engaged with living. Wrinkles may have taken over their outward appearance, but their minds were wrinkle-free.

During the evening I crossed paths with Lonnie, who is over 80, and had just returned from a week of skiing at North Star. Alfred, 87, regaled us with minute details of the 39 cruises he has taken since retiring at 62. And George, who is also over 80, has discovered a second career after leaving medicine in the wine industry. Once a year he journeys to France where he tastes more than 300 different wines over a four-day period to select future purchases for his wine store.

How do they beat aging? I believe the secret to the continued sharpness of my parents and their friends is staying busy and engaged with living. None of these octogenarians defines retirement in terms of slowing down, relaxing, or sitting out life. They continue to be involved in a lifelong pursuit of worthy goals.

Their enduring friendships have been based on shared passions for playing bridge, tennis, and golf. They also attend local theater and concerts, travel, and host dinner parties with heated discussions about everything from politics to international events. They enjoy living each day and are always there for each other to share a happy moment or support a not-so-happy time. In their inner circle, happiness seems not so much about the individual but more about the group. For this group of seniors, retirement is not the end of life, but the beginning of the second act.

Dave Bernard is the author of Are You Just Existing and Calling it a Life?, which offers guidelines to discover your personal passion and live a life of purpose. Not yet retired, Dave has begun his due diligence to plan for a fulfilling retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement – Only the Beginning. He has authored three books: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". Dave was also a contributing writer for the books 65 Things to do when you Retire (“Positive Aging – Old is the New Young”) as well as 65 Things to do when you Retire – TRAVEL (“Travel to Discover your Family Heritage”). He lives in sunny California with his wife, his Boston Terrier "Frank" and a passion for the San Jose Sharks.

2 thoughts on “Old Does Not Mean Slow

  1. Getting ready for our third big retirement trip- one month in Rome while we recover from one month in energetic Buenos Aires. Originally I kept thinking,”Are we too old to travel?” Glad I ignored my doubts.

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