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Successful Aging

Both @easymoneyme and @nicolafisher wrote lists called "10 things I am learning as I age." As I get older I find this topic of more interest. I think I've figured a few things out and am motivated to share what I've learned. This list is a combo of things I did earlier on and observations now at 56.

    1. We are told some of the most important basics when we are young

    We learn at an early age we need to save money even if we don't get a full education on financial literacy. We learn at an early age not to eat too much sugar even if we don't get a full study of macro nutrients or micro nutrients. We learn very early on that we need to exercise even if we don't get much about how to do so effectively. With the above building blocks, it is up to us to learn how to do those basics.

    2. Figure out how to be mature

    Here I mean shedding beliefs and behaviors that are counter productive or even harmful. The sooner this happens the easier life will be. Lose envy, lose caring what others think, focus on things you can control and stop worrying about things you cannot control. Too much negativity makes us unhappy and eventually can make us sick.

    3. "Wait until you're my age"

    This came from a conversation I had on Twitter today. Someone saying this is usually talking to someone younger about something they (the older person) can no longer do and that they think the younger person will lose the ability to do soon too. Hopefully that makes sense, but the mind set is terrible, the opposite of successful aging. Successful aging includes still being able to get it done at an "older" age. Someone who is 40 may not be able to get it done anymore while someone who is 60 is more than capable of still getting it done, whatever "it" means to you. The difference is habits, the curiosity to learn about the things in the first item on this list and then live them. Habits are a big determinant between being old or young for your age.

    4. Our worst traits

    As we get older, our worst personality traits become more prominent. This is something to be aware of and have the introspection to see. You can't help the conclusions you draw or the things you think but you can hold your tongue to avoid saying something that isn't helpful or makes a situation worse.

    5. 40's & 50's

    How your 40's and 50's turn out is largely up to you. I've described this period in my life as my benefiting from decisions/habits made in my 20's. I did my future self a few favors by living below my means and lifting weights. Later on, when I learned about sugar, I did myself another favor and cut carb consumption significantly. After years of living below your means and staying fit and healthy, your 40's and 50's can be a great period in your life. You know some things, you can still get it done and you have some optionality for having a little money in the bank.

    6. Healthspan

    Healthspan refers to being able to do the things you enjoy doing to an older age and I think is a hallmark of successful aging. The habits we've talked all throughout this list contribute to healthspan, as does knowing your body better at 50 than you might at 20. I think you can better understand your limits as you gain more experience versus being younger and not yet having a great sense of your limits. You can maybe better get away with not knowing your limits at 20 but it is a form of maturity at 50 that contributes to healthspan.

    7. Things can still go wrong

    A person can do all the right things and still get sick with something, very sick I mean. Any thing can happen to anyone at anytime, that's just how life goes sometimes. This is a serious point that I have thought about. If at some point I get bad news along these lines, I am going to do my damnedest to not wallow in sadness or anger. I want to enjoy every moment I possibly can. Life is precious and I don't want to waste it on negativity.

    8. Continue to learn new things

    Learning makes life more interesting and keeps the mind engaged. A crucial component of successful aging.

    9. Develop new interests

    Similar as number 8.

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