We’ve reached the point of discussing old age in my developmental psychology class, and it’s kind of depressing. Sure, we all realize that we all get older, we will all become wrinkly eventually, but reading about every ailment and sensual failure starts to get depressing. So I’ve compiled a letter to my future self of all of the things I’d like to avoid and achieve, in hopes that I can be “that cool grandma” without going off the deep end.
Dear Elderly Me,
Don’t be afraid to try new things and expand your horizons. Falling into the “set in their ways” trap isn’t an option! Experiment with new, exotic, healthy cuisine, join that yoga class that Mildred suggests to you, listen to every presidential debate, and do not shy away from popular movies and the new sci-fi books on the senior citizen home’s library shelf.
Don’t cut your hair too short. Why does getting old mean chopping off your luscious locks? I know you liked shorter hair back then but for goodness sake rock that mane of silver. Shoulder length, at least.
Exercise. A little bit every day. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. You may come to love water aerobics, but if you can’t get to that, try walking moderately fast or Wii bowling.
READ. Actual books. They’ll take you on adventures when you don’t or can’t leave your house. Your eyes might be shot from looking at screens all your life, but make your best attempt. If you’re feeling dead inside, I recommend re-reading the Harry Potter series.
Remain active in your grandchildren’s lives, but don’t go overboard. …Or completely to heck with that, go overboard. They’ll be your pride and joys, and you’ll probably be showing them off to everyone in the grocery store. Do your best to go to their shows, their games, their graduations, their weddings. Time with them will be precious.
Do not lose your sense of humor. Keep your sarcasm, surprise people with some less than proper banter every once in a while, and laugh loudly. Just because you and your jokes get a bit older doesn’t mean you have to turn into a potato.
Continue to make art. I don’t care what you do–paint, draw, write poetry, take up stained glass, sing, take pictures. It’s too big of a part of your life to quit it. It will keep your creative brain alive, and keep you sane!
Drink milk, for goodness sakes. Because mom always warned you about osteoporosis and because it’s delicious and goes with cookies.
Take as many photographs with the people you love as you can. And don’t refuse any pictures your family tries to include you in. You’re going to have the bomb-est photo collection and it can’t all be sunsets. Scenery can be fleeting but family is forever.
Don’t fear death. John Mayer sang about how he was “so scared of getting older… [he’s] only good at being young”. And right now, that sounds about right. But I hope where you’re at, you’ll welcome it because you’ll be at peace, and you’ll be ready.
Refuse to grow up. Mentally, anyways—let’s be real, you’ve probably already shrunk a little. Don’t be ridiculous and reckless about it (bungee jumping is probably not the best idea right now), but don’t be afraid to let fascination and wonder keep on keeping on. Have fun with new gadgets, be spontaneous, expect the unexpected, and laugh. Every single day.