May is Older Americans Month. Since 1963, Older Americans Month has been a time to celebrate and focus on the accomplishments, the contributions, and the inspiring stories of those of us who have lived a long life. It is a time to give extra attention to the fact that growing older is something to be embraced and enjoyed, not looked at with dread and trepidation. This year’s theme, “Age Out Loud”, emphasizes the ways older adults are living their lives with boldness, confidence, and passion while serving as an inspiration to people of all ages.
To age out loud means to shed the stereotypes of what getting older means. Your age is just a number. Don’t let it dictate what you can do. Job 12:12 says, “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” Older Americans have the benefit of a lifetime of wisdom, and often have more time and financial resources at their disposal to take part in activities that were difficult or impossible to undertake earlier in their lives. Is there something you have always wanted to do, but never had the time, or the money, or the nerve? Maybe everyone told you it was a crazy idea. Maybe it is time to go out on a limb and do the thing you have always wanted to do but never thought you could. Is there somewhere you have always wanted to go, but never have been able to? My grandmother made three trips to Australia alone after she retired, including flights over the outback in a tiny single engine plane, and visiting the aborigines. It was something she had always wanted to do, so she did it. What have you always wanted to do?
People are living longer than ever before and many people are healthy and fit into their eighties, nineties, and beyond. With so much emphasis put on trying to preserve youth, I think it is important to highlight the advantages of having lived a long life. With long life comes experience, knowledge, and wisdom. Think of all the things you have learned in the course of your life. Continuing to learn new things throughout your life keeps your brain healthy and remaining active keeps your body healthy. If there is something you are passionate about, look for ways to get involved with and organization or group that advocates for the area you care about. Lots of church and civic groups would love to have your help. Young people need the influence of older people in their lives to be able to reap the benefit of their years of wisdom. I believe that one of the greatest advantages of aging in place or aging in community is keeping the wisdom and perspective of older people available to our young people. I think all of us loose a great deal when our seniors are isolated in age restricted communities.
I recommend that all of you take the occasion of Older Americans Month to “Age Out Loud” and encourage others to do the same. Share this article with someone who needs a new perspective on aging. Step outside your comfort zone and undertake something you have always wanted to do but didn’t think you could. Let’s change the way we think about aging. Embrace life and look at each day as a new opportunity to experience life. Each day of our life is a gift from God and how we live it is our gift to him. Thank you for reading Housing Matters and live each day to the fullest!