Risking Happiness (Finding Joy in Our Elderly Years)

Mark Anthony said, “Most people would rather be certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy.” For many, misery can be acquainted with aging. Aging is an inevitable part of life we can all expect to affect us. Some people fear it, others try to prevent it, and many once they reach it just look back with longing toward ‘the good old days.’

It’s easy to reach the point when our children are gone and look back and wonder: what did I do wrong? How many opportunities did I miss? We think with regret: I could have done so much more. It’s easy for us to settle into a despondent state. As our health and bodies deteriorate, so we let our happiness also wither away.

What happened to the youthful spirit that once shouted: I will live my life to the fullest! What happened to the gun-hoe young man setting off to find his place in the world, setting off to make a difference? Have we reached a point in our older years where we can truly no longer enjoy life? Is there such a point when we are so afraid of the inevitable that we are counting days to our death instead of days left to live?

Sometimes we feel it’s easier to face a miserable reality than to risk feeling happiness for a brief moment until it will certainly be snatched away from us as new negative problems arise. It’s true that no one person can ever be happy twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, yet we should never give up our spirit, our laughter, and our happiness simply because our body is not what it used to be.

Reflection becomes more common as we age and sometimes this reflection only causes us to become more depressed as we begin to regret. Regrets have a way of building on each other, making us get the worst of them in our older years. In an article entitled Old Age and Happiness, the author writes, “Many an oldster becomes grouchy and cynical due to constant fretting about past failures and disappointments.”

Many people say that old age can bring out the best in us but that it can also bring out the worst in us. If you’re feeling regretful, find something more to do with your time. Set goals for yourself. Based on what your body is capable of, see what you can do for the community, your family, and yourself. Take on a volunteer position at the local food pantry, visit your grandchildren and read them a story once a week, study an important work that has inspired you, allow yourself to feel useful and needed. Generally, the less idle a person is, the more he will be able to see the worth in himself.

We all have our share of disappointments and failures, and as we age we face troubles that we’ve never had to deal with before. It’s difficult, but as with any other stage in life we can’t let it get us down. Our elderly years are our final act upon the stage of life, let’s leave this world with a bang.

Happiness is a concept that is hard to grasp. It can’t be simply explained; it just is. Happiness, though, like any other emotion is a choice. Staying neutral, regretful, despondent, or indifferent are safety zones. Many fear that by allowing themselves to be happy for a moment they are only prolonging the inevitable sadness that will ensue.

In reality, laughing and smiling lifts your spirits and gives you strength for those moments when you are faced with troubles. In our late elderly years when there’s not much left our bodies will allow us to do, we can still look back and remember those funny moments. Laughter may not miraculously heal our bodies, but it is a sure cure for the mind’s ills.

It is the simple things in life – a smile from the grocer, a wave from an old friend, a hug from a grandchild – that will bring us the most joy in the end. As long as we remember that, we will never again have to search for happiness because we all have it, right here.

Below is a video from the Piano Guys in which they performed at an Adult Community in Saint George, Utah. The video shows how even in the latter stages of life, we can have fun, let go of ourselves, and remember what it was like to be a little kid, oblivious to all worries and completely, giddily happy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyPDQpel8bI

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About National Care Planning Council

The National Care Planning Council and its affiliated members are dedicated to helping families recognize the need for long term care planning. We are committed to raising awareness and providing information on common eldercare issues. Integrity, honesty, and a genuine concern for the elderly and their families are at the heart of our services.

Posted on May 2, 2012, in Elderly Emotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

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  10. Happy To Do Eldercare

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