This post is made possible with support from AARP’s Disrupt Aging. All opinions are my own.
Aging. It’s a scary word that’s suddenly crept up on me in the last few years. I’m a 31-year-old millennial. At first, entering my 30’s was a huge shock! Sometimes, my husband and I think, what is there left to do? We’ve gotten married, had kids, bought a house, settled in careers (not in that order). I had to think back of all of the things my parents and grandparents have done. They are older in years, not broken! My dad is in his 50s and still playing on an adult softball league. My grandmother was in her 70’s building an orphanage on a mission trip in a foreign country, before her Alzheimer’s got really bad. They are who I think of when I think of ways to #DisruptAging. I’ve realized I have to change my own stereotypical mindset when it comes to thinking of older people.
My husband, Joe and I have talked about the things we’d like to do as our kids grow up and move out of the house. If we don’t have any more kids, I’ll be in my late 40’s by the time our youngest is an adult. We will have a lot of time to spend with each other in a very quiet house after raising five kids! We want to remain close to each other as we raise our kids and get older. With a busy lifestyle, we have to find ways to stay connected and take care of ourselves. We need to be satisfied with our lives at every stage.
Our national survey of 2,601 American adults found 67 percent of people age 60-plus are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their lives versus 61 percent of people age 18-39 and 60 percent of those respondents age 40-59.
— AARP Research (@AARPresearch) June 25, 2018
Put Your Marriage/Relationship First
Obviously, there will be times where the kids come first. But as a married couple, we know it’s easy to drift apart in busy seasons. We’ve been through babyhood five times, through seasons of not sleeping, tough financial times, and a whole lot more. In those times, we have to find ways to connect. This means I get up early to visit with my husband alone some mornings. Other times, it’s a movie date in the living room if we don’t have a babysitter.
Do Things As a Couple & As a Family
One of my favorite things to do as a family is go for walks. We don’t do this alone much, but all five kids and the dog go too. (And any foster dogs we may have at the moment!) We’re in a season where we don’t have free time for a lot of individual ventures, so we’ve found things we can to together. We like to remodel or DIY our house together. We also volunteer with a local dog rescue as a family. We foster dogs who are waiting to be adopted into forever homes. The kids and I are going to start serving at our local church nursery and food pantry soon.
Take Care Of Yourself!
We all know what this means. I spent most of my 20’s feeling like crud and not doing anything about it. At the end of my 20’s, I finally realized I needed to take control. I found out I have a chronic illness and started eating right. I also stopped eating fast food all the time and sitting on the couch way too much. I’m still battling being overweight, but I’m more active and healthy than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I’ve realized I need to take my supplements, drink water, and keep my dentist appointments. Taking care of myself may help me live a longer natural life.
This is probably the biggest plus of hitting my 30’s. I really just don’t care what people think of me anymore. For too long, I wouldn’t do things because people said I have too many kids, I’m too busy, or I shouldn’t put any more on my plate. This may seem contradictory when I preach “just say no”. But it’s being aware of what season of life you’re in. Sometimes, I need to let things go. I’ve stepped down from helping admin an online homeschool group so I could get involved with a local one instead. I used to do money earning sites like Swagbucks, but instead, I go for walks and work from home as a blogger instead. Know what you can say yes and no to.
Be Clear With Your Wishes
This biggest piece of advice on how to disrupt aging comes from my parents who are now in their 50’s and have gone through losing their own parents. Don’t go through life not communicating your wishes, or if you need help, or if you’d like to learn a new skill. I have a grandparent who has never paid a bill and sadly suffers from very low self esteem now. Ask for help and be clear on how you’d like to live your life. Remember, that if you’re young or old, you’re never useless. You can always do or learn something new, even if the situation has to be modified a little bit.
As Joe & I enter this next chapter of life nearing our middle years, we know we can still stay active and enjoy every year of our lives. For more tips on disrupting aging, check out http://www.disruptaging.org/