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Planning Retirement Online

Beyond the Headlines

February 2013

 

By Jeanne DavisJeanne Davis

Each month our resident writer and commentator Jeanne Davis goes behind recent news stories to comment on various ideas and subjects that have special resonance for our age group.

Written in her usual thought provoking and entertaining style, we know you will enjoy this addition every month

 


BE HAPPY: The 70s can be some of the happiest years of your life

Good News: A recent AARP survey showed that of all the decades surveyed including the 50s and 60s, the 70s tend to be some of the happiest years of your life. One explanation for the trend: years of experience. “As you get older, you know that bad times are going to pass,” says Laura Carstensen, Ph.D., director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. “You also know that good times will pass, which makes those good times more precious.” AARP is a US-based 50 plus organisation with a membership of more than 37 million.

Not-so-Good News: You might stay away from stressful situations, thereby missing out on new opportunities. Just make sure all your social interactions stay strong. They may be key to facing future challenges with resilience.

What’s Ahead: As long as your health remains good, you can expect to be happy. Studies also suggest that negative emotions like anger and sadness become less frequent with age, perhaps because older adults get better at tuning out negativity.

Optimism Eases the Path to a Richer Life

Much of the current research into life span development can give us useful signposts to successful laterlife living. In one study, adults shown to be pessimists based on psychological tests had higher death rates over a 30-year period than those who were shown to be optimistic. Optimism is the belief that good things will happen to you and that negative events are temporary setbacks to be overcome.

I am prone to attacks of anxiety. To suppress this angst I have posted on my bathroom cabinet mirror the mantra “Don't anticipate negative outcomes. More often than not everything turns out all right.” And I find that as the events unfold, there was nothing to worry about.

It’s important not to neglect the power of positive thinking. Counsellors recommend taking a few minutes each day to write down three positive things that happened that day, ending the day on an upbeat note. Additional suggestions:

  • Avoid negative self-talk. Instead of focusing on prospects of failure, dwell on the positive aspects of a situation.
  • Regardless of the nature of your work, identify some aspect of it that is personally fulfilling.
  • Surround yourself with positive upbeat people.
  • Focus on situations that you can control, and forget those you can’t.

Is 70 the New 50?

There is a plethora of headline grabbing pronouncements in the popular press that tell us we are getting younger and younger. I read these items with some cynicism. I am not sure it’s the new fifty but judging from a recent experience I had with a group of laterlifers it could be the new 55 or 60. Last year I travelled with a small group in their late sixties and mid seventies. To Patagonia. For over a period of two weeks we hiked, walked, climbed in this South American wilderness region of snow-topped mountains, glacial lakes and vast, sparse sheep farms. We boarded an expedition ship to take us around Cape Horn in the wake of the great explorers: Magellan, Drake and Darwin. We clambered off the mother ship to go ashore in wildly lurching Zodiacs battling rain, wind and sometimes snow.

This group seemed to manage it all quite calmly and with a good sense of fun. They weren’t obsessively athletic, though some were skiers, runners and definitely walkers. Many of the women were retired school teachers, and two had been school principals. (Maybe working with the young toughens you). The men had been in IT or were still in it. One was a lawyer practicing in a small town who dabbled in acquiring off beat businesses. He had lately invested in a fleet of horse drawn carriages that take tourists through the historic districts of New Orleans.

I have to admit I opted out of some of the more challenging treks. I am not good walking on uneven surfaces. I am much better on boats. On one climb up a volcano, I took the chair lift. I told myself that I had, after all, two summers before, trudged through the ashes at the top of Mount Etna in Sicily. I didn’t need to do another volcano.

The Rise of Feel Good Films for Those in Laterlife

After decades chasing teenage audiences, Hollywood is turning to a lucrative new market – the over 50s. The success of films such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Quartet have proved that films aimed at older cinema-goers can be box office hits. They can be said to be feel good films. They show us that in laterlife there is still a lot of life to live. Even a film like the unflinching and award-winning Amour, about an older couple coping with dementia, though not obviously a feel good, is a heart warming tribute to enduring love.


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The above article is part of the features section of laterlife.com called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to laterlife.com written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also associated regular columns of a more specialist nature such as Healthwise, Gardener's Diary, our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT and there's also 'It could be you' by Maggi Stamp laterlife's counsellor on human relationships. 

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