You are here

Swimming And Aging by Dean Hawks

How do you transition from knowing if you work hard in the pool you will get better to just trying to rage against the aging process each year?  How do you stay positive and happy with getting older and slower? What is the mindset of those successful octogenarians? 

We never believe in our twenties that in thirty years we will be some of the oldest people in the pool.  I never thought that I would be the oldest person on deck with a 93 year old mother that still takes care of herself, walks her neighbor’s dogs, and still does Zumba!

Talking to my mother this week, she reminded me that she has always believed in exercise, hard work and continually challenging herself  every week. She only sees herself as a fit, productive, moving , and feisty ( I added that in) woman.

I read an article recently by a journalist, Carl Honore, who has made a living examining older people who are happy and healthy as they age.  Many are pushing boundaries physically that few have  thought possible . He has a list of 12 steps  that help in being happy later in life.  (This list is also for you 20-40 year olds to see what is possible in the future).  I have added a bit to them.

  1. Think young and possibilities.  A person becomes the way they think of themselves.
  2. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Challenge yourself.  Life is a science experiment!
  3. Eat for success.  Keep moving.  Sky diving, walking, swimming, mountain climbing, Zumba! Choose something that makes you happy. Try to take it to another level for fun.
  4. Michelangelo spent the last 20 years of his life designing and overseeing the construction of St. Peters Basilica.  What fires you up? Hellen Keller said “Life’s a daring adventure or nothing”. 
  5. Continue to work to be the person you want to be.  Take a college class, start an apiary, learn to do something new! 
  6. Life is short, give up!  Give up on arguments that don’t count, give up on  resentments, give up on those petty things !
  7. One of my favorite things is going out for a meal with our swim team.  Last Saturday our ages ranged from 26- 80!  Maintain your social connections of all ages!!
  8. Aging slowly closes some physical doors but other doors will open.  New opportunities will open to allow you to keep a full life and to give to others. It is widely known that giving to others makes a person happier and more fulfilled.
  9. Be your best self for your age. We are all so different. Be the best you can be with what you have. Be kind to yourself.
  10. Sex, love and romance……. There are no rules.  Be open. Remember those open doors!
  11. Creativity is built through experiences.  As we get older our creativity can be better.  Choose to experiment!
  12. My Doctor told me I am going to die from TMB (too many birthdays).  I know the day will come but I choose to be surprised by it.  Dwell on what you want.  Make a list! Take the first step toward it.  Watch for those open doors!   Be your best self and share it with others.