It’s not how old you are, it’s how you are old. ~ Jules Renard
As human beings, we are all very multi-dimensional in nature. We all have inner children which we let loose spontaneously from time to time, and we also have inner teenagers and adults that express themselves in different ways.
We also have inner oldie’s (or grandma’s and granddad’s), but for one reason or another, we very rarely express these sides of ourselves, especially when we’re young.
The truth is, to think and behave like an old person when you’re relatively young is, well, kind of weird. And many of us still have a hard time accepting our quirks and oddities.
However, in the past year I have made some major changes to my life which I can only describe as having come from my inner Granny, which I now take immense pride and joy in.
If you are wondering how exactly you can benefit from listening to your inner oldie, and why you should bother in the first place, keep reading.
Heal Your Life, Starting From Today
As I have explained in previous articles, age does not necessarily equate to wisdom or intelligence. In fact, I have known and continue to observe many feeble-minded elderly people, and I’ve known (and still know) many prudent and perceptive young people – and also vice versa.
However, have you ever observed the habits of the elderly? Their approach to day-to-day life is very interesting, and extremely insightful. From what I have observed, an old person’s main goal and objective is to pass through the final years of their lives in as easy and complacent a fashion as possible.
Quite the opposite of the young and sprightly among us!
Our lives are often fast-paced, mindless, and full of terribly destructive and unhealthy habits. But why? Why do we squander these golden years of our lives? Because everyone else does the same? Because we weren’t aware of any other alternatives in the first place? Thank goodness there is still hope – for you, for me, for all of us. We just need to learn the worldly wisdom of the elderly, and tune into what our inner oldie’s are instructing us.
This is what I learnt in the past year, and my hopes are that these tips can give you practical pointers, or suitable starting places to heal your own life.
1. Set a stable bedtime.
Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, minimum! A lack of adequate sleep has been linked with various mental illnesses and chronic health problems. Also, setting a stable bedtime that you strongly adhere to will help you get into the habit of sleeping long enough in the first place. I aim to go to sleep each night at 10pm, rather than 1am or 2am (which was my previous habit).
2. Be thrifty with your money.
Oldie’s are well-known to be prudent spenders, and for good reasons. If you’re wanting to live comfortably and debt free without the anxiety of unpaid bills piling up, reconsider your spending habits. Are you being too wasteful, or too unnecessarily extravagant in your purchases? Adopting a more frugal mindset has helped me save a lot more money than I used to, and has therefore substantially added to my peace of mind.
3. Waste not, want not.
This follows the previous point, but focuses on how you choose to use what you have. We live in an extremely wasteful society. Did you know that the average American puts 64 tons of waste in landfills throughout their lifetimes? The more we want, the less we appreciate what we already have, and the more we take it for granted. Do you really need takeaway when you have last night’s leftovers in the fridge? Do you really need a new iPhone upgrade? Do you really need to buy new pants because of one little tear that can easily be sewn up? Answer: probably not.
4. Natural and organic is the best. Choose it.
In the past year I have replaced almost 100% of what I put on my face and into my body with natural or organic alternatives. I’m now proud to be picky because it means less problems in my life overall. Generic or popular branded food, drink, skincare or hair-care products are 99.9% of the time riddled with terrible colours, flavours, preservatives, and chemical additives that can alter everything from your general mood, to the clarity of your skin. Educate yourself on what you should be looking out for and avoiding. Supporting organic products and produce supports a better and healthier world in the long term.
5. Reassess your footwear.
Bunions, hammertoes, calluses, arthritis … The type of shoes we decide to wear each day can either greatly benefit, or greatly detriment us in the long-term. If your footwear leaves your feet aching or swollen at the end of the day, invest in a new pair immediately. But not just any pair. Research well and ensure that your toes have enough space to move around freely, the sides of your feet aren’t restricted tightly, and the heel (if you’re a lady) isn’t too high (2.5 inches maximum). I’m not recommending ugly orthotic shoes either. In fact, I’ve found my most comfortable and modern shoes from Aerosoles, Clark’s, Cobb Hill and Softspots. Going 1/2 a size up helps, as well as choosing a pair with an appropriate width for your feet.
6. Avoid restrictive clothing.
Tight shirts, tight pants, tight skirts … all of these detriment our peace of mind as our bodies affect our minds, and vice versa. I’ve felt so much happier after replacing my tight jeans with loose and flowing skirts. See what changes you can make to “loosen yourself up” both literally and metaphorically.
7. Do everything slowly.
Ever notice the main difference between the old and young? The young are much more fast-paced! While in some cases this can be beneficial (e.g. deadlines), eventually, if we don’t learn how to slow down, we burn out or aggravate issues like chronic anxiety. Learning to become mindful of how hurried I was (and still am), has really helped to reduce my chronic anxiety issues, teaching me that, usually, there is no need to hurry anyway. For what reason? We’re all going to end up in the same place in the end. So chill and relax. Slowing down teaches you to appreciate life much more as well.
8. Remember your P’s and Q’s.
… in other words, traditional etiquette can be very useful. Don’t go overboard in being polite and amiable, but do remember that other people have needs as well. Just a simple “please”, “good morning”, or “thank you” can brighten someone’s day immensely, showing them that you aren’t just an uncouth jerk who takes everyone for granted, but actually cares enough to acknowledge the existence of another.
9. Get gardening.
I’ve previously written on the many benefits of gardening for both the mind and body. Since growing my own medicinal herbs, my overall happiness and sense of accomplishment has flourished greatly. So give it a go! Even if it’s growing a daisy in a plastic pot, gardening can be immensely soothing and comforting.
10. Get comfortable with solitude.
As a person ages they often find themselves spending more and more time alone. The children have flown the coop, the work colleagues have waved goodbye, and the pace of life is much too fast for a declining body to cope with. Luckily, the elderly have developed some of the best ways to keep themselves preoccupied. Visiting the local library, reading, painting, writing, gardening, knitting, quilting, woodworking – there are an infinite number of ways to enjoy solitude. And as Sol has mentioned before, there are countless benefits to spending time alone, including increased self-awareness, self-acceptance and the rejuvenation of mind, body and spirit.
Don’t take your inner oldie for granted, and don’t underestimate the power that thinking and acting like an old person can have on your life! To heal your life, you must first be willing to seriously commit to making changes, to investing time, effort and sometimes even money. So take things slowly and steadily – there’s no need to rush anyway!
Any of your thoughts or own personal recommendations will be welcome below! This young Granny will be delighted to read them :)