We can gain tips on successful aging from the wisest man who ever lived – King Solomon. Even though his words in Ecclesiastes, Psalms, and Proverbs are thousands of years old, they apply to our lives today, because they hold the power of God’s Word.
Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. – Ecclesiastes 12:6-7, NIV
Two things: we could age like wine (sweet), or like milk (sour!). Once the gray strands of hair start to grow and our skin begins to sag looser around the eyes, we can be filled with calm and peaceful contentment, instead of dread.
You still have time to turn things around if you have been living oblivious to the expected end, and age gracefully. If you have been blessed with long life, you can live your life in a way that is pleasing to the Lord and beneficial to you and those around you.
Everyone has hopes of retiring with a healthy body, a robust bank balance, and a future generation to carry on their legacy. Along with hopes for the future, there are fears of what aging may bring:
- A decline in health and/or mental faculties
- Death of loved ones
- Loss of independence
- Running out of savings
- Post-retirement monotony
- Loss of youthful appearance
The way you take care of yourself over the years, both physically and mentally, will greatly impact the process of aging. You can learn from your own mistakes and experiences or those of others. The wiser those people are the better. King Solomon was the wisest of all, and he condensed his life experiences and mistakes in Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. He died of natural causes in 931 BCE at around the age of 80, but before he did, he left us a roadmap to aging gracefully.
Tips for Successful Aging
The glory of young men is their strength, grey hair the splendor of the old. – Proverbs 20:29, NIV
Aging successfully is not about trying to look or feel like you are perpetually middle-aged – it’s about attaining a new lease on life and having the physical and mental health to enjoy it. Although wine ages well, it still requires great care inside a suitable vessel. The vessel, usually a bottle, proclaims the wine’s age on its label without shame.
Solomon reminds us that getting old is nothing for which we should be ashamed. Our life on earth is but a breath when compared to eternity, so every second we draw breath needs to be celebrated. Each day you can be a good steward of the time and gifts God has entrusted to you. The older you are, the fewer the number of people who have lived for as long as you have. Appreciate that grace.
Don’t Dwell on the Past
Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. – Ecclesiastes 7:10, NIV
Memories are meant to be cherished, not idolized. Over a long lifespan, you can cultivate fulfilling relationships and experiences which make you happy when you reminisce. However, it is unhealthy to stay rooted in those memories at the cost of the present. The “good old days” are called that for a reason – they are in the past.
Aging successfully requires you to live in the present while you use your past experiences to inform your decisions now and provide advice to others. You can be a source of wisdom to the current generation and help preserve your family and national legacy.
The past is no longer for yourself, but it is an invaluable resource for others in your sphere of influence. Use it to inform and benefit others, not to wallow in self-pity.
Quit Smoking and Decrease Alcohol Intake
Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. – Proverbs 23:20-21, ESV
With every passing decade, your metabolism takes a massive hit and slows down by roughly 8%. Alcohol consumption has been proven to contribute to the increase of visceral (stomach) fat, and smoking causes premature aging.
The recommended amount of alcohol intake is one glass a day for women and two glasses a day for men. Anything beyond that is just contributing to health problems you will face down the road.
Drinking and smoking can also become an expensive habit, and this is one you cannot afford to indulge in as you approach retirement. Having only a few alcoholic beverages every weekend can add up to $96 a month, which is a yearly tab of $1,152! If you had invested that amount into an index fund or any other interest-bearing asset over the years, it would have yielded a sizeable profit.
A pack-a-day smoking habit can set you back about $165.30 per month, which is a whopping $2,011.15 per year. Do that over five years and you hit $10,055.75, which is enough for a down payment on a small home or two state-of-the-art bicycles!
Lower Your Stress Levels
So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body… – Ecclesiastes 11:10, NIV
The risks that stress presents to your body are vast, ranging from the premature greying of hair and wrinkles to a higher risk of experiencing heart disease.
There are a number of effective ways to relieve stress, including:
Engaging in fun activities:
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. – Ecclesiastes 11:9, ESV
Getting enough sleep – aim for seven to eight hours a night.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid, when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. – Proverbs 3:24, ESV
Staying connected with friends and family members:
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. – Proverbs 17:6, ESV
Eating a healthy, balanced diet:
And put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. – Proverbs 23:2, ESV
Honor Your Parents
Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old. – Proverbs 23:22, ESV
The first commandment with a promise – “Honor your father and mother” – assures us that the obedient will experience a long life on earth. All authority comes from God and honoring those in authority over us is also honoring God by proxy. Your parents possess a wealth of experience, whether good or bad, that can help you navigate through life.
Many people begin to appreciate their parents more when they themselves become parents. They realize that they were also flawed human beings that tried their best and made mistakes along the way. Being patient with your aging parents can also provide a valuable learning experience on successful aging.
In addition, you are genetically predisposed to contract the same diseases they do when they are old, so you can take a pre-emptive approach to avoid being in the same boat when you are their age.
Christian Counseling for Aging
If you need additional support beyond these Bible verses concerning successful aging and aging anxiety, you are invited to browse the online counselor directory to find the best counselor for you. Feel free to contact the office today to schedule an appointment and begin your journey toward successful aging.
“Cheese and Crackers Dinner”, Courtesy of Pixabay, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “E-Bike”, Courtesy of Hebi B, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Guitar Man”, Courtesy of FJS3, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Appetizers”, Courtesy of Aline Ponce, Pixabay.com, CC0 License
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