Less than two weeks ago, I was able to enjoy morning walks wearing sleeveless tank tops. Most afternoons, I could still wear shorts while working in the yard or taking hikes. Early last week, we had our first frost and have had several frosty mornings since then. As much as I wanted to continue basking in the early autumn sun, that season is quickly coming to an end. This morning, I adapted to the cooler weather by wearing a sweatshirt, a heavy coat, and winter gloves. I even put the dog’s coat on him before taking our walk. It felt good to be cozy and warm. Honestly, I had no desire to wear a sleeveless shirt and didn’t even think about the possibility of wearing shorts later today. Instead, I thought about how good a hot cup of chocolate might taste later this evening. I also appreciated the fact that my husband had our gas fireplace tuned up before the colder temperatures hit.
Resilience and Adapting to ChangeResilience refers to our ability to adapt to change and to circumstances. If we are going to be successful agers, we have to adjust to the seasons and conditions in our lives. The autumn sun will fade away, but we can still fully enjoy and embrace the seasons that follow. Preparation Just like my husband made sure our fireplace was ready for the cold weather, we can also make preparations for seasonal changes in our own lives. We can make sure we are staying healthy and active as we get older. Regular check-ups could also help us make appropriate adjustments as well. If we are preparing to end our primary careers, we can start thinking about how we are going to adapt to a new season in our life. For those near retirement, it can help to start planning things like ways to stay socially engaged, develop some degree of structure, and the kind of lifestyle that would be most suitable. Anticipation With regard to lifestyle, I’ll be featuring Mike Drak, Victory Lap author and retirement coach, in my November 15th newsletter. He describes retirees as typically leaning either towards a comfort-oriented lifestyle or a growth-oriented lifestyle. Again, preparing for the lifestyle you hope to enjoy in retirement is essential. If you want a comfort-oriented life with the least amount of stress possible, you may need to have sufficient financial resources for 30+ years. You’ll also need to consider the best location for aging in place. And, of course, your health will be a primary factor not only for your financial considerations but also for the degree of stress-free living that you hope to enjoy.
Adapting to New RolesSome of the changes that we’ll experience as we age are role-related. Not only will our primary careers fade away, but the way others relate to us and see us will change. As resilient agers, it can help us a great deal if we think about new roles that we want to assume. As a retiree, I no longer have the responsibility or the same kinds of influence I had as a college professor. However, I have been able to assume a new role as a supporting member of the cast. I am a mentor, a sage, a coach, and a grandparent. I can encourage and help others find their way because I’ve already traveled along some of the same roads. With each season in life, we have new challenges and new opportunities to keep growing, learning, and exploring. Adaptation is key. How are you adapting to the changing seasons in your life?