Ever since I turned 60 articles about aging, retirement, etc. seem to catch my eye a little faster then when I was, say, 59. I guess that’s only natural, but I don’t think my being 60 is much different than any other age I’ve attained in recent years.
One of the articles I ran across was from WedMD, my trusted source for medical trivia. To me, it’s more or less interesting reading. Some things apply to me, while other things don’t apply.
One WebMD email talked about differences in sleeping as one ages. I don’t think I’ve changed much in that area. When I’m sleepy, I sleep, when I need to be awake, I pulverize my alarm clock (phone). It’s actually pretty simple.
Another article called “14 things no one tells you about aging” really caught my attention.
I’ll share the article’s highlights with you this week, followed by my highly intellectual comments (in italics):
• Lots of know-how - They’re called the golden years for a reason. Getting older has its perks. For one, you’re good at using what you’ve learned. This is called crystalized intelligence, and it keeps getting better, even when you’re 65 or 70.
Yeah, I have something to look forward too!
• Mr. nice guy - Turns out you might not be a grumpy old man (or woman), after all. You’ll probably get more agreeable as you age, at least through your 60s. You’re also likely to be happier and less inclined to get angry. Scientists haven’t figured out exactly why this happens, but they do have some theories. Older people might control their emotions better, and focus more on how to make the most of life.
My wife might not agree with this statement, but gosh, we’ve been married more than 35 years. Isn’t she supposed to get on my nerves from time to time?
• Play well with others - You’re more in tune with other people’s emotions in your 40s than at any other time in your life. That insight into how others think and feel can make living with your loved ones easier and help you get along better with your coworkers, too.
Durn, I’m 20 years past my prime for playing well with others.
• Better sex - Older women may have sex less often than when they were younger, but apparently they make it count. In a study of women 40 and over, researchers found that sexual satisfaction improved with age. Women over 80 were more likely than those between 55 and 79 to say they were satisfied during sex.
Sorry, since I converted to Catholicism (many moons ago) I can’t talk about this subject.
• A taste for life - As you age, medications, illness, and allergies all can change your sense of smell and taste. And that can affect your diet and health. If you find things need to be spiced up, try some olive oil, herbs like rosemary and thyme, garlic, onion, peppers, or mustard. Just stay away from the salt.
I can go along with most of that advice since my wife is Italian. However, it will be a cold day in hell when I give up salt.
• What’s that doing there? - Around the time the hair on your head starts to disappear, it can show up in the strangest places. This can mean large hairs in older guys’ noses and ears. Older women may notice small hairs on their chins. This is all caused by changes in our hormones.
Good, I can tell my daughters now that it’s only natural for me to have braids hanging from his nostrils.
• Rise and shine - There’s a good chance you’ll become the morning person you’ve always wanted to be -- in your 60s. Our sleeping patterns can shift as we age, so we get sleepier earlier and wake up earlier. That seems to work out well. One study showed that even though folks over 65 tend to wake up during the night, most said they regularly get a good night’s sleep.
For the record, I’ve never wanted to be a morning person. I’ve averaged right at 6-3/4 hours of sleep per night. The difference with me is it usually happens between 4 a.m. and 11 a.m. It’s strange, I know, but it works with my schedule. I’d go nuts in an 8-5 job. If you want to know what your body needs in regards to sleep, jot down how long you actually sleep for 30 days, add up the hours, and divide by 30. Sounds strange, but it’s eerily accurate. I’ve done that for years and my total hours haven’t changed much in 25 years.
• Bye-bye migraines - Once you hit your 70s, those migraines you may have had much of your life may go away. Only 10 percent of women and five percent of men over 70 still report migraines. Even better news: If you do have a migraine, it may not actually come with the headache. As people age, some may experience migraines as visual or sensory disturbances without pain.
This doesn’t apply to me. I rarely if every have a headache, but some people have told me that I am a headache.
• Don’t quit your day job - Early retirement might not be the best thing for your health - unless you have a fun second career. A study called the Longevity Project found that people who work hard at a job they enjoy live the longest. That, along with good friends and a good marriage, could be the key to sticking around a while.
Check, check, check!
• Fear is not your friend - You may worry more about breaking bones as you age. But you’re more likely to take a tumble if you’re scared of falling. One study found that about a third of adults over 65 has that fear. And it’s understandable, because falls are the leading cause of injuries for older people.
This never crossed my mind until I read it.
• Self-confidence - Self-esteem soars as you age, studies show, and increases with wealth, education, good health, and employment. But it takes a dip after 60. That may be because people begin to have health issues and start searching for a new sense of purpose following retirement. With increasing life spans, healthier lifestyles, and working to an older age, we may see that change.
I have a lot of confidence doing the things I like to do. I certainly don’t worry about the outcome of things like I did when I was younger.
• Less stress - According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) annual Stress in America report, Baby Boomers and older adults report less stress than their younger counterparts. That doesn’t mean, it goes away. Health and money problems still crop up. But, the APA says, nine of 10 older adults say they’re doing enough to manage it.
I don’t get stressed with big things, but little things (at least little things in another person’s minds) can’t rile me up rather quickly.
• Weight of the world - The longer you’re alive, the more gravity brings you down. The spaces between the bones in your spine - called vertebrae - get closer together. That can make you about an inch shorter as you get older.
I guess that means I have to quit telling people how tall I am based on the erroneous number next to my name in my high school basketball program.
• Strength in numbers - The graying of America may be a good thing for you. Those 60 and over tend to cast ballots more than any other age group. And they’re the fastest-growing block of voters in the U.S. these days. That means more voting power on topics that matter as you age such as Medicare, Social Security, and health care.
I’m in that block. Let’s go vote … multiple times in the same election!
Until next week, have a good week.
Mike Probst can be reached at email@example.com.