When we consulted a financial planner while still working, we asked her to assume we would live to at least 100. Does that seem optimistic to you?
My dad lived to almost 89 and my mom to 93. Both had serious health problems well before 70 (multiple serious heart problems and cancer with heavy chemo respectively) that I haven’t had. Hubby’s dad also lived to 93 despite being a heavy smoker to the end. So we think past 100 might be a possibility and have known people who lived to 107 with their mind and most of their body in good health.
How does this all relate to the idea of embracing my 70’s?
I remember clearly my Dad’s 75th surprise birthday party and how vital and active he was. Ten years later that was not the case although his mind was still good. Same for my Mom but add 5 years as she was still doing pretty well at 85. I also remember that at some point they simply stopped moving and getting much physical activity. Understandable but not good for them.
Our modern lifestyle (internet browsing, texting) plus my inherited love of reading makes me at risk for the same fate.
They also both stopped reaching out to friends or planning activities that would take them out of their home. This was partly due to living in a rural area in a northern climate with long winters and eventually the inability to drive. However I saw the effect of social isolation on my mom once my dad died. She was lonely and craved some friendly social and physical contact but didn’t want to “bother” anyone to give her a ride so they stopped asking. She also wouldn’t move to assisted living or closer to my my brother or myself.
My tendency to not reach out to initiate social activity puts me at the same risk especially since we were not successful at moving really close to either of our sons so far.
That leads to the first things I really need to develop strong habits for during the remainder of my 70’s.
- An exercise habit that I enjoy and that keeps up strength and flexibility
- A social network where I can reciprocate well and stay engaged with people I truly care about
- Regular activities that get me out in the larger world and feed my interests and keep me interesting
I’m starting this thought process at nearly 72 because - well, the pandemic. Better late than never.