Dr. Mary Manz Simon,
ALOA Board of Directors
The end of 2023 is in sight. Have you “caught up” yet?
Last year was unofficially the “Great Catch Up Year” after the pandemic. However, because COVID-19 was still circulating, many older adults hit “pause” until now.
Have you celebrated the milestones that were delayed? Fulfilled plans that were postponed? Or is time still moving so rapidly you can’t get ahead?
God’s gift of time seems to go faster as we age. One reason is because when we’re on autopilot, we fail to savor each moment. After all, if we know what we’re doing, why pay attention?
The routines that give us such security as older adults are another reason “time flies.” Routines offer comfort; they simply make life easier. We don’t need to think.
But there’s a downside to living on autopilot. Repetition doesn’t allow us to make new memories. Engaging the brain in new or different ways stretches time. Variety forces the creation of new paths in our brains. That’s another way of saying unique experiences grow our brains, which is essential for cognitive health during the aging process.
So keep the routines that work, but also step “out of the box” as we head into 2024. Try these ideas to slow the pace and make the year ahead memorable:
- If you always have a quiet New Year’s Day, invite friends to watch the Rose Bowl Parade with you. Or, for a real change, view a football game!
- If you exercise at home, go online to look for bargain gym memberships. Many fitness centers offer an inexpensive rate for new clients at this time of year.
- If you read fiction, browse the non-fiction section at the library. Even “heavy” content can be riveting!
- Access a map. Then ask, “Where would I like to go?” Either start planning a trip or look for travel features online or on TV.
- Ask a friend to join you at a different worship time. You might discover an entirely new “congregation” at your church.
Check out this video hear ideas on making changes to traditions so that they don’t lose meaning by becoming routine.