PHILADELPHIA - Think it’s too late to “re-invent” yourself? Think again. According to Carolyn Worthington, editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging® Magazine and executive director of Healthy Aging®, it’s never too late to find a new career, a new sport, passion or hobby. Worthington is the creator of September is Healthy Aging® Month, an annual health observance designed to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. Now in its second decade, Worthington says September is Healthy Aging® Month provides inspiration and practical ideas for adults, ages 50-plus, to improve their physical, mental, social and financial well being.
“Use September as the motivation to take stock of where you’ve been, what you really would like to do if money was no object,” says Worthington. “And try it! Who says you have to do something related to what you studied in school? Who says, you can’t start your own home business later in life, test you’re your physical prowess, or do something wildly different from anything you’ve done before? Only that person you see in the mirror!”
Why Healthy Aging?
According to Worthington, “We saw a need to draw attention to the myths of aging, to shout out ‘Hey, it’s not too late to take control of your health, it’s never too late to get started on something new.’ Why not think about the positive aspects of aging instead of the stereotypes and the negative aspects?” She says she chose September as a time when many people think about getting started on new tasks after the summer. Drawing on the “back to school” urge embedded in everyone from childhood, the observance month’s activities are designed to encourage people to rejuvenate and get going on positive measures that can impact the areas of physical, social, financial and mental wellness.
September is Healthy Aging® Month was first introduced when the baby boomers were about to turn 50. “At that time, no one wanted to talk about growing older,” Worthington says. “You know, it was that same ‘60’s attitude – ‘Don’t trust anyone over 30; hell no we won’t go.’ Today as the boomers turn 60 and 65, it’s a different story,” Worthington explains.
“We recognized early on that careful attention to the combination of physical, social, mental and financial fitness was powerful in the pursuit of a positive lifestyle and have built our Healthy Aging® programs around that concept for the government and private sector through this annual observance as well as TV specials, videos, books, printed material, our website and blogs.
“What’s new for the Healthy Aging® campaign this year is the continued growth of our print and digital Healthy Aging® Magazine, now in its fifth issue. We are not about retirement. Nor are we a ‘senior’ magazine filled with articles about depression, incontinence or organ recitals. We are about vibrant, active, 50-plus people who are taking charge of their lives, following their passion, and who are happily looking forward to what’s next in life.”
To get you started on re-inventing yourself, here are some ideas from the editors of Healthy Aging® Magazine (www.healthyaging.net). Maybe these will help you think outside the box:
10 Tips for Re-Inventing Yourself During September is Healthy Aging Month:
1. JOB HUNTING? YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO BE AN INTERN. You're never too old to start at the bottom. Many employers now hire only after they've seen the quality of the employee, so an internship is your opportunity to show off your mature skills. Check for college and department websites that offer detailed listings. If you're really lucky, you could end up with a paid internship and, possibly, a full-time job after graduation. See more tips like this from author Kate Forgach in Healthy Aging® Magazine, www.healthyaging.net
2. BACK TO SCHOOL. It’s never too late...Take courses to refocus your career, enhance your skill set and increase your earning power. Finding the balance between work, family and education while pursuing a higher degree may seem overwhelming. Dr. Savitri Dixon-Saxon, associate dean for Walden University’s School of Counseling and Social Service, offers this tip:
Choose a focus or specialization that you truly care about. The juggling act will be much more challenging for you if you don’t enjoy your field of study. Choose a focus area you are passionate about. You can pursue a degree online. Walden University is one example.
3. TAKE A VOLUNTEER VACATION. Visit New Places, Connect, and Give Back. Many travelers today are opting out of the self-indulgent vacation and opting in for the chance to “give back” through a volunteer vacation. These trips are a great way to try something new, fulfill a dream, or experiment living in a different place, for a short or longer time commitment. Volunteer Vacations Across America, (http://www.immersiontraveler.com/) is a good resource with more than 200 trips for volunteering to help people. More resource ideas and links can be found in the Volunteer Vacation article of the September issue of Healthy Aging® Magazine, www.healthyaging.net
4. DANCE LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW. Older adults getting regular physical exercise are 60% less likely to get dementia. Exercise increases oxygen to the brain and releases a protein that strengthens cells and neurons. Dance involves all of the above plus the cerebral activity present in learning and memory. Peggy Buchanan, director of fitness, aquatics and physical therapy at Front Porch’s Vista del Monte retirement community in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Where to find dance classes? Check out these websites for ideas: National Dance Council of America (http://ndca.org/getting-started-in-dance/), Dance Studios USA (http://www.dancestudiosusa.com/) , National Arts & Disability Center (UCLA) (http://nadc.ucla.edu/dance.cfm)
5. HIT THE ROAD. Travel is one of the top picks when people are asked what they would do if they had more time. Sometimes the money factor makes that dream fall apart. Here are several travel sites for finding good fares and rates: SmarterTravel.com, Travelocity.com, Expedia.com, Priceline.com and Kayak.com. A relatively new one is Jetsetter, http://www.jetsetter.com, “a community of travelers that provides members with insider access, expert knowledge and exclusive deals on the world’s greatest vacations. We curate travel experiences, which means we only recommend places we’ve been, loved and would go to again. Everything else we leave out.”
6. BECOME A ROCK N ROLL STAR. For a weekend anyway. Here’s a good one for the buck list. Check out Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp (www.RockCamp.com), where mere mortals jam with rock legends, write/record an original song and play live on stage at a major concert venue. Past camps have been held in New York City, Woodstock, and London. This is a great decade gift or corporate event too. The Camp offers a great adventures in Las Vegas for those who are looking for the ultimate rock star experience: October 10 – 14, 2012 MGM Grand, Las Vegas. Jam with Gene Simmons, from the legendary band, KISS.
7. LEARN TO PAINT A LANDSCAPE OR STILL LIFE. Complete A Landscape, seascape, floral or still life painting in one class. No painting experience necessary. Seek if fine arts peeks you interest. One day classes by Grumbacher, an American manufacturer of art materials for over 100 years, can be found at Michaels, the arts and crafts retailer with locations nationwide. http://www.michaels.com/Fine-Arts-Class-by-Michaels/Fine-Arts-Class,default,pg.html#
8. FOLLOW YOUR PASSION. Try a new sport or pick up on one you left behind in your early days. Check out issue of Healthy Aging Magazine for ideas. What about surfing, hiking or skiing? It’s never too late and there are many locations offering courses, trips, and lessons. Here what passionate people have to say about their sports in Healthy Aging® Magazine, www.healthyaging.net.
9. EAT FRESH. Make a commitment to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. September is still harvest time in many areas so seek out local farmers markets and buy local produce. Make it a point to try to make foods from scratch… skip the processed foods as much as you can. How much do you need to eat? Check this easy calculator to find out how many fruits and vegetables you need each day, based on your daily calories needs. Details: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/
10. RE-INVENT YOURSELF IN NAPA VALLEY. Travel to the famed wine country this Fall and take a wine tasting course (http://www.ciaprochef.com/winestudies/index.html) or cooking course . http://www.ciachef.edu/california/educational.asp) at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, St. Helena, CA. Or, check out the Napa Valley Film Festival, November 7 – 11, 2012. a five-day immersive, indulgent celebration of film, artisan food and boutique wines. The second annual Festival will light up the entire Napa Valley with walkable villages in the picturesque towns of Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga. Featuring over 100 new independent films and studio sneak previews, Festival highlights include Q&A’s and insightful panel discussions with filmmakers and actors; wine tasting pavilions; movie-inspired menu items at select restaurants; lavish special events including Opening Night Gala at Robert Mondavi Winery, Celebrity/Filmmaker Tributes, Closing Night Awards and Wrap Parties; late night festivities and more. Get Festival Pass Discounts with hotel confirmation at http://www.napavalleyfilmfest.org.
Do you have tips for positive aging? Share them online. Post your ideas of how you take positive steps for the care and well being of you. Go to the Healthy Aging® blog and share your ideas.
For further information and resources and to receive a free, digital subscription of Healthy Aging® Magazine, go to the official Healthy Aging® website:www.healthyaging.net.