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1128Sometimes it seems like everything you hear about aging is negative. The way elderly people are portrayed is often as sick and feeble, or crotchety and irate. Fortunately you don’t have to get grumpy or lose your memory or find yourself too tired to exercise and get out. You can decide in large part for yourself how you would like to age, just as when you were younger you decided what your lifestyle and activity level would be.

Your retirement community is a great resource for finding ways to continue your youthful habits and even pick up new ones. You might find an exercise class or friends who enjoy daily walks or athletic games. You can keep your memory strong by doing crossword puzzles or playing board games. Try challenging a neighbor to a regular game of chess or scrabble, or join a book club.

These are the kind of fun things many people wish they’d had more time for in their younger years. Seek out local wine shops that offer regular tastings, go to the museum and look at art, or join a bowling league. Explore the West Tennessee Farmer’s Market, volunteer at the Jackson Theatre Guild as part of the backstage crew, costume department, in hair and makeup, or in the box office. There’s so many ways you can have fun and actively choose to not be a stereotype.

The wonderful thing about aging is that you can become more yourself, more settled and content in who you are and what you enjoy. Best of all, when you’re retired you have more time than ever to savor this. Deciding to pursue your personal inclinations and joys to the utmost is what keeps all of us young. Surround yourself with people and environments that will support that, and you will get the very most out of this special time in your life.