Embrace change to stay youthful
Like many people, I tend to be a creature of habit in some respects of my life. This can be useful – it can make life more predictable, comfortable and efficient – in particular when developing and keeping good habits. It can arguably make dropping bad habits harder. As many of us get older, we can become more stuck in our ways and even begin to fear change.
Like the change of seasons we’re currently observing, I’ve also been through a number of changes recently. Few are life changing in isolation, however they can all stack up and contribute to the feeling of overwhelm I reported a couple of weeks ago. Although change can feel odd (or even uncomfortable) at first, this is actually how we learn and grow as our brains map new neurological pathways.
9 recent changes
As we fast approach the end of September, it definitely feels much more autumnal now. The hopes of an Indian Summer are fading fast. I do tend to feel the cold more than some people. Wearing a jacket outside has become the norm again (I’ve even worn a coat one evening) and I’ll probably start wearing boots again very soon. I’ll even dig out my gloves to protect my poor winter hands.
Luckily, I love the different seasons, with autumn being a particular favourite of mine. I love the colours of the trees and I simply adore kicking through dried leaves….
I wrote last week about having eye surgery. It’s so recent I’m still on the eye drop routine and aftercare appointments. I love the freedom it brings me and feeling of being able to see first thing in the morning! I’m oddly tempted to ‘take my lenses out’ in the evening when my eyes feel a little tired, but this probably isn’t that surprising after over 25 years of contact lens use. I’m getting accustomed to using my eyes differently (I have monovision – my right eye for distance and my left for reading), although this could take a little longer for my eyes & brain to become fully use to it.
While my eyes recover, I have to avoid exercise for approximately a month to prevent any complications with my eyes or the lens implants. No running! No swimming! No yoga! Fortunately, I was aware of this in advance and had already accepted my interim lifestyle change. I love exercising, but what a small price to pay for having new eyes. Luckily, I alos love walkingand I’m trying to get in a 30 min stomp most days (my steps have sky rocketed!). I look forward to being given the green light from the clinic to start exercising again.
I recently worked out that I’ve been driving for 26 years (no, I can’t believe it either)! I’ve always driven a manual car, bar one daunting experience with a US hire car many years ago. I’ve recently changed cars and my new car is (gasp) an automatic. What’s more, I hadn’t even tested it before buying it! Admittedly, I felt pretty nervous the first time I drove it and gingerly circled my quiet village with no passengers for my first voyage. I was amazed how quickly I adapted to this new style of driving, and I now love it!
On a similar vein, I’ve recently got a new laptop. My old one was becoming pretty unreliable, which was problematic as I relied heavily on it for my blog, coaching work and studies, as well as helping me to organise my personal & family life. After consultation and deliberation with my IT advisor (husband), I decided to go for a Mac. I’ve used an iPhone and iPad for several years, but I’ve only ever used Windows-based computers. Furthermore, I’d trialled a Mac a few years back, but couldn’t really get to grips with it. Anyway, this time around, I’d decided that the Mac suited my needs better, so I thought I’d just go for it. There may have been some tantalising comment about me ‘fearing change’ that may have also swayed my decision.
Jumping straight in and figuring things out for myself has proved to be a good strategy. I’m several weeks in and there are a couple of things I’ve not yet figured out, but I’ll get there…especially as I also get used to my new eyes in parallel.
For the last 10 months I have worn hardly any black following my style journey. What still surprises me is that I willingly wear different colours and styles that I wouldn’t have previously dared to consider. I’m not saying I always feel 100% happy with the way I look (I am female after all) but I certainly feel more in control of it. Compliments also help, so I’m trying to get better at receiving these and giving them out!
I generally eat a healthy, balanced diet. However, lately there’ve been a few scenarios where I’ve simply had to go with the flow and eat much less healthily than I’d like to. This translates to more processed food and less veg. At the end of the day, on ad hoc occasions, I know this won’t poison or harm me too much. And in one scenario, it probably also helped to mitigate a hangover too.
I’ve also been experimenting a little with different breakfast options to regulate my energy levels. I’m typically hungry well before lunchtime. I’m a big porridge fan, but sometimes other things are good too – toast with marmite, protein shakes, muesli and yoghurt, scrambled egg and even breakfast burritos. Yummy!
My husband and I attended a charity event last weekend. We’ve attended a number of events together over the years including army functions and work parties, but we’ve always been surrounded by people at least one of us knows. This time, we turned up having practically no idea who else would be there. Gulp! Ultimately, there were some familiar faces and we made a couple of new acquaintances, too. I even got to meet a few ‘FB friends’, who I’d not actually met before! We ate, drank, danced and had some well-deserved fun. We enjoyed it so much, we’ve booked in for another event somewhere else in a couple of months.
I’m generally an early bird and have never required that much sleep – I average around 7 hours per night. I’ve enjoying getting up at 5.30am through much of the summer to make the most of the sunlight. I typically struggle more at this time of year as the sun rises later and I feel a greater need to hibernate. In between my recent eye ops, I also started rising later as well: I couldn’t see too well early in the day, so there seemed little point getting up early. I’ve started getting up at 6am again and I’ll probably keep with this, through the winter months at least…I’ll admit that I am feeling more rested.
Although changes to our daily lives and habits can feel odd (or even uncomfortable) at first, this is actually how we learn and grow, as our brains map new neurological pathways. I actually believe that consciously injecting a little change into our lives can keep us from growing stale and to help us become more resilient for other changes that are outside our control.
From now on I’ll challenge myself to do something new or different each week to keep me growing. Hopefully this will ensure I don’t get too stuck in my ways and remain youthful for as long as possible.
Thank you for reading. For more interesting articles, visit my blog at www.agelifebalance.com to learn more.